Sunday, January 2, 2011

Label-search pages

In the begining the blog page comprised blog posts. It was good, but we needed more.

Labels, and their related search pages, provide one of the most useful and powerful features of Blogger blogs: the ability to characterize posts, and to group like posts together on a separate page.

This is something you can't do using Blogger's static pages feature.

If you have a food blog, for example, of posts about fruit, bread, and cheese, you can label each post appropriately. These labels become hot links at the end of each post.

If your readers click on the "cheese" link, Blogger will generate a label-search page comprising all the cheese posts, and only those posts.

This page behaves in almost every way like a mini blog within a blog. If it is long enough to be subject to page limits, it will paginate into a main page and archived pages. (There are some minor differences, as these are really a kind of search page.)

Furthermore, although the page contents are generated dynamically, the url for a main label-search page is fixed, for instance
YOURBLOGNAME.blogspot.com/search/label/cheese
Consequently you can easily link to the page of all your cheese posts from within your blog. One powerful use of this feature is to put such links into a navigation widget, such as a set of tabs or other links positioned over the first blog post. (Use a link-list widget for this.)

In effect, your blog is a honking big database of which each post is a record. Using labels you can group and show your posts as you see fit.

You can apply labels on the fly or to many posts at once.

Labels can overlap; Blogger has no problem listing your discussion of what kind of Camembert goes best with what kind of baguette as both cheese and bread.

At best, label-search pages let your readers break free of the tyranny of the linear list to reach the content that they want.

A little forethought about how labels can organize your content for your readers will yield a blog that is accessible, easy to navigate, and better for your readers.
« Two kinds of archive pages Index Static pages »

34 comments:

  1. Adam, what I want to do is apply four Labels to our posts: international, national, state and local. Additionally the blog was started by some people in our group about a year ago, and those pages are archived under different names. We are now combining them all under a fully designed site. How do I take the old entries and put them directly in an archive?

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  2. M. Statement: That's a lot of information, but your question, if I've got it right, is simple.

    Older posts will automatically spill over into archive pages as you add new content. Within limits, you can control where that spill-over point is.

    It sounds like you've got a plan for your labels. They can be a very powerful way to organize your content.

    By the way, I am pleased to try to answer your questions, but if you have an issue and go to the Blogger help forum you will vastly improve your odds of getting a good answer!

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    Replies
    1. Adam, if one scrolls down my current post, he/she finds a previous one, and that is confusing. I want the previous ones to be archived only. And when they are archived, the listing has only the date and not the title. Only the current post has an archive with a title. What am I doing wrong? -- The Breakfast Bro

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    2. Mic, I have a 3-part answer to your 2-part question.

      1) You can restrict posts per page at Settings > Posts and Comments> Show at most. Sounds as though you want to set this to 1.

      2) The archive gadget is set hide previous posts under the flippy triangles, except for those made in the most recent period. You have the "period" set to be a week.

      Edit the gadget settings and experiment with other settings to see what you like best.

      3) As in my other answers, I suggest questions like this be posed at Blogger's help forum. Many smart and helpful people will see them there, and others who are in your boat will see the answers.

      Nice blog, by the way!

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  3. Fantastic idea! Thanks for the informative post.

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  4. Hey, I am trying to do what you have described above, but cannot get the 'YOURBLOGNAME.blogspot.com/search/label/cheese' to work by searching out and listing all my posts that are titled 'cheese'. My blog is indubidiblydub.blogspot.com and what I have done is made a link list including 'Home' and 'Drop of the Day'. 'Home' obviously works, but when I put 'indubidiblydub.blogspot.com/search/label/Drop of the Day' into the URL box, save it and then click on the tab, I get 'No posts with label Drop of the Day'. Could you please help me?

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  5. Tyra: You need to apply the label you want (e.g. "Drop of the Day") to some posts. Then you will see those posts on the page and no longer get the message. Note that labels are case sensitive.

    If you believe you have done this, please provide a link to one such labeled post.

    Also, both of the links on your tabs are to your home page.

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  6. I read this and the link-list article and they were very helpful with what I'm trying to do. My question is: is there a way to have several link list pages grouped with a stand-alone page? That is, I've got links to all my posts with the labels of "videos, music, etc." but I'd like to add a simple "about" page. I've noticed on other blogs that have this that the URL to the stand-alone "about" page ends in ".html"
    I am also having the same issue as Tyrannosaurus Lex with my "Stories" label.
    http://seasonsoffrockabilly.blogspot.com/
    Thanks!!

