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Create a Sneeze Page for Your Blog [Day 18 - 31DBBB]

Today’s task is to create a Sneeze Page for your blog.

What is a Sneeze Page?

The term ‘sneeze page’ is one that I came up with for the 2007 version of the 31 Days to Build a Better blog and is a concept that I’ve been using as a key strategy in my blogs for quite a few years.

The idea is simple – to create a page that propels people in different directions deep within your blog by highlighting a variety of posts that you’ve previously written.

Why a Sneeze Page?

The challenge that many bloggers face is that over time the archives of their blogs fill up with hundreds and then thousands of posts. The problem is that by default a blog generally only highlights the most recent posts that you’ve written on the front page while the majority of your posts go largely unnoticed once they drop off the front page.

A sneeze page is all about showing off those archives.

Benefits of Sneeze Pages

There are a variety of reasons that a sneeze page can be powerful:

1. It shows off your archives - I don’t know about you but when I spend hours (if not days) crafting a blog post, I want people to read it! Sneeze pages lengthen the time that people interact with your older posts.

2. It’s great for SEO - search engines not only look at the links that other people make to your posts in order to give them ranking but the internal links on your blog. Linking to old posts can help them grow their search engine ranking.

3. It can help create a ‘Sticky’ Blog - I’ve not seen stats on this but it is my suspicion that a person arriving on your blog for the first time increases the chances of coming back to it the more great posts that they view on it. Get someone to read 10 great posts that you’ve written previously instead of 1 and you’ll exponentially increase the likelihood that they’ll subscribe and become a regular reader.

Types of Sneeze Pages (with Examples)

There are many ways of creating a ‘sneeze page (or post)’ for your blog. Lets explore some:

Themed Sneeze Pages - these are posts or pages on your blog or site that revolve around a single theme. For example here on ProBlogger I have created sneeze pages around some of the main themes for this blog such as:

These sneeze pages (and others) are linked to prominently around my blog – including the ‘best of ProBlogger’ section of my front page.

Similarly – on DPS I’ve created pages for key topics (like Composition Tips, Digital Photography Techniques, Portrait Photography Tips, How to Photograph and Digital Photography Tips for Beginners) and link to them from navigation areas. I find these pages generate a lot of page views both themselves and the pages that they link to.

One more example that steps away from some of the posts that are purely lists of links is 21 Settings, Techniques and Rules all New Camera Owners Should Know – this post is still a list of links but it is written more as a post with pictures and descriptions of the points made in each of the posts linked to. While the examples above are all ‘pages’ in WordPress and didn’t ever appear as posts this last example just appeared as a normal post on my blog.

Time Related Sneeze Pages – these pages are based around a defined period of time. They are usually a ‘best of’ post that highlight your key posts from that period to either remind readers of previous posts that they might want to revisit or to highlight posts that they might have missed.

The period of time that you choose can really be anything from a year (here’s my best of 2006 at ProBlogger post) through to a month, week or even a weekend (ie a post that summarizes the posts from a weekend that those readers who don’t read your blog on a weekend might have missed). Blogs that have a particularly high frequency of posting often use these quite regularly (for example Lifehacker would often do one at the end of each week to highlight key posts for that week out of the many that they’d published.

Retro Sneeze Pages – Another variation of this ‘time related’ sneeze page is to do one that unashamedly shows off a number of posts from your blog from a particular point in its history. The most common way to do this is to do a post highlighting posts from the blog from a year ago. LifeHacker was another blog that did (and still occasionally does) this (example).

Series Sneeze Pages – many bloggers use the technique of writing a series of blog posts that allow them to explore a topic over a period of time with lots of interlinked posts.

One key with writing a series of posts is to make sure that readers have a trail of links between posts so that they’ll not only read one but the full series.

A great way to help readers discover a full series is to develop a sneeze page. All of the posts in the series should link back to it and it links to them.

Series Sneeze pages can become key pages on your blog. For example here on ProBlogger one of my most popular pages is Blogging for Beginners which started out simply as a list of posts from a series I was writing specifically for beginners.

Promote Your Sneeze Page

Sneeze pages can be an effective way of driving people deep within your blog – but they’ll only do that for as long as you’re able to drive people to the sneeze page itself.

As a result – a sneeze page is something that you’ll want to promote and position prominently on your blog in a place that people will continue to see it. Do this by linking to your sneeze page from navigation menus, sidebars or other ‘hot zones’ on your blog.

Create a Sneeze Page and Share it With Us

OK – it’s time to go create a sneeze page for your blog. Once you’ve done it please do come back and share a link to it in the comments below as I’m sure there are a lot of creative ways to use these types of pages that we could all learn from by sharing them.

