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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. Angela Mills says:

    I will have to take some time to make one of these pages, but first I must admit I got lost here for a while, reading about digital photography. I guess it works!

    I do have links to each category on my About page, but I don’t think that’s quite the same.

    You can see it here: http://angelamills.wordpress.com/about/

  2. I made a sneeze page called Blogging 101. It’s not huge, but then I only have about 16-17 live posts so far, so it’s proportionally accurate I think.

  3. Prasanna says:

    Sneeze page is a good way to promote our blogs. But, I believe it works effectively only when we create new sneeze pages on a regular basis.

  4. Daniele says:

    Hi Darren,

    good post and very good idea. Today I made my sneeze page:
    http://www.seospam.it/il-meglio-di-seo-spam/
    It’s in italian, as I’m from Italy :)
    This is “The best of” page of my blog. I linked this page on top of the blog, in sidebar and at the bottom of every post.

  5. Momofsixteen says:

    My mom blog is about family, so I posted a summary of my son’s first five years of life since we just celebrated his fifth birhday. Comments welcome on the website, please!

    Thank you very much.

    oh yeah… he just walked by me and made a fake sneeze! What a ham!!

  6. Kevin says:

    I don’t have a huge amount of posts on my blog but I have linked up some common themes here:

    http://kevincumbria.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/summarising-some-themes-and-posts/

  7. Rita says:

    This is a great idea, one I hadn’t thought of. I think I’ll try one on my most popular posts. However, one on my “How to” posts might be better.

    I’ve been doing more lists lately than I usually do, so I may wait until tomorrow to do the sneeze page. Readers liked my post on the “Top 10 Earth Day Top 10 Lists.”

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide http://boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com

  8. Here we go, my Snezze Page:

    http://zenlife.comze.com/2009/04/best-of-zen-life-2009/

    I have added it to the featured content gallery and made a sticky post on my main page.

    Michael

  9. Sulaiman Alhasawi says:

    Thanks for the tip . Another Benefit 4- It helps your specialize more about your topic/niche , and its a way of keeping track of your focus capability .

  10. Jodi says:

    LOVE THIS IDEA! Why didn’t I think of it – So glad I am taking this course. I knew I could improve as a blogger – and you are really helping. I hope to go from 2,000 ave unique visitors to 10k – in the next year. Not sure if it is possible – but all these ideas are sure to help.

    ____________________________________

    Just launched my Sneeze Page – 40Top Photoshop Tips, Tricks and Tutorials from MCP Actions.

    See it here: http://mcpactions.com/blog/2009/04/23/40-top-photoshop-tips-tricks-tutorials-from-mcp-actions/

    And if you like it – PLEASE use a few social bookmarking tools to help spread the word.

    Thanks! Jodi
    MCP Actions – http://www.mcpactions.com

  11. Peter says:

    Already been done.

    http://sneezecount.joyfeed.com/

    That is what we’re talking about, right?

  12. I kind of used this technique to promote ‘English Ale Month’ on our beer review blog. Its an intro post that links to all of the English beers we’ve reviewed.

  13. Momofsixteen says:

    I thought I’d add that as a surfer, when I come across a blog that I love, I go searching for links so I can see more. This idea makes it super easy to find more content.

  14. Wow, this is really something i have never thought about….

    I will explore this way of making a post a little more before jumping into it…

    But again, this is really food for blog-thought!! :-)

    Greetings,
    Claus,
    http://www.clausdjensen.com/out-of-nowhere.html/

  15. Ara says:

    Oh, finally i knew that a page just like that named Sneeze Page :) Pretty good task, and sooner i’m gonna make it.

    Thanks

  16. Mrs Green says:

    Great idea and something which is lacking on my site. I love the one on zen life and I plan to do something similar in the near future.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. To Darren or anyone else who can help me,

    Let me see if I have this correctly: I will go through my posts and select maybe 4 types of photography I do and from those select 4-6 of my best photos/posts for each type and put them all on one page (not another post). Should I do a “to read more” thing?

    I have never done this before and have been blogging for only 7-8 months. I think this is a very good idea and I hope it will get more readers to my site.

    Bridget

  18. Parth says:

    Very interesting concept. I think I’ve tried this before, but never figured out how to organize it. I’ll give it another shot, thanks!

  19. Frank says:

    I did this a few weeks ago because I had identified a problem where even I was having trouble finding some of the hidden jewels on Our Hiking Blog.

