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Would blog followers be alerted when I add a whole batch of sub-pages?

  1. I am planning to add many sub-pages to one of my existing pages (a page, not a post). That single page has gradually grown way too big, so I want to cut its contents up into about 500 small sub-pages , reducing the current big page to a kind of portal that links to all the newly created sub-pages.
    But before I do this, I want to make sure my blog followers won't be bombarded with 500 emails announcing 500 new pages...
    Maybe this wouldn't happen anyway, for such pages? Or if it could indeed happen, is there a way to temporarily switch off the notification mechanism for a situation like this?
    If someone knows, please do tell me! Thank you very much, and my best wishes for a good (productive) 2014 to everyone.

    The blog I need help with is stayontop.org.

  2. danielisreading
    Member

    I believe that followers are only notified when new posts are published, not new pages, so this shouldn't be an issue at all.

  3. Thanks Daniel, I already hoped that might be the case (notifications for posts only, not pages), but I just want to be sure that's indeed how it is.
    I just got an obvious idea, one that I should have thought of earlier: I can test this out simply by subscribing to my own blog, publishing a few pages, and see if I get any notification emails.
    I will post the outcome here so we will all know for sure.

  4. You will not receive notifications. Of course, it will be nearly impossible for people to find 500 sub-pages once you're all done, but that's another issue. By making pages instead of posts you are hurting yourself SEO-wise and also in terms of navigation and organization, but if you're set on this course, your subscribers will not be notified of static pages.

  5. You will not receive notifications. Of course, it will be nearly impossible for people to find 500 sub-pages once you're all done, but that's another issue. By making pages instead of posts you are hurting yourself SEO-wise and also in terms of navigation and organization, but if you're set on this course, your subscribers will not be notified of static pages.

  6. @ Raincoaster: thanks for your help!
    But frankly I don't quite get your remark about the new pages becoming almost impossible to find.
    I admit I'm not expert in this kind of thing, but if I link properly to each of the new pages from a kind of systematic general index page (the latter replacing the present huge catch-all page) then surely readers would still be able to find their way to the content they're looking for?
    And surely, through the same links route, the Google "crawler" would list and index all those new pages so, given a search word match, they would begin to show up in Google eventually?
    So to be honest I don't really see a problem. Or do I miss some essential thing here?

  7. There is a combined maximum number of pages and sub-pages you can create and display in any custom menu. The combined maximum for the custom menu is 88 pages and or subpages.

    Frankly, that 88 is a huge number for any user to scroll through and there is absolutely no way that 500 links on any page would be considered normal by search spiders. Over 100 links on any page gives rise to the link farm suspicion and the search spiders are programmed to report the page for that.

  8. @ Timethief: What you're telling me here is, um, totally flabbergasting to me.
    In my blog's main menu I have a more or less topically sorted "Contents" page that has links to about 160, 170 of my ordinary blog posts from the past. I've always been convinced that this is a nice and handy overview of what my blog has to offer.
    But if what you say is true, I would need to scrap my Contents page as well??? Then what could I put in its place, to point readers to posts from the past?
    I think you'll agree with me that the onsite "search" function is simply inadequate in this respect -- as searching supposes that the user already knows fairly exactly what she's looking for. Surely there must be a way to show what's in a site, to all those visitors who are not yet searching for something, but just browsing around?
    If Google would confuse my completely innocent, ads-free and all-original-content blog site with a commercial "link farm" just because I offer an overview with links to my own posts and pages, well, then I must say Google is far more stupid than I would ever have thought...
    I'm truly amazed by this, more than I can say -- words just fail me here. Apparently, this leaves us no way to organize a growing blog site in a more or less systematical, tree-like manner? Or do you have some alternative suggestions?

  9. Use the Archives widget.

    There are very good reasons why blogs are designed the way they are. The people who developed blogging software over the past what, fifteen years, have thought long and hard about all of this, and this is the solution that works the best. It honestly does.

    Blogs are NOT organized in tree-like structures. They are organized by date and by category/tag in a non-hierarchical way. Websites circa 2002 are organized in a tree format.

  10. This is evolving into an interesting discussion...
    Raincoaster: this Archives widget is totally pointless to me, as it does not organize entries in any way. What's the use of that? Moreover, my blog goes back over three years, and this Archives widget works by month. So should I fill my sidebar with a topically unsorted jumble of over 36 months of links?
    To me, the essence of a blog post is not at all at what date that post happened to be published, but what the post is about. There is a coherence between blog posts that may have been published at very different dates, but that elaborate on similar (somehow related) topics. In the end, it's all about the content, right? So what needs to be shown to the visitor is not some dumb incidental meaningless publication chronology, but that coherence, by highlighting meaningful clusters of content.
    If you really think that's old-fashioned, and that a chaotic lack of structure is the best way to serve your visitors, then you're entitled to that opinion. I myself do most emphatically disagree!