Check out what others are doing with today’s task in our thread for Day 18 in our 31 Day Forum.

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

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About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Tommy says:

    I did something similar to this at my site by creating a “best of” page. It only has a couple of links right now, but my blog is still in its infancy. Check it out! http://www.nomenot.net/best

  2. Stan Webb says:

    Great idea, Darren:

    I’ve composed my first ‘sneeze’ blog post out of respect for and in remembrance of a friend.

    Wisdom

    Dave, my friend and bridge partner died recently, at age 92. He had suffered a stroke 10 years previously which had left him paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Although the paralysis was over his whole body, he did have very limited use of his right hand. He could not speak.

    He had lived. He was a young man during the 1930s “Dirty Thirties” Depression. He had fought in World War II. He had married and raised a family. During his working career he worked in ‘electronics’; through tube radios, then radar to computer chips. In other words, he had a wealth of wisdom to impart.

    We were able to bid and play bridge with the help of some assistance devices. He was by far the best player in our group. He always had the kindness and patience to teach beginners.

    He had become computer literate, and used the ‘hunt and peck’ keyboard method with the limited use of his right hand. He composed articles, wrote correspondence and emails, and kept in touch with friends. Those of us who were more ‘able-bodied’ were amazed at the amount of effort and time that he put into work.

    He was a true inspiration to us all with his Gaelic sense of wit, irony, and wry humor. That was with him until the end of his life.

    We were all very saddened with his loss. That was partially because he brought such happiness and joy to all of those around him. Indeed, he provided hope and inspiration for younger people hoping to learn to grow older gracefully.

    It was his material, and with his permission, that we began a series of posts called “Dave Sez”. There will be more posts scheduled for the 1st day of following months, but some of those posts from past months are here:

    How To Plant Your Garden from July, 2008
    Things Have Changed from August, 2008
    Why Ask Why? from September, 2008
    Inner Strength from October, 2008
    Playing With Words from November, 2008
    Food For Thought from December, 2008
    Trivia from January, 2009
    Ponderables – post 1 from February, 2009
    For Lexophiles from March, 2009
    Today’s Stock Market Report from April, 2009

  3. Angie Dixon says:

    Great article for me right now. I’m putting up years of content in one place, and it’s getting crowded. I set up a sneeze page for creativity articles as soon as I read your article. Going to do everything else, as well.

    http://angiedixon.com/?page_id=843

  4. Jon Buscall says:

    Great idea, Darren. Thanks! I’m doing the challenge on both my company site and kennel site so it’s quite a bit of fun (and work)!

    I made a squeeze page for today’s post on my kennel site and then put the link with a nicely placed called to action in my About and Basset Hounds 101 pages.

    http://www.bassethounds.nu/the-best-of-bassethoundsnu/

    The idea is that this is a page I can build and organise the more content I put in the site.

  5. A little light bulb just shined above my head! I guess this is what I have already been doing and didn’t even realize it! I post one photo per day and at the end of each month I post a gallery page with all of the photos on it. In my sidebar is a list of my monthly galleries. I will still do some different ones by catagory.

    I am a few days behind on getting things done but I am reading, thinking and posting every day. I am learning a lot and really enjoying this!

    Bridget

  6. Thanks for this tip Darren. I wrote about how Chinese medicine is more than just acupuncture and herbs, it has tons of tips for to you maintain your own health.

    http://albanacupuncture.com/blog/?p=397

    You can even use some of my remedies to stop sneezing for real!

  7. Bill Wolfe says:

    Like others that have commented, I’m taking the route of a custom Twitter landing page that is an “about me” type of page. It lists some of my most popular posts as well.

    http://www.vortexministry.com/page/About-Bill-Wolfe.aspx

    I’m planning to promote this page around other places as well.

  8. And I always thought a sitemap or archives was enough. Autoblog has this cool stuff called daily U-Turn, where they have the yesterdays articles there. I am thinking of a monthly U-Turn. What say?

  9. Dane says:

    Once again, I’m saying to myself, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” I confess that I am finding this 31BBB process exteremly helpful. I just now installed my sneezers. If my blog could talk, it would say, “Thank you very much!”

    ~Dane
    http://www.BionicButler.com

  10. Ok here is my sneeze page:

    http://vener-art.com/beadblog/index.php/caring-for-art-jewelry/

    Clearly it is a work in progress because certianly I will be adding more to this table of contents.

    Let me know what you think please.

    Thanks!

    Patricia

  11. Stan Webb says:

    Darren:

    Once again, you’ve sparked intrigue, and a lot of hard, but happy work.