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  7. Mary Jane, I am not 100% sure I've got your question right, but if what you want is to put links to some static pages (e.g., "about"), it's quite easy:

    1. Create your static page, including everything you want to say on it;

    2. Publish it, and decline to create a new Pages gadget when asked, but open the new page so that you have its url handy;

    3. Edit your link-list gadget and add a link to the static page.

    The key is that you can link to almost anything from a link-list gadget.

    I hope I understood you right.

    You stories are here; note that labels are case sensitive.

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  8. Thanks so much! And props for actually understanding my question!

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  9. Hi Adam,

    I need a little help in regards to labels and I'm hoping you could help if you don't mind. I'm looking for a way to hide posts with a specific label from the main page on blogger. Example, say I've labelled a post with the label Sold and I've created a tab for Sold posts. I'd like the posts with the Sold label to not appear on my main page or my homepage and only appear when visitors click the Sold tab. I've looked through other sites and they have a html code to insert but none of them have worked for me so far. Do you know how to do this? I thank you in advance.

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  10. Anna, I think that what you want to do is feasible, using conditional statements in your template. But I do not know how to do it, and have reservations about the whole idea.

    I am sure someone on Blogger's help forum can advise you; my own stodgy thoughts (for whatever they may be worth) are here.

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  11. Hello Adam,

    I have 3 questions for you:

    1) I see you have created a page and posted a post here, and people can comment. How can I do this? Please give me a step by step guide.

    2) Can you post here on you static page another post with ability to comment it? Or you can somehow do the trick make static page "dynamic" but it will work only for 1 post.

    3) Can we please exchange links? My blog is about Technology and Science: shareinfoblog.blogspot.com

    Thanks a lot,
    Waiting for your help,
    Steve.

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  12. Steve, this page is a post page, not a static page (although there is a sense in which a static page is just a post page that does not have a date and is not included on the blog page hierarchy).

    You can comment on either if you have comments enabled.

    Sorry I can't help you further! But I hope my blog helps point you in the right direction.

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  13. Adam-
    Came across your blog (love it btw) when trying to figure out the best way to accomplish the following.
    1. Create a recipe tab

    2. On that tab have a list of links to the various labels related to main ingredients/dish. For example: beef, entree, cake, vegetable, side dish, etc.

    Is it possible to use the url for a main label-search page on a static page? Or do those pages have to be text only.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
    Kristina

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    Replies
    1. Kristina, hi!

      I am not sure I understand, but I think you want to put an index to all your recipes--not the recipes themselves, but links--on a static page.

      And to make it even tricker, you want this to be an index by ingredient. (And by other category too).

      The good news is that you can put anything on a static page that you would put in a post. That includes links. So here is how I would probably go about doing what I think you are asking for.

      1) Assign labels for each ingredient (or category) you will index to the recipes that use them, e.g. "beef."

      2) On your static page link the keyword (e.g. "Beef") to the right label-search page (e.g. "http://claimingourspace.blogspot.com/search/label/beef").

      3) Do this for all the categories you want indexed.

      4) Format the index as you prefer on the static page.

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  14. I just started new blog and i am not sure how to get to the point were i have different archives. I want to have a blog of Travel and i want to have pages like my Travels and place profiles, and i want to have posts inside those tags.

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    Replies
    1. Well, this is the way to do that, in my opinion.

      Good luck with your blog!

      Delete
  15. Hi Adam,

    You just helped me on the Blogger help chat/thing. Thanks much for your help! So with the labels, the static pages I created that are the same as these labels will not link. Their are pages, but they can only be accessed by clicking on the label on the post, correct?

    Thanks again

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    Replies
    1. Em, glad I could help. (And I recommend Blogger's help forum to anyone with a problem.)

      You are right that the static pages will not take posts. However, the dynamic label-search pages have static urls that you can link to in dozens of ways, not just "on the label on the post."

      You might want to look into the link-list gadget, as I suggest above.

      Delete
  16. Awesome- finally figured it out. Thanks again for the help!