  11. You can also sort Posts using Categories & Sub-categories - don't know how far down the tree goes or if it varies from theme to theme. But I had a test blog a few years back where the Posts were sorted by State then cities in each state

  12. Research indicates that most readers will use the Search widget to navigate a blog. Then they use categories and tags. Then they use the Archives.

    You are perfectly entitled to your opinion, but the numbers indicate that your opinion is not shared by many blog readers.

    There are several themes here that have an automatically generated Archives page. You could just use that if you want.

    You do not HAVE to change your structure. You simply have to accept that if you continue with it, there is a downside and it has been explained to you.

  13. Dear Raincoaster,

    If we all just accepted things as they are, we would still be working with MS-DOS or Windows 95 today... I do not accept things as they are (certainly not if they are wrong) but want to improve and modernize them.

    My own data show very clearly that in my pool of readers, nobody ever (and I mean: never ever) clicks categories or tags. Which is why, to improve clarity, I completely abolished categories a year ago, and left tags in place only because Google still seems to need them. This has not negatively affected my user stats, on the contrary! And while my sidebar tag cloud remains a never-clicked gimmick, my Contents page is visited daily. The reasons ought to be clear.

    One reason, for example, is that tags are totally arbitrary. If I write a post about electroshocks, I can tag it "ECT" or "electroshocks" or "electro-convulsive therapy" and so on. This can be very confusing to users. In my Contents page on the other hand, they don't need to wonder exactly how I might have tagged things. They simply find related articles, such as those about ECT, intuitively grouped together (with visible titles). As a method of access, this works about 10,000 times better.

    What in the background may play a role here, is that WordPress as a platform is perhaps still way too much based on a too-limited, outdated, geeky idea of what a blog actually can be. This limited vision may imply (among other things) the idea that blog posts are time-tied, so lose value over time, so don't need some permanent kind of status and accessibility. But in reality, what I posted about Sigmund Freud two years ago is still just as relevant to readers today. It therefore deserves its own permanent link, not to be buried under a diffuse layer of tags. Want a concrete example? Almost three years ago I wrote a post about the suicide of Richard Manuel. Right now, that post still (and to my own surprise, I confess) keeps getting 10-to-15 readers every week. You see, this kind of permanency calls for a new and better vision on how blogging should work. Here, very brief, is my philosophy:

    Writing a blog is like writing a book. It's not like writing a random series of throwaway notes blowing away in the wind, no, it's writing something to keep as part of larger (and to some extend well-planned) whole. The main difference being, of course, that this kind of book keeps growing and growing: this is a kind of book where new pages get inserted all the time, in very different chapters of the book. Over time, this makes the book as a whole more and more valuable to people who come to read it. But still, this book does need some kind of chapter structure, to provide accessibility in line with its overall setup and intentions. You wouldn't want to build a book that offers an extensive word register, but no clear structure (and, for example, no advice on the best order in which to read chapters). Yet, that kind of jumble seems to be the guiding idea for the WordPress geeks...

    Is that smart? I think not. This is a blog philosophy that basically is still built on something like an antique 1995 Excel database idea. I think if that really is the idea, then it's being blind to the actual needs of both writers and readers. A tiny bit, perhaps (forgive me the parallel) like how the inflexible, dogmatic Microsoft geeks who developed Windows 8 proved fatally blind to the every-day needs of common desktop users...

    At the moment, I pay WordPress only $100 a year for my blog. I am aware of course that one cannot expect too much flexibility and innovation for such a paltry price, so I will not blame WordPress too much for its (sometimes weird) limitations. If I had the money, I would gladly pay a few thousands a year to my own web developer to run a blog that would be much better adjusted to my own needs, and those of my readers. One that would offer a more intuitive, harmonic, valuable kind of blog-structuring that fits better in the life-integrated way how we (at least some of us) consume content today.

    Maybe I should find a sponsor... Or maybe, even better, I should make some time free and start a Kickstarter initiative for developing a truly modern alternative blog platform: one that would be adapted to the needs, not of cat-photo browsers, but of serious readers... Yes, I have a dream: a much better experience for both authors and readers -- and I think that with the help of some techies, I would have no trouble filling that in.