    Here is the link to my first ‘sneeze page’ in Modern Living, a post entitled “Wisdom”:
    Modern Living: Sometimes on the Edge: Wisdom …
    [ http://sometimesontheedge.blogspot.com/2009/04/wisdom.html ]

    Thank you for all you are doing for us.

    Regards,
    Stan

  12. I keep wanting to say “gesundheit”

    LOL!

  13. Thank you for that clarification. I didn’t realize as much the importance of the sneeze page until now. I will start making sure that my sneeze page is in place and has the right mechanics.

    thanks again!

  14. Marie says:

    Great idea for sneeze page. I’m only up to 25 posts or less, so hopefully I’ll be able to do that soon.

    I do have a few that are my favorites, so at least I have a starting point.

    I really need to start generating weekly posts at the very, very least.

    Thanks for doing the 31dbbb – I appreciate all you have taught us.

  15. Will says:

    Sneeze pages? Hmmmm… good name. I started doing this about 6 months ago with the aim being to not just prominently show off old posts but also utilize wordpress as more of CMS. You have to make your posts easy to find and “search” or “archives” just does not cut it. As I deal with real estate I have pages set up for Buying, Selling, and neighbourhood break downs (with map and text index to posts). There are some terrific plug-ins that will help you create these indexes automatically if you don’t want to dive into code.

  16. Christine says:

    There’s a popular cooking blog out there that features a recipe each day and then links back to the recipe she posted a year ago. I’ve liked the idea and intend to start using it once it applies to my blog.

    Now I need to figure out a sneeze method that will work for me in the interem.

  17. I’ve got my first one done, a compilation of news stories on me and my site, my vlogs teaching how to save money like I do, and some of my teaching posts.

    http://littlemissknowitall.net/get-started-saving/

  18. Thanks for another great technique, Darren!

    I just posted a “Sneeze Page” called TAKS Awareness, which is a compilation of posts about the standardized tests here in Texas. Ranging from humorous Top 10 Lists and letters to administration (you gotta check that one out!) to rants and frustrations, it covers a lot of good, related posts.

    http://learnmegood2.blogspot.com/2009/04/taks-awareness.html

    I also found the Post Rank widget that puts your Top Posts over in the sidebar to keep them in readers’ attention. I may need to start something similar with my own personal favorite posts to keep them in the public eye.

  19. Kim says:

    Here is my sneeze page:

    http://chroniclesofababycatcher.wordpress.com/about/

    It is my “About this Blog” page. I hope that as I write more posts, I will be able to add more items to my sneeze page.

  20. Ok, I’ve finally done my sneeze page. here it is:

    http://www.nicolasprudhon.com/seo-help/100000-pages-viewed

  21. The two most popular posts on my fly fishing blog, by far, are sneeze posts. I did a couple of series of posts on how some ‘celebrity anglers’ set themselves up for specific types of fishing, and then summarized the input in ’roundup’ posts.

    http://blog.deneki.com/2009/04/steelhead-rig-roundup.html
    http://blog.deneki.com/2009/01/king-rig-roundup.html

    Thanks Darren!

    Andrew

  22. Rita says:

    I’m a little behind and did my sneeze post today. It turned out O.K., but it took a long time.

    I’ve been writing for baby boomer consumers since January of 2008. I did a round-up of the posts I’ve written on retirement.

    It will be fun to see what, if anything, my readers have to say.

    I’ll need to think about whether it’s too long. I can easily cut out a few of the articles, but when you write them, you think they’re all great. At least, I do.

    Rita

    “Getting the Retirement You Want in These Tough Economic Times” — http://boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com/the_survive_and_thrive_bo/2009/04/getting-the-retirement-you-want-in-these-tough-economic-times.html

  23. This assignment gave me a little trouble. I wasn’t sure how to make a sneeze page for my blogs. But then I noticed that my ABOUT pages get a lot of traffic. So I wonder, can your ABOUT page be a sneeze page?

    I made some changes on my ABOUT page for The Concierge Lifestyle blog. Take a look and tell me what you think.
    http://lifestyleconciergeservice.net/blog/about/

  24. Vaughn says:

    I like this idea. Of course, I set up a new blog because of this challenge. I have been wondering how to keep the old items fresh and I believe that a few jump off or sneeze pages based on themes would be ideal. Great idea!

    If anyone would like to look at the blog and provide some feedback, It’s http://www.eating4eternity.org/blog

    Happy blogging everyone!

    Vaughn

  25. As your blog grows you can continue to develop your Sneeze page. I see this is presenting trouble for many new bloggers. Just focus on an archives page for now.