    It is basically a list post , grouped into relevant topics: http://frankinoz.blogspot.com/2008/12/hiking-blog-find-information-about-food.html

    It works well (now I have to update it with all the new posts !)

  20. BambiLashes says:

    I just did this on my site, I added a custom RSS Box of all my post’s it shows up at the bottom of my articles http://bambilashes.com/buy-latisse-drug-online-how-to.php I think it was the best thing I could have done to create more page reads, Funny how you wrote about the importance of this. If any one needs a custom RSS Box for there site I got mine at http://www.wordpress-installer.com/auto-blogging-rss-feeds-custom-built.php, I also added a php feed to get my site updated around the clock, kinda an auto blog plugin, because html rss feeds are ignored by spiders, but they do read php rss feeds. Thanks Darren

  21. Mario says:

    So I’ve putted my sneeze-page of the two most important categories ‘People’ and ‘Human Mind’ into my navigation.
    Just have to write a post to announce it to my dear readers and the task is done.

    Take a look if you like.
    http://mario-live.com/blog/people-human-mind/

  22. Marelisa says:

    I have a sitemap where I list all of the blog posts I’ve written. I also have a “guide” to my blog (it’s called A Guide to Abundance Blog for the Uninitiated) where I list what I consider to be my best blog posts: http://abundance-blog.marelisa-online.com/a-guide-to-abundance-blog-for-the-uninitiated/. I think these qualify as sneeze pages.

  23. Lisa P says:

    Great I dea I will do this sometime this weekend

  24. Haha! It’s like you could read some of our minds! I’ve just reached a ‘milestone’ (article no.10 just went out a few days ago) in a series of articles I’ve done on travelling alone and it’s in my schedule (another one of your great lessons, btw) to create an article recapping those 10 articles, and linking them up. Didn’t know it was called a “sneeze page”! I’ll stick to my schedule though and publish it early next week.
    Another great lesson Darren!
    Cheers!

  25. April Boland says:

    I have a writing blog, and my sneeze post is about various poets:

    http://aprilboland.blogspot.com/2009/04/napowrimo-has-been-great-so-far-and-it.html

  26. I made my “practice” sneeze page earlier today for the challenge. It definitely gave me some ideas for future ones.

    Then I got carried away and posted another (http://opinionatedant.com/photography/snapped/) and that’s when my pre-K HTML skills reminded me I really don’t know what I’m doing!

    But thank you for the lesson, it’s been great and it also inadvertently gave me fodder for a new post.

  27. enjoygame says:

    I will have to take some time to make one of these pages, but first I must admit I got lost here for a while, reading about digital photography. I guess it works!

    I do have links to each category on my About page, but I don’t think that’s quite the same.

    You can see it here:http://www.ugg2u.net

  28. enjoygame says:

    I will have to take some time to make one of these pages, but first I must admit I got lost here for a while, reading about digital photography. I guess it works!

    I do have links to each category on my About page, but I don’t think that’s quite the same.

    You can see it here: http://www.ugg2u.net

  29. Woo! It’s not even midnight and I did my homework, I feel so proud. This was a great concept, I’m glad I did it – I should do it regularly. My sneeze post is a list of the recipes I’ve featured thus far, in my first three months of blogging. Check it out!

    http://typeamommyblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/its-almost-my-three-month-blogoversery.html

  30. Mike says:

    Thanks for the tip. I had a reader send me an email asking for help with something and realized that I have a bunch of old posts about it. Sneeze page in the works.

  31. Maddie Grant says:

    Check! I also use a PostRank widget which shows top rated posts by readers – it totally works, it changes all the time, unlike if I just had my own list up there.

  32. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    Great tips Darren! I’ve been linking my link post or list post in my sidebar, I find it quite effectiveness as I get lots valuable comment on the post.

    Take a Look on this :
    http://myblog2day.com/2009/04/12-steps-how-to-build-a-profitable-niche-blog/

  33. I can think of two series for this exercise; one page for articles about color and one page for articles about caring for art jewelry. Oh and a page that refers to articles about trends in fashion and art jewelry…

    Goodness, the possibilities are endless. Now I just have to do one. Oddly enough, I have not yet done any WP pages and these would be the perfect subjects for that vehicle.

    PCVS

  34. tabitha says:

    I made a Favorites page. I went through all my posts and chose the ones I thought reflected my site the most. I then looked through the chosen posts and saw they fit into four topics.

    I’m not sure if that’s what you were wanting but I like how it helps define my blog. It gives more insight into who I am.

    http://123pizza.org/blog/favorites/

  35. Riayn says:

    Great Tip!

