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How to setup a content based site

     
1:23 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I knwo this may be stupid, but if you were to make a site about a particular subject with the focus on writing articles for content, how would you set the page up? For instance you have 500 artcicles. Where would you go from there?

Any ideas?

1:30 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Here's one way:

Just make an introduction page telling people what all they can find on the site, and how to navigate the site, etc. Make the page keyword rich, of course.

Categorize the articles and make links to the categories in a navigation side bar(left side is better). When people click on a category(category names should contain your targeted keywords for those articles) have that take to them a page that contains articles about that particular subject.

That should work.

2:22 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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One suggestion: Create separate directories for different subtopics. For example, if your site is about travel in the American West, don't put all your articles in a directory called "articles"--instead, have directories for "Washington," "Oregon," "California," "Arizona," "Nevada," etc. Organizing your content by subtopic may not seem important now, but later on, when your site is larger, you'll be able to set up dedicated navigation bars, affiliate links, etc. for each subtopic much more easily. (This is something that I wish I'd thought of when my site was new!)
2:28 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Similar to the last post, you should place your articles in categories. I've found that having a main category, and then a subcategory has worked best for me. That way, when I show the main category page, it displays ALL of the articles in the main category. But if the user wants a more defined view, they can click on the sub-category, and view all of the articles that pertain just to that sub-category.

Example:
"Parenting" (Main)
"Sibling Rivalry" (Sub)

I also like limiting the amount of articles that show up in the category view. For example, I only show 10 articles per page, and I sort them by the most recently added articles. This does a couple things -- it shows the repeat visitor fresh content, and also updates all of the other pages by pushing articles onto a new page, and thus updating ALL of my category pages.

It needs to be said though that all of this is possible and maintainable, because I use PHP and a database (MySQL). Basically, I add an article via an online administration, and the PHP pages talking with my db do the rest. So far this has worked very well for me.

<snip>

Hope that helps!

-Jon

[edited by: engine at 3:24 pm (utc) on May 10, 2005]
[edit reason] See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]

2:43 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Oh, I get my right and left mixed up, I meant to say that a right side navigational bar is better. If you have the navigation on the left, it's the first thing search engine bots see when they crawl your site. I'd rather that they see my page content first instead.
2:48 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you have the navigation on the left, it's the first thing search engine bots see when they crawl your site. I'd rather that they see my page content first instead.

Try CSS :-)

2:53 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Oh, I get my right and left mixed up, I meant to say that a right side navigational bar is better. If you have the navigation on the left, it's the first thing search engine bots see when they crawl your site. I'd rather that they see my page content first instead.

Placing navigation bars on the left has been a standard Web practice for years. (It probably started when Netscape 2.0 introduced frames in the mid-1990s.) I'd rather give users a comfortable browsing experience than confuse them by placing navigation links in the area where they'd expect to see affiliate links or ads.

2:54 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Oh, I get my right and left mixed up, I meant to say that a right side navigational bar is better. If you have the navigation on the left, it's the first thing search engine bots see when they crawl your site. I'd rather that they see my page content first instead.

That shouldn't be a big issue. Bots will treat your left nav items for what they are, hyperlinks. And they will use the hyperlinks to then go and spider your content. Also, unless you have some sort of weird layout and content on your page, your content should be spidered just fine, even if your content comes after your navigation.

3:13 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There is some reason to believe that pages in the root fare better with SEs. I wouldn't go directory > sub-directory > sub-directory.
4:07 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There is some reason to believe that pages in the root fare better with SEs. I wouldn't go directory > sub-directory > sub-directory.

I haven't experienced this at all. I get the most traffic from articles that are buried within categories (sub-directories). I find that most search engines are interested in your content, not your directory structure.

4:15 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There is some reason to believe that pages in the root fare better with SEs. I wouldn't go directory > sub-directory > sub-directory.

I don't think that this is true. Only because I recently added a page that is 3 directories deep and within a week it appeared at position number 4 if you use the page's title as keywords in a search on Google. Total number of pages returned in this search are 68,000 so it's not an esoteric page.

6:55 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There is some reason to believe that pages in the root fare better with SEs.

I've heard this, but have never found it to be true in our case. Google especially does a very good job of serving up pages deep within our site that meet the search criteria.

6:58 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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My best preforming pages are no more than 2 levels deep. Probably 75-90% better than pages that are 3-4 levels down.
7:11 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I haven't experienced this at all. I get the most traffic from articles that are buried within categories (sub-directories). I find that most search engines are interested in your content, not your directory structure.

I notice the same thing. SE's have no problem crawling my directories and sub-directories. SE's like content, and lots of it - they have no problem crawling directories and sub-directories.

7:56 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There is some reason to believe that pages in the root fare better with SEs. I wouldn't go directory > sub-directory > sub-directory.

I haven't noticed that, either. I think people tend to equate "directory levels down" with "menu levels down" even though the two are very different.

I can't imagine keeping my nearly 4,300 pages in the root directory--and I can't imagine Google or any other search engine thinking that's a natural or desirable way to structure a site.

8:30 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There was a recent post by Brett (within the last month) to suggest root is preferably. Can't seem to find that thread now.
11:14 pm on May 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would not worry about the navigation too much at this time.

If you have that many articles I would just get it all up asap.

You are missing out on lots of dough ;)

12:07 am on May 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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if you database it, consider using url rewriting to organise the content rather than querystrings - ie consider:

www.widgets.com/widget/color/style/aroma

rather than:

www.widgets.com?w=5&c=4&s=45&a=33

The former appears to get indexed better.

1:58 am on May 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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if you database it, consider using url rewriting to organise the content rather than querystrings - ie consider:
www.widgets.com/widget/color/style/aroma

I couldn't agree more. It not only makes your URLs look better and quite possibly more SE friendly, it also makes it easier to share your URLs with others (it's less likely to break in an email message, and easier to read and type when printed on paper). My entire site does this.

5:06 am on May 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As for managing the content. I highly recommend finding an Open Source or commercial Content Management System that will give you templates for the structure, the menus, the tools, major sections, and the ads. A good system will have article tools (email a friend/print version) and tools for placing the headlines on the main topic pages. Look for the ability to assign editors with different privileges if you'd like others to key-in or submit articles.

Some people like Mambo, others like some kind of 'Nuke variant. I've been happy with a system called "Big Medium." (No promo, I'm just a satisfied customer.)