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. Perfect timing as I was working on my Archive descriptions today. I did try the function you provided Satrap on Git Hub. It works but my first page is missing the description now. Left a message on Git Hub so I can follow up on this.

    Keep on rocking your posts.

  2. The important point here-

    I’ve added description to every categories on my blog and each categories have lots of posts so therefore more that one page. Is there a way I can make the category description only appear on the first page of the category archive?

    1. It´s an old comment but you can use this…

      add_filter( ‘genesis_term_intro_text_output’,’archive_intro_text’, 10, 3 );
      function archive_intro_text( $intro_text ) {

      if ( get_query_var( ‘paged’ ) >= 1 )

      return $intro_text;


  3. Thank you Carrie for this article and for your site that helped me a lot while customizing my Genesis Theme.

    I tried the code you give to remove description from archive pages 2 and more and it didn’t work. So I tried other things and I finally found something that seems to work (I just played with the code you gave) :

    add_filter( ‘genesis_term_intro_text_output’, ‘bby_do_archive_term_description’ );

    function bby_do_archive_term_description( $intro_text ) {
    if ( ! is_paged() ) {
    return $intro_text;

    I hope it could help other people 🙂

  4. Hello!

    This is such a great article. I am just setting up my blog now and struggling with this concept just a little and wondering if you could kindly advise. Heres where I am stuck:

    I use Yoast; I wrote my title name and description for my category and got all green lights on the Yoast plugin. If I replicate this content into “archive intro” (i.e. I essentially leave 2 descriptions and 2 titles on the category edit page) will I get dinged for duplicate content?

    Thank you

    1. Hey Pip,
      The easiest thing to do is to look to view the source code for the category page. Does the content show up 2x? If so, remove one instance – there’s no need for the duplication. Just my two cents, but Yoast might have another recommendation.


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