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Add Blog Functionality to the Site

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Now that we have reviewed the ways that pages and posts are organized in WordPress, it’s time to add the blog functionality to this Professional Services website.

The first aspect of that is just understanding our site architecture. Remember that we’ve got these four main pages. One main page has three sub pages. Another main page has three sub pages. That’s what it looks like without the blog.

Organizing The Blog

Then when we add the blog we’ll be adding our Articles page which is that posts page showing all of our posts. And and then we have categories and articles under those categories.

In our example site we have four different categories. We’ve got “working with an architect”, “design ideas”, “site design” and “how to design your home”. We have those four categories and each of those categories has only one post but that’s because it’s a demonstration site.

Example Site with Multiple Categories

If you want to see an example where there are lots of posts in the same category, come over to agilityskin.com. Here the news page is the blog post page. And and these are the latest posts.

We’ve got a salads category. When you click on salads you can see all of the salads in that category. Come back over to the news page and look at the beverages category. All of our beverages are laid out in this category. And so on and so forth.

This is an example of a site that’s fully fleshed out with lots of posts related to various subjects. Like local artists. You can see that if you look at the URL. A local artist is actually a parent category and Barry Johnson which is where we are right now is a child category. I don’t have a category widget on here right now but that’s something you could have.

Let’s look at the URL of local artists. You see that we have this different version of the category archive page but that shows all of these posts by these local artists. And then you can look at the post by Jeremiah Johnson. This one in particular or you can look at all of his artwork. So that’s how this category thing works.

Create Our Categories

So the first thing we have to do on this is to create our categories. So come over here to post and categories. It’s important to have thought about this in advance rather than just creating categories randomly.

How to Decide What Categories to Create

So let’s take a step back and remind ourselves what we are using the blog for on this professional services website. Well, we’re using the blog to essentially write technical articles that demonstrate our expertise and give us an excuse to show some pictures. We can talk about projects that we’ve done and give us a rationale for writing about architecture in the Seattle area.

If I were still practicing architecture and if I were looking for work, I would publish a whole bunch of articles about how to figure out your home design and how to deal with difficult site conditions. These are problems homeowners face during construction so these are the kinds of things I would write about.

I could say Rick Anderson Architects in the Seattle Area, Rick Anderson Architects in Bellevue or Rick Anderson Architects in Edmonds. I’d have lots of opportunity to link all that together so that Google would know that Rick Anderson is an architect in the Seattle area.

That’s what we’re trying to accomplish and we’re going to accomplish it by making sure that our content is good and repeats that kind of information.

Richard asked a question about this as a blog. In this case, we’re not blogging per se. Blog suggests something not particularly tactical and not particularly expertise driven. We are writing articles about topics of significance to our potential customers that demonstrate our expertise. That’s what the blog functionality is being used for here and no one would mistake this for a blog unless they understood that that’s how WordPress talks about it.

Add Categories

Keeping that in mind we come to our category structure and add our first category, “working with an architect”. We could assign a parent but we’re going to say no parent. This is a place where you can adjust the slug if you feel like the slug needs to be adjusted. I think this is fine. Next we’ll add “Design ideas” and “How to design your home”. And my fourth one is “Site design”.

Add a Post and Assign a Category

Now that we’ve got these categories here we can come over to posts. And add a new one. I’m going to call this one “Working with a difficult site”. Now we’re going to give it a category of site design.

I’m not going to bother with tags. We’re not going to use tags in this application since they don’t have any SEO significance. Tags are more appropriate for a blog than they are for what we’re doing.

We’re going to set our featured image. Upload a file, select files, difficult site. This is a steep slope site. Those are long tail keywords. And maybe, in Seattle. And we’ll set that featured image. And in fact rather than working with a difficult site, say working difficult sites in Seattle.

Complete the Yoast SEO Section

We need to put content in here but we’re also going to come down here to our Yoast SEO and fill out the meta title and description. Here it is “working with a difficult site in Seattle”.

We’re going to edit the snippet. It’s going to say “Designing a home on a difficult site in Seattle”. It’s not long enough, we’re going to want to make this a little bit longer. Add Rick Anderson Architects. There’s nothing wrong linking those things together.

We need a meta description. This not a very good one, “when designing a new home on a steep difficult site in Seattle”. Instead let’s say, Rick Anderson discusses designing a new custom home on a steep, difficult site in Seattle. It’s a bit short but that’s what I’ve got at the moment.

It’s not happy with me obviously because we don’t have any content yet. But you can see by looking at this you know whether or not you’re meeting what the plugin thinks is the base minimum for having reasonable SEO on the page.

I’ll add “on a difficult steep hillside site” and “designing a new custom home on” because in Seattle when they talk about hill sites they talk about steep slopes. Steep slope is a jargon word in architecture and planning in Seattle. It has been a while since I worked there.

You don’t want to cram keywords in. What you really want are words that describe the content of the posts that you’re creating. It does take a little bit of creativity and there’s nothing wrong with coming back to it.

Set Up Permalinks

We have not yet set up our permalinks. That’s the last thing to do when we start using blog functionality on the site. Come over here and set up our permalinks.

Use Custom Structure

Go to settings and permalinks and we are going to choose custom structure. What we’re going to do is copy this and paste it in front of it so it’s slash percent sign and we’re going to type category. Then we’re just going to take the categories and the category hierarchy and put that in the URL. So it’s category post name now.

This is the only right way to use categories and to do your permalinks if you’re a small business site that wants to provide Google with structured URLs.

There are gurus out there that tell you to do other things like put them all on the top level. It’s been a couple years now since I’ve heard that from somebody who charges a lot of money. Some people are under the misapprehension that you want all of your pages at the top level so there shouldn’t be any hierarchy at all. Obviously, that flies in the face of what Google says.

Why You Shouldn’t Use More Than One Category per Post

There are some people who use categories who will add lots of categories to a post. But when you do that you are you are providing what Google considers to be duplicate content because you are creating more than one URL for the same content.

What you should do is come up with a category structure that allows you to assign only one category to a post. And that way you can maintain that nice hierarchical structured URL which is what Google says it wants. And if Google says it wants that it doesn’t matter anybody else says.

People will tell you all kinds of stuff. Some people will tell you that you should put HTML here so that it looks like you’re only doing HTML pages because Google prefers HTML pages. That’s just absurd. If you take Google’s advice from the Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide you’ll do fine.

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