When we typically start developing a website, we care way more about how our front page looks like, we take care of the main categories, we create an informative about me page. One thing we rarely, care about however is the archive page and how to best build and design it. As your website gets larger, and the number of content gets unnavigable through normal means, it is paramount to create a decent archive page. This is not only to drive traffic to your website, but it is also, in fact, to ensure all the hard work you’ve put into these pieces of content aren’t going to waste. This article will help you get started with designing an awesome archive page.
What Qualities Does an Archive Page Need?
Archive pages aren’t pages where you just dump everything randomly without rhyme or reason. At least, a good archive page that takes into account basic UX isn’t that. There are basic qualities that you need to make sure your archive page adheres by to ensure maximum utility:
- Clearly show what each archived article is about: when people are looking into the archive page looking for something, they don’t have time to click on every link and read through them. If you had to spend hours sifting through the archive page just to find the page you’re looking for, the page is already not saving its purpose. You can easily fix this problem by making sure the archive page displays a description, an author name, date posted, etc. when listing each article. This makes finding information much easier.
- Make the archive page easy and fast to load: in the same vein of making the archive page more easily accessible, you need to ensure it loads quickly and is responsive. Some websites, due to loading a massive number of articles, this results in slowdowns and an unnavigable website. There are basically two solutions to this problem: either by supporting pagination on the archive page or enable lazy loading.
- Easily searchable by multiple categories: the archive page being quickly and easily searchable is insanely important. Without supporting multiple ways of searching, your archive is essentially useless. It would literally be easier to look up physical articles than an online archive without a competent search function. Make sure users can search by title, date, author, tag, and more things if they are relevant to your website.
WordPress’s Support for Archives
WordPress has out-of-the-box support for archive templates, which you can use to implement archive pages on your website. Most of the premium themes, also, fully support and implement an archive page. The archive page also supports displaying authors, tags, and dates, which means most of your job is already done. This type of support for features is one of the main reasons why WordPress remains the most popular content management system.
Plugins that Can Help You
Plugins can help you when you’re building your archive page in numerous ways, and you should definitely look into using them if you think they can add some value to your website:
- Easy search functionality: installing proper search functionality used to be really difficult. Creating custom database queries and spending days testing out different algorithms and measuring performance. But, now, you can add search functionality to your WordPress website in 10 minutes by installing and configuring a plugin.
- Complete redesign: you can have a complete redesign of your archive page merely by installing a plugin. Plugins can help you automatically generate various archive-like pages from your content. Tables, links, Facebook-Esque timelines, you name it. They are a great help in getting you started.
The archive page is both at the same time an incredibly important and, oftentimes, complex endeavor. It isn’t an easy task by any means, and you need to be careful with how you implement it. If you have trouble implementing it on your own and don’t seem to get good results, you can always enlist help. For example, you can design how you want the archive page to look like and then use a Sketch to WordPress service to get an excellently coded archive page.