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  17. I have tabs on my website for various interests. I can put the first post on these non-home pages, but cannot post more. Each time I post it goes to my home page. Tell me the secret to posting on seperate pages within one blogspot. Do I need to have several blogs? Other blogspots dont.
    wenchcrafters.blogspot.com
    I need help thanks

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    Replies
    1. @Wench: You have asked your question as a comment to a blog post I wrote describing how to do this. So my best answer to your question is--what I say above!

      If that doesn't work for you, I am sorry, but it's my best shot. Sometimes that's not good enough, I guess.

      If you are feeling patient you could try reading it again, including the hyperlinks, but otherwise you might try Blogger's help forum.

      Delete
  18. I've got a good handle on my blog labels. What I would like to do (and can't seem to find any info on) is the ability to search WITHIN an original label search. For instance, On my gardening blog I search on, say, benches. I get, say, 8 hits. Now, within those 8 posts, I'd like to limit those 8 hits to, perhaps, cedar. I don't want to create lots of labels like "cedar bench" "cast iron bench" "plastic bench" etc. That way I can still have my "cast iron" label (for more than just for benches, etc.)

    Any clue on how to do this? Or is blogger too limited in that regard.

    Thanks for this post. :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be great, and people have asked for it. A Boolean search ability on labels like that in Google.

      Unfortunately there's no way to do it now, other than the unwieldy method you describe ("plastic bench" et al.).

      Maybe some Javascript genius could figure it out.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Adam. We'll keep our fingers crossed for Google to do something useful like you describe, unlike Captcha... I'm putting my $ on a "Java genius". *heh*

      Delete
  19. Thanks for this Adam! Will give it a go.

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  20. Hi Adam,

    very helpful tips. I am new to blogging. My blog is http://mustknowquotes.blogspot.in/ . I have pages based on label search. Is there any way we can provide keywords so that search engine directly lands for example in marriage quotes page when someone clicks for marriage quotes. There are "search descriptions" for posts and static pages. Is there any way we can achieve this for label based searched pages?

    I am ok switching to any other template/gadget as long as I am able to achieve this.

    Thanks a lot

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad this was helpful. You have a fun idea for a blog.

      As for your search-engine question, I don't think this is possible with Google. I am not sure how other search engines handle this.

      My understanding is that your default settings exclude label-search pages from Google's search bots. These pages are thus not indexed.

      If you override those settings it will hurt your page rank and you risk being classified as a spam blog because of duplicate content.

      Here's something I don't know: whether your labels are noted as keywords by search-engine crawlers. Seems as though they ought to be. You could enquire further at blogger's help forum.

      Because I think I understand what you are trying to do, I do have a suggestion, which is to incorporate your keyword into the url of each post. (Not the title, which would read kind of funny, just the url)

      So for example change the url for this post

      http://mustknowquotes.blogspot.com/2013/04/grace.html

      to this

      http://mustknowquotes.blogspot.com/2013/04/grace_wedding.html

      Url words are counted as keywords, if there are not too many of them, and this is the kind of SEO that Google likes.

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  21. Adam, Thanks a lot for the suggestion.
    1)How do I change just URL? Do I have to rework title of each post?

    http://mustknowquotes.blogspot.com/

    2) Also I have search option enabled for each of the post. My main worry if I populate same keyword is seach engines might see same key word many times and regard it as spam. Is my understanding correct?

    3) My real intention is to let collection of quote appear instead of single quote when someone searches a specific label. Even if I succeed in step 2, I might still not be able to achieve what I want. Any suggestions?


    Thanks a lot.

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    Replies
    1. @anon: Yes, you change the URL of existing posts one at a time. Open the post for editing and click "published on" at right.

      For new posts you can add the keyword in the title, publish, then edit the title to remove the keyword.

      You might want to take your search engine questions to the help forum. Based on my own understanding, which is limited, you do not have to worry about (2), while (3) is basically impossible because search pages are not indexed.

      Delete
  22. Hi Adam,

    Thanks a ton
    You are too good. Superb. It works for new posts as well as old posts.
    The big problem I need to fix now is to see how to get search engine visibility.

    Thanks a lot for quick and helpful responses.

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  23. hey Adam can you help me out? How can i link my previous posts in my new posts? just like you did here. you linked your previous posts like 'link-list widgets',etc to this post 'label search pages'.
    www.dinastha.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Dina, it's all hand coded.

      That is, the "footer" may look as though it is generated automatically by Blogger, but it's actually formatted text links that I entered for each post in the series.

      Labor intensive but in this case helpful, I think!

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