In this article I’ll show you the plugins that I use to create category specific sidebars, but first I’ll talk about what related content silos are and how they help with SEO.
How I Structure and Interlink my Content Silo
I set my categories for the silos just as regular blog categories. On the sidebar I use the ultimate posts widget and I also add a Tinymce editor to the blog category pages using another plugin. I have changed the way I built this so if you’re reading this article for a second time it’s now simplified.
I use only 2 plugins to create these category specific silos. The other method worked well enough but I found it used too many plugins so I found a simpler way.
Visual Term Description Editor
This plugin, although horribly named, does the simple task of giving the category description an editor just like you have with a page or post. You even have the same editor when creating a new category although it’s too small of an area to be very useful.
I did have to hack my theme a bit for the category page to show as if it was a regular post though.
<div id=”section” class=”container”>
<main id=”page” class=”col-sm-8″ role=”main”>
<h1 class=”the-headline”><?php printf( __( ‘Category: %s’, ‘smallblog’ ), single_cat_title( ”, false ) ); ?></h1>
$ods_term_description = term_description();
if ( !empty( $ods_term_description ) ) :
printf( ‘<div class=”description”>%s</div>’, $ods_term_description );
<?php get_sidebar(); ?>
This is the code I used (between the closing header tag and the footer call). You may or may not have to adjust yours. By default the category on the theme I’m using is meant to be a short description of what’s contained in the category and not an article itself. What I want the category page to be though is a long article going over everything in the category to some degree interlinking the relevant posts througout.
So what this edit did was make the description show just as a regular post would, instead of above the post excerpts. By doing this I can have this main silo page linked to from all the articles while in the sidebar it will have the articles in the category thanks to the ultimate posts widget below.
What I don’t like, besides the name, is only a minor inconvenience but still annoying. After I created these longer posts in the category descriptions the whole thing is showing in when I go to the category list page.
This means it takes a bit of scrolling to make it down to the next category. I can see that this will be something I have to fix when these category descriptions become significant length.
The WordPress Silo Plugin: Ultimate Posts Widget
This plugin lets me create a widget which shows only the category specific posts. I can choose many options like if I want to show thumbnails, author, and much more. It gives me great control on how I want the sidebar posts to appear from the specific category I want to show up.
I will go over how I set this plugin up. The first set of options allows you to pick the title and you can even link the title somewhere if you choose. It also allows for a class which will be useful when I decide to change the way the articles are being laid out on the sidebar.
Because of how I am using this I didn’t want to make any text above or below the articles. although it does have that option. The next set of options is where I get to set up the look of each post in the sidebar. Things like the size of the thumbnail, if I want to show the excerpt and more.
I chose to show the title and thumbnail only and found the smallest thumbnail option I had for now. I will probably make adjustments to this by using the class and adding rules soon though. This next tab is what makes the magic happen. It gives us the options of which categories are available as well as a tick box to show only the current category.
Well that’s it the last tab allows you to order alphabetically or by default it is set by date published along with a few other options.