    I have now created my page simply titled Best Of – http://spudontherun.wordpress.com/best-of/

  36. Coop says:

    This actually turned out to be fun. I got to go back and read my “fun” articles and putting them on a sneeze page seems like a no-brainer now. Thanks for the idea, Darren.

    http://www.smalltowncritic.com/best-of-articles/

    -Coop

  37. Lydia says:

    DONE! Ahhh, these last few days have been very tough challenges! Here is my sneeze page:

    http://www.littleblueschool.com/ideabox.htm

  38. Scott Pilson says:

    Wonderful advice as always. I’ve been working through similar tasks to refresh old content but this is the best technique thus far.

    Even as an exercise to define categories for your site (from a user perspective) – it lets you do a basic card sort on the content you happened to have created (never what you planned).

    This results in you seeing some (OMG) why is THAT post so buried, hey there’s a pattern I didn’t anticipate etc.

    Then grouping them into short lists in your sneeze page helps you redefine some of your IA in your head for the future.

    Here’s mine if you’d like to see it – I reckon it stays pretty true to the task.

    http://sexandpoker.com/the-very-best-of-sex-and-poker/

    Cheers and keep on imaging great things.

  39. Done. Thanks for the tip, I think it is a great idea, I am presenting the related sneeze page in every post from now on! Thanks.

    Destination Infinity

  40. CGabriel says:

    I never knew what these themed pages were called…or that they even had a name to begin with! So I’ll go with Sneeze Page. Love it.

    I’ve been up and running for 17 months and have what amounts to four sneeze pages:

    - Best of Blog Harbor
    - The Farmland Almanac with Harrison Beillor
    - Gabriel Theatre on the Air
    - Eye on Monday

    The Best Of page kicked it off. I put it to readers to tell me what they liked most. They told me, I put the page together and off we went. Over time, the trends have shifted and I’ve taken a few out and added a few others. And while the page gets hits, it doesn’t get as many as I believe it should.

    That falls in my lap. I’ve done absolutely nothing to promote it. The other sneeze pages do get hits – and, coincidentally enough, they get far more promotion.

    So now you have my sneeze pages…I’d love feedback should you ever get around to them.

    Chrisotpher

  41. CGabriel says:

    It’s really late here…perhaps next time I post at 2 am CDT, I can actually spell my own damn name correctly!

    It’s CHRISTOPHER.

    Jeez. :-o

  42. Nice blog – just stumbled to it today and read some of the posts. Have subscribed to the RSS feed.

    I do not have a sneeze page yet – my blog is still just slightly under a year old. Maybe you can check it out still: http://blog.hardeep.name. Photography is also one of my passions.

  43. Hollie says:

    As I did my Friday Freebie today I referred back to two previous freebies, does that count.

    http://commoncentsmom.com/2009/04/24/friday-freebie-read-great-books-online-for-free/

  44. This can be a big job.
    I’m looking at a couple of plugins to help/
    Can you suggest some.
    So fat I’ve found these
    http://faq-tastic.com/faqtastic-lite-free/
    http://remstate.com/projects/in-series/

    Can you suggest any more plugins?

  45. Matt Penny says:

    I know it’s not the point, but ‘sneeze page’ is a lovely name for it. Very memorable, in a slightly off-colour way. I’ll look forward to seeing it in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary)!

  46. Joe Avella says:

    Sneeze page that overviews my comedy shorts, titled ‘FLIM AVELLA!’ (spelled wrong on purpose):

    http://www.joeavella.com/2009/04/24/flim-avella/

  47. Lori says:

    I never thought to do this, makes perfect sense. Thank you for the tip! Here is my first achoo…

    Starting Your Green Job Search:
    http://greengigs.blogspot.com/2009/04/starting-your-green-job-search.html

  48. Jodi says:

    I already commented once – but I just needed to come back and thank you again! My “sneeze page” was a HUGE success. What a BRILLIANT IDEA!

  49. Stella says:

    Like a Table of Contents with comments or the front cover of a magazine that list the current topics scattered across the alluring picture.

    Thank you

  50. Ulrich says:

    What a simple idea but convincing idea! It was very helpful that the content management systems that hosts my blog supports tagging. So selecting the right tags did pull up possible relevant posts for a themed sneeze page. The theme was open educational resources http://info.ulrich-schrader.de/node/642 . Now I am interested in monitoring the effects.

    Thanks again – and happy birthday Darren (if I remember the tweet right)
    Ulrich