Are Your Archives Awesome? They Can Be.

Ok, folks. This Genesis tut is gonna be a quick one.

I was recently asked if there are great features of the Genesis Framework that are generally overlooked. I’ve had that question several times and, instead of just answering like a normal person, I figured I’d answer in the form of a tutorial. Why not, right?

While I’m not entirely sure if adding intros and headlines to archives is “overlooked,” it is a really cool Genesis feature. So, here goes.

I don’t mean to be exclusive, but this tutorial only applies to folks using the Genesis Framework for WordPress.

What are Archives?

In case you’re not sure what I mean by archives (a.k.a. content archives), it’s just a list of posts, generally displayed in descending order.

Sound like a blog page? It is.

It’s any listing of posts, be it posts in a particular category, posts associated with a particular tag, or even a custom post type.

For example, here are all the blog posts in my “Genesis” category:

Chances are you have archive pages on your WordPress site whether you know it or not. As a matter of fact, a default WordPress install comes with a post called “Hello World” that’s in the “Uncategorized” category, which means that (unless you deleted it) you have an archive page located off your domain at /category/uncategorized/.

Who Gives a Rat’s Patootie?

Possibly no one. But likely many folks (and search engines, too).

The default behavior of these archive pages is to simply display posts in reverse chronological order. You can control a handful of settings under Genesis > Theme Settings in terms of whether you want a featured image to display and whether you want to display the full post, a part of the content, or just an excerpt.

Beyond that, there’s no “extra” information on the page other than a list of your posts.

But how awesome would it be to add both a headline (or title) and a description of an archive page?

Genesis makes this INCREDIBLY EASY to do and you get the benefit of giving your reader’s a heads up of what to expect from the following posts as well as give those search engine spiders a tasty morsel of (hopefully) meaningful content.

How Do I Add a Headline & Description to a Content Archive?

I’m so very glad you asked.

Category Archives

Let’s start with a category archive. From your WordPress admin, go to Posts > Category and click the Edit link for the desired category.

Screenshot showing Posts > Categories and the Edit link
From the Posts > Categories page, click the Edit link for any category to edit that category’s settings.

There’s a bunch of settings on that page you can take time to explore later, but for this tutorial, we’re looking for the following:

  • Archive Headline
  • Archive Intro Text

That’s where the gravy is.

Category Archive Settings page
About halfway down the page, look for the Category Archive Settings.

For my example, I’m editing a category called Accessibility, so my Archive Headline should reflect that (assuming you name your category something meaningful).

My Archive Intro Text gives readers an idea of what they’ll find in those posts, which means I’m also giving search engines a better idea of what that content relates to.

Once I’ve done both of those things and clicked the Update button on that page, I can now see that on my Accessibility archive page:

Example of Category Archive Intro

* Keep in mind, this is no SEO magic weapon. You still need to write good content with relevant keyword focus, but once you’ve done that, taking the extra step to add in a headline and intro gives you a little extra something. And we all know that a bunch of little extras can add up!

Tag Archives

Get excited, because this process is identical to the one we just went through. Instead of going to Posts > Categories, just go to Posts > Tags and then follow out the instructions.

Lawyer in a courtroom gesturing with two outward facing hands at the jury.
You get bonus points if you know this pop cultural reference and why it applies to this post.

Custom Post Type Archives

The idea is essentially the same for custom post type archives. As of Genesis 2.0, you can include support for custom post type archive settings when registering the post type.

Once that’s done, the menu for that post type in your WordPress admin will show an option for Archive Settings.

Archive Settings menu option

From there, follow the same process as you did for categories and tags.

Not so bad, eh?

Unless you’re going the route of registering custom post types you can take advantage of a great Genesis Framework feature without touching a lick of code.

Want to know other nifty things you can do with Genesis? Check out these tutorials FROM MY ARCHIVE. 😉

39 thoughts on “Are Your Archives Awesome? They Can Be.”

  1. adding a unique photo or graphic to the header of each diff archive page…how to? Didn’t you write a tut on that? I can’t find it on your site. But my rat’s patootie benefited from this post–even so. Thanks Cuz 🙂

    1. Hey Sarah, yes. SP should role out Genesis 2.2.1 soon to fix that. In the mean time, using the Genesis Accessible plugin will bring back those archive titles/descriptions. 🙂

  2. Hi Carrie,

    This is a bit late, but I just noticed it. When you have more than 1 category pages, the description repeats itself on every category page (i,e, category/page-1, category/page-2, and so on). Is there anyway to display the category description only on the first page to avoid this duplicate content issue?

    Although I have them set to no-index, I still would rather hide the description on subsequent category pagination pages.

    I had this actually working, but with the last 2 genesis updates, it seems like they made some changes that somehow messed up category description thing.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Yeah, I was surprised as to why they did that. I mean, Genesis is known for being SEO friendly out of the box.

    I did a lot of digging around for weeks and they closest I have come to finding a solution was a clue I found on one of Bill Erickson’s comment on his blog where he was talking about archive pages (this is before the last 2 updates).

    He said:
    “The archive intro Genesis provides is hardcoded to only work on the first page. If you look in /genesis/lib/structure/archive.php, line 39-40 is this:

    if ( get_query_var( ‘paged’ ) >= 2 )

    I looked in that file and sure enough that is what’s missing after the last few Genesis updates. But my coding skills aren’t that great to figure out what to do. I hope you can find a way.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Ok, so after a bit of digging, this change was the result of a discussion on accessibility and whether that title/description should be available on every page of the archive. I don’t necessarily agree with the implementation, but… check out line 131 in genesis/lib/structure/archive.php. You can remove that function and add your own, or maybe use the filter on 130 to just replace the intro text.

  4. Thanks for taking time to look into it, Carrie.

    I played around with it for a while and after breaking the site a few times and not being able to figure it out, I gave up.

    Thankfully the no-index thing is there, so I don’t have to worry about the dup content issue.

    Thank you again.

      1. Hi Carrie,

        Sorry that THIS response is… time-delayed.

        Thanks so much for taking the time to dig in and find a solution. I really appreciate what you do for the community.

        I tried the code. While it does work, it unfortunately removes the description from the first page as well.

        Either way thank you so much. I’ll keep looking. An if I find a solution, I’ll make sure to comment here in case other people are having the same problem.

        Happy holidays!

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