Site structure is complicated, and we haven’t done enough to simplify it at Feast Design Co. Not only does it help search engines understand and crawl content, it helps visitors find related recipes, and it helps the blogger focus on what’s important.
As of 2019, we’ll be recommending a simpler website structure that will save bloggers time by removing unnecessarily complex pages, such as recipe indexes and blog pages. This new website structure consists of:
- The home page
- The category pages (really, these are all recipe indexes)
- Recipe pages (more specifically, posts)
The vast majority of food blogs generate income by displaying ads on their posts. This means that the ultimate goal of your home page and category pages is to drive visitors to your posts.
This aligns with the mental framework of breadcrumbs, which should display as:
Home Page > Category Page > Recipe Post
This means that development will be focused on enhancing these pages, based on priority.
In order of importance, bloggers should spend their time working on:
- Recipe pages
- Category pages
- The home page
You’ll notice that these are reversed in order of the site structure. Conceptually, many recipe pages should fall into fewer numbers of categories, which should be logically displayed on the homepage. This reflects the real world structure of recipe books: recipes are on individual pages (posts), organized by chapters (categories), and consolidated by the index (home page).
These have traditionally been overlooked by food bloggers, and represent possibly the best return-on-investment (your time) that you can focus on. Each category page has the same needs as a recipe posts, with the content:
- Being keyword-driven
- Explaining why your recipes are the best
- Explaining what the recipes on this page have in common
The category page content is edited in the Posts -> Categories -> Edit Category -> Category Archive Settings components – Archive Headline and Archive Intro Text areas.
Just like your recipe posts, you want to aim for high-quality, relevant and unique content. 300 – 500 words is a good start.
And just like your recipe posts, the content here should be keyword-driven to be unique to that page. You don’t want to try to overlap the content and keywords too much with your individual recipe posts. But you do want to use keywords such as “recipe” in the Archive Headline.
Category slug: we recommend going simple on this – /chicken is better than /chicken-recipes. Let the Archive Headline field handle the keyword optimization.
Another best practice is to manually link to you top performing posts within that category, in the Archive Intro Text box. You can determine what your top performing posts are by analyzing your Google “Webmaster Tools” -> Search Traffic -> Search Analytics -> Pages information.
Broadly speaking, new bloggers should avoid creating nested categories (eg. category under a category). A single category can comfortably fit 20+ posts, and when you grow beyond that, it may make more sense to split the category based on the keywords the page is receiving to make it more highly relevant. A “chicken casserole” is a
In relatively rare cases (top food bloggers with 500+ posts), having 5-10 sub categories of “chicken recipes” under a main “chicken category” might make sense. At this point, hiring an SEO specialist such as Casey Markee to make recommendations to your specific site is a better move.
The Home Page
As much as possible, you want to set this up once and review it yearly. With the widgitized home page built into all Feast Design Co. themes, this is simple.
Many food bloggers have posts and pages unrelated to recipes, such as an “About Me”, “Shop” or “Landing” page. These kinds of pages are best set up as WordPress “Pages”, rather than inter-mingled with posts.
Note: “Landing page” is just a term used to describe a page that you send people to. Technically, this is every publicly accessible page on your website. Some bloggers set up “landing pages” to pitch visitors on a course they’ve developed or a book they’ve written – the simplest way to do this is to create a regular WordPress “Page” and select the “Full Width” layout on that page:
For blogs that have arts and crafts or other non-food related content, you can also create a category specifically for this as well.
Avoid Custom “Templates” At All Costs
This is Skylar’s personal preference when creating a page, and goes contrary to how Feast Design Co. has recommended doing things like recipe indexes and “blog pages” in the past. They provide a false sense of simplicity and are difficult to customize and maintain.