Keeping Your Best Posts Alive With A Cornerstone Content Page
In working on the redesign for this site, I’ve not only considered the overall layout and look but also usability. How easy is it for readers to navigate my site? How do I highlight popular posts that haven’t gone past their use by date? How do I easily direct readers who are only interested in particular areas? How do I lead readers through a series of posts on a specific topic?
In other words how do I best meet your needs. Enter Cornerstone Content to act as a hub, a portal to posts not well catered for in your category and tag system.
Categories, Tags and Forgotten To-Do Lists
If you’ve blogged for a while it’s likely you’ve built up various subtopics, written popular and still relevant posts, and series of posts which need reading together. We need to highlight these without using too many categories which confuse and lead to overlap – a post may end up added to multiple categories.
As I tend not to look at tags on other blogs I don’t want to rely on these either. In any case I gave up publishing them not long after moving this site from blogger, many moons ago, when there was only a tag and not a category system. Along with the transfer came an unmanageable number of tags. (If you are new to blogging you have the chance to set up a sensible category and tag system. wpbeginner has a good post on the subject “Categories vs Tags – SEO Best Practices for Sorting your Content“)
Sorting and culling tags is a task I relegated to a long forgotten bits and pieces to-do list (until now that is!). It’s a bit like the basket I leave on my kitchen bench top full of “not sure where they belong” bits (screws and washers that fell out from somewhere unknown, parts from kids toys and jigsaw puzzles, broken fridge magnets needing superglue, cords that came out of my son’s sweatshirt hoods…). When it gets too full, or I have the type of visitor I feel the need to tidy up well for, I stick it in a cupboard and start a new one.
Enough of my household task shortcuts and back to Cornerstone Content…
What You Can Achieve Through Cornerstone Content
- Highlight your “best of” posts in particular topics. Give attention to sub topics.
- Filtering your category archives.
- Provide a central point to link to when you’re writing more posts on the topic.
- Attracting readers by linking to cornerstone content in autoresponder emails
- Giving you a central link to post on Social Media sites
- A great opportunity to get backlinks.
- A way to show calls to action such as offers of free ebooks and newsletter subscription.
- Rank for competitive keywords in Search engines, who don’t care much about your category archives. Or if like me you’ve told Google not to index your categories. I did this because I’ve deleted and merged a lot and had too many 404 not found errors.
- Keep your readers on your site longer
- Gain more repeat visitors.
When writing any page or post it’s best not to just list links with no other content. This may have worked in the stone age of blogging but not now. We need to take more time and care as I talked about in depth in my series about List Posts, starting with Ten Top Reasons To Write List Posts.
Cornerstone content needs an introduction and conclusion, keywords, a clear, attractive layout with headings and subheadings (including keywords for SEO), and images.
As this isn’t the stone age of blogging, I can’t invent the wheel. Instead here is an infographic from CopyBlogger visually explaining the best practices for writing cornerstone content.
Winning cornerstone content
Copyblogger’s recent subscriber only Content Challenge covered this topic in depth. I recommend that you sign up for a free account with copyblogger to get access to this and other valuable member only content, webinars, and free resources.
I’ll work on improving my cornerstone content pages, monitor their progress, and let you know how beneficial they (hopefully) are.
Do you have your own cornerstone content? If so please leave a link in a comment so we can see some examples. Do you have an equivalent of my kitchen bits and pieces basket. If so, what household items do you put in it?