    Take a look at how I formatted mine. You can view by category, month and view the last 100 posts quite easily.

    -Mig

  26. Ark Lady says:

    I have a few sneeze pages–which were originally sub-indexes. I am still moving the website over into a blog format and think that I will put them in as sub-pages in a resource area.

    One of the more popular sneeze pages is the Unusual Animal Careerspage.

    I have some other ideas but am going to need to map them out. Although I’ve done this before I am glad that you brought it up as a useful concept.

    One of the things I am doing with this type of page is placing a drop down email sign-up form to target those people specifically interested in the topic–helps to segment my list nicely.

    Even though my time is limited at the moment and I have not been in the forums too much I really am enjoying the process of the 31 day process.

  27. Here’s one of mine:

    Narcissists

  28. Sandra says:

    I can’t wait until I have enough content to do this – Thanks Darren!

  29. Lori says:

    Fantastic! As a travel blogger, this is a great way to categorize posts by destination and theme. Whole posts about “Attractions in Jamaica” or “Dining in Paris” can be linked to all of the single posts I’ve written on those topics. A great way to add content, as well as a great way to improve SEO in a blog that is wholly narrative.

  30. Carrie says:

    here’s my call to action and sneeze page in one http://www.itsfrugalbeinggreen.com/2009/04/best-of-its-frugal-being-green-april.html hopefully i’ll get a good response

  31. Our sneeze-page is on top healthy foods. It’s a collection of all our posts on the health benefits of various foods. As we discover more research on the subject we will write more articles and link them to this page.
    TIP We have a WordPress blog so the way we approached this was to create a new link category called “Featured Posts”. We then setup the  links widget to display on the left hand panel of our blog. It was then just a matter of adding our sneeze-page post as a link in the “Featured Posts” links category.

  32. I’ve been slowly working on putting this together ever since I read this post, and I finally finished! (Although I have a feeling this page is something I can add to in the future.) My sneeze page is all about my picks for some of the best green and eco-friendly products on the market right now.

  33. Journyx says:

    Our sneeze page is called “Project Management Greatest Hits” and features relevant posts we’ve published over time.

    http://www.project-management-blog.com/2009/05/04/project-management-greatest-hits/

    Thanks for the tips!

  34. I could not figure out what type of Sneeze Page to create simply because I do not have enough posts to make a series. Luckily, I came up with what I think is a great idea, which is a “Feature” page. This page highlights posts that I have written for other blogs and/or any blogs I have been featured in.

    Check it out and please provide feedback:
    http://www.jma-daily.com/?page_id=126

  35. now thats an amazing tip.

  36. Jodi Kaplan says:

    Great idea! I’m a little late to the party, but I just made three sneeze pages highlighting posts on several themes (email marketing, customer service, and web marketing).

    @Mario, I made a page (in WordPress) and then linked the page to a new category called Popular Posts. This way, the pages are permanently on the front of my site.

    Like this:

    http://kaplancopy.com/blog/improve-your-email-marketing-campaigns

  37. KDL says:

    Blogger makes this a little hard to do since it seems like we just get one “page” I did a work around that I hope will work. I added a “link list” to my sidebar that contains only one link: the link to my “sneeze page” post. Until it drifts off my page my “sneeze page” is actually a post http://thesimplelifekdl.blogspot.com/2009/05/blog-schedule.html Eventually I can add later posts under the various topics and keep it updated, but it won’t show up unless the reader clicks on the archive by topic link on my sidebar. Is there a better way to do this?

  38. Pat Eyler says:

    I ended up creating a couple of sneeze pages after reading this. The most successful has been: http://on-ruby.blogspot.com/2009/05/questions-five-ways-overview.html This page has a bounce rate of about 40%, which is a fantastic improvement over my blog’s average.

  39. This sounds idea. I’ll keep this in mind when I convert to a full-fledged blog format.

  40. Ebizel Diary says:

    I’ve really noticed an increase after I made my ‘sneeze page’ :)
    Thnx Darren.

    Here’s my sneeze page – http://www.ebizelindia.org/2009/06/everything-you-need-to-know-about-ebiz.html

  41. Kat Rice says:
  42. Sierra says:

    Amusingly enough, this was my project for the day before I got your challenge e-mail. To answer it, I added two plugins to the site: a related posts plugin and a “one year ago” plugin that just highlights posts from one year ago in a sidebar.

    I also made this page: http://childwild.dreamhosters.com/?page_id=2313, on the dummy version of my blog where I’m doing a redesign with a new theme. It should be up and running next week.