    OK Raincoaster, thanks for getting me to think about this.

  14. If you want to go into software development, WordPress.org is open source. Go right ahead.

  15. If you just want to structure it like a book, that's here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/write-a-book/

    As a reader, the LAST thing I want to do is work my way through a fifteen or five hundred layer deep stack of pages from which I cannot extricate myself.

  16. I can think of a few special cases where 500 sub pages might make sense. An example would be some sort of reference site, where a hierarchical structure would make sense - like pets with sub-section dogs, sub subsection toy dogs, sub sub subsections for each bred, etc.

    In most cases there won't be a natural hierarchy to allow people to find the page you want, however.

  17. @Tandava:
    Yes you're right, the question of when extensive sub-paging would make sense will probably depend from the subject matter, and the expected kind of use. In my particular case, a simple chronological hierarchy might do fine.

    To give you the concrete background, in my blog's side column I have a "Today in History" that is refreshed (almost) daily with a brief text detailing some mental health-related event from the same date in the past. Like, later today I will enter some info about the Jan 6, 1942 suicide of sculptor John Bernard Flannagan, with a photo. This weekend I had the Jan. 4, 1772 birth date of French psychiatrist Esquirol, with his portrait and some info about why he is so important.

    These daily changing side bar items are not regular main-column blog posts, so they cannot be automatically archived like blog posts. Until now, I simply archived these little items by pasting them all, sorted by the dates they refer to, into one single "The Past" page. But obviously, that page (spanning over 2000 years) has gradually grown to the extent where (with hundreds of items and the same number of images) it has become slow-loading and thus ineffective.

    So I want to split up this "Past" page while retaining the possibility for users (a) to quickly look up some historical person (like when you want to know, is it true that according to our modern standards, medieval St. Francis would have been diagnosed as bipolar? did Whitney Houston die from a Xanax overdose? etc.) and (b) to get an overall idea of what happened in a particular period, regarding to the mental health field (like, what new kinds of antidepressant medication were introduced in the 1950s?)

    So in my fairly simple case, a page split-up making small subpages for each of the original items would probably work fine, as long as the referring links in the parent page would (a) show the name of the involved person or event, and (b) those links would be listed in chronological order.

    But because Timethief has just told me (above) that such a number of links and subpages falls outside WordPress' pitiful technical limit (only 88 pages!), I will now need to find some alternative solution...

    In the end, I may have to move all this info from my blog to some external site set up specially for this purpose, which would be a shame because it would break the whole (no common, shared stayontop.org base URL anymore). I'm still thinking about a more creative way to solve this problem.

  18. To give you the concrete background, in my blog's side column I have a "Today in History" that is refreshed (almost) daily with a brief text detailing some mental health-related event from the same date in the past. Like, later today I will enter some info about the Jan 6, 1942 suicide of sculptor John Bernard Flannagan, with a photo. This weekend I had the Jan. 4, 1772 birth date of French psychiatrist Esquirol, with his portrait and some info about why he is so important.

    Isn't that ideally suited to daily posts rather than sub-pages?

  19. Tandava, you asked: Isn't that ideally suited to daily posts rather than sub-pages?
    Answer: no. Of course I can understand your idea, but if I would make these into main-column posts, they would overgrow my regular posts and due to their daily frequency they would appear to turn my mental health blog into some kind of history blog (which it isn't meant to be).
    These assorted historical tidbits are just a part of the general background of my content, and as such they certainly do offer a valuable extra dimension to the whole, but they are not the core nor the essence of what I am trying to do with my main posts -- about all kinds of coping with depression today. In short, this history dimension must remain as an extra in the side bar!

  20. I would be tempted to have a separate blog, maybe hosted as a sub-domain, like "history.stayontop.org". You could then list the most recent posts in the sidebar of your main blog using the RSS widget.

