Vinny had a problem
Recently, while trying to find a recipe I knew I’d posted somewhere, I realized how hard it is to search through posts on Cook Up A Story.
Search results displayed each post in full. An endless column of words made scrolling impossible. Also, my categories were so generic that searching them was of little use in finding any one post… or even a series of related posts. Looking for information on Cook Up a Story was a night mare at worst and, at best, a waste of time.
How could I fix the situation, I wondered. The answer came fast and efficiently, from a super soul at WordPress Support called Timethief!
“Read More” code
Timethief has come to my rescue before. This time was no exception.
First, she introduced me to the “More” code. It sits right there in the main menu of the text editor. I hadn’t paid any attention to it before. Inserting this code near the beginning of each post allows only the text up to the code to be displayed. Of course, finding a suitable place for the “More” tag involved editing the openings of quite a few posts. The job turned out to be a time thief!
While I was at it, I reviewed the categories and tags I used to index the site. Sadly, they were not measuring up. Nearly all my posts are filed under “Food”, “Health”, and “Family”. So these terms are no help to people looking for specifics. I wanted to hide two of them from the index on the blog and change the third one to a tag.
Clicking on “Categories” on my Dashboard showed me I could hide them, if I used the category ID. But wherever those pesky IDs were lurking was a mystery.
Another SOS to WordPress support was needed. Timethief to the rescue again! She sent me a screen shot showing where IDs hang out, in the URL when the category is selected. These numbers did the trick. The giant Food and Health entries in the category index disappeared.
Another nifty tool allowed me to change the “Family” category to a tag. With one click, instantly, the term “Family” disappeared from the Category index and appeared in the list of tags.
Making Tags more helpful
Then came the really time-consuming part. I reviewed all the tags in each post for relevancy. I had used “Family” for nearly every post because I try to make my information family friendly. I realized a tag that appears everywhere isn’t helpful. This time, I kept “Family” as a tag only when the content is about families.
Other tags needed attention, too. The same food was inconsistently tagged singular or plural. I tagged seven recipes, for example, “fat” and fourteen others “fats.” Now, foods are tagged only in the plural (e.g., 21 tagged “fats”).
I also deleted any tags that didn’t relate to the food or health content of the post. Why tag the post Yoda Soda with “Yoda”, when all a reader will find there is a recipe for a green summer drink and a review of the Star Wars cook book?
Using the “Excerpt” box
Timethief also pointed out a little box in the editor of each WordPress post called “Excerpt.” I now use it. I summarize the food and health focus of each post and include the featured recipe. When “Excerpt” is filled in, this text turns up in searches, instead of the opening few lines that precede the “More” code.
Going into past posts to compose an excerpt is, of course, another time thief. But when I’m done I hope Vinny’s blog will be a better place to visit.
If you’re looking for something specific, though, the fastest way to find it is through the “search” box. Thankfully, I discovered this button early on, when setting up my blog.
Was this update useful?
Go ahead and click on one or two of the revamped index terms on Cook Up a Story. The indexes are closer to the top now so you won’t miss them.
I particularly like the “stories” category, where food posts written especially for kids are filed. But you might prefer some of the new terms—appetizers, soups, salads, snacks, breakfast foods, main courses and side dishes. Yes! These are terms you’d expect to find while flipping through a cook book! What a novel concept. I have no idea why it took me so long to clue in to using categories and tags this way.
I hope you now find it easier to use Vinny’s site as a resource in planning tasty and healthy meals for your family. Please have a look and comment? Any ideas for further improvements are always welcome!