  21. Second domain suggestion -- Thanks for your constructive thinking, Tandava! This is indeed one of the options I had already begun to consider myself.
    But this way-out also seems to bring its own problems, some of them again tied to WordPress limitations (unless I'm mistaken).
    One main thing is, WordPress seems to insist on archiving blog posts in the order they were published. As far as I can see now, this means that this new blog would not produce an archive where readers can use the "previous" and "next" buttons to walk through history in a natural manner.
    Example: WordPress would archive the posts in the publication sequence "10 Jan 1933" - "9 Jan 1645" - "8 Jan 1971" - "7 Jan 1890" and so on (with the last published one first, in this example). See how the years randomly jump to-and-fro?
    To have that same posts archived not in publication order but in chronological order, they would need to be archived in the order "9 Jan 1645" - "7 Jan 1890" - "10 Jan 1933" - "8 Jan 1971". This supposes a kind of dynamic archive database where new posts are not archived at the end or start of the list, but somewhere in the middle: at the proper place of the year they're referring to.
    Only in this way, you would get a properly ordered over-all, timeline-kind of history archive. And of course that's what I want! (That, btw, also is how I sort the entries in my present unwieldy catch-all history page)
    I'm not 100% sure yet, but I fear that WordPress is simply too primitive to be able to handle this kind of thing.

  22. that WordPress is simply too primitive

    Not primitive at all - you seem to be the one out of however many that are looking for custom database access - since WordPress.ORG is built on a standard database - why don't you wander over to WordPress.ORG and make friends in the Plugin section and see if someone has a Plugin that does custom sorting in the way that you want -

    There are many reasons to stay with the WordPress architecture if you can and not start over with a blank site -- when I used to help over at .ORG & had a .ORG install I remember some Plugin's that allowed some custom sorting

  23. @Auxclass:

    Maybe you are right. But if you are, that means I would have to move my entire site or sites (stayontop.org is now hosted at wordpress.com) away to some other provider and reinstall it there. For WordPress.org plugins are simply not supported at all within WordPress.com. Meaning that probably I should have said more precisely that WordPress.com appears to be a bit primitive ;-)

    I would not be particularly looking forward to such a migration process to some other hosting company, with all its risks, extra chores etc. But maybe in the end I will have no other option.

  24. @henkvansetten

    But because Timethief has just told me (above) that such a number of links and subpages falls outside WordPress' pitiful technical limit (only 88 pages!), I will now need to find some alternative solution...

    It seems to me that you are looking for a heavy weight CMS (content management system) like Joomla, or a wordpress.org install with multiple plugins. Best wishes no matter what you decide on.

  25. danielisreading
    Member

    A not very elegant solution for getting them chronological (in terms of the date of the thing in the post) would be to just give them published dates on the correct order. That could get quite messy, but in theory would work, as the dates go back to 1900 (if I'm not mistaken, would be a piece of cake if it went back further to your earliest date!).

    Obviously you'd need to assign perhaps each decade to one year so 1900=1000, 1901=1010, etc.Then each real year can be a month (Jan=1000, Feb=1001, etc). Then each real month can be over two days, then each day an hour (over the two days).

    Anything after 2000 could have the real date

    Would take a bit of work, and may confuse readers if the dates are showing 1900, but a quick note would allay that (or hide them if possible).

  26. Thanks all for your constructive support. I do realize that I should primarily blame myself for wanting things that WordPress (com) cannot yet provide.

    Still, I think my requirements are not wholly exceptional -- it's quite probable that in the near future more blogs will develop into a similar drection, and will then run into the same kind of walls. So perhaps it might not be a bad idea for the WordPress (com) staff to reflect on how WordPress might adapt to somewhat changing blogging habits and requirements in the coming years?

    I will not pretend that I, with my blog, am providing pure premium quality content. I'm just an individual with limited resources, trying do as best as I can. But in a way my problems have to do with a general trend towards less superficial and more quality content on the web (quality meaning more in-depth information, presented in more adequate structures).

    This is a trend we can see in many blogs today: it is demonstrated, for example, by the growing popularity of "longreads" as a quality alternative to the traditional short blog posts.

    It would be great if WordPress could offer some more technical options to support this general trend towards higher-quality blogging.

    PS Thanks for the link Tandava. Unfortunately it doesn't solve the problem as it just offers a way to reverse the publication order (from recent-oldest to oldest-recent posts). I would need something different: a way to sort posts by their title or by a tag.

  27. You can display up to a maximum of 100 posts on a post or a page by using the display post shortcode. Note the display by categories, etc options. http://en.support.wordpress.com/display-posts-shortcode/

  28. @Danielisreading:
    Re-dating them looks like a nifty idea...
    At the moment I still am brooding on some kind of improvised solution that will allow me to somehow keep everything within the same site (domain) I have now.
    But if I go for the using-a-subdomain solution, meaning those history entries will be archived as regular posts, I will most certainly try out if your idea works!

  29. You know, for $30 a year you can use CSS editing to exclude one particular category from the main page of your blog, and if you use an RSS widget, you can display the posts of that category in your sidebar.

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