Week 264 was posted by Charanjit Chana on 2022-11-14.
This site, 1 Thing A Week, has become a habit for me. I've been posting here for over 5 years now and have enjoyed having an outlet for all different types of subjects. I thought it would be a good time to dive into how this site is structured and to talk about some of the decisions behind it. What bits work and which don't work quite as well.
Homepage / current week
Originally, my big idea was to do something each week with a grand header image. I ended up re-designing the layout after about 18 months, but it originally started with a big hero image and the post title. It was the blog format I'd been wanting to build but in practice I felt it was prioritising the image more than the content so I mixed it up and came up with it's current look.
The one thing I didn't want to do was to just build an archive. A magazine format is a better description of what I was looking to deliver and I think I got there. But how to deal with that on the homepage? I decided to not really have a homepage and focus on the current week's article instead. Using the canonical tag, I update where the homepage points to each week. I don't know if this is actually a good thing to do or not. But it achieves what I wanted to without any effort on my part beyond writing the content.
Each week automatically gets added to the archive, at the bottom of each article you'll see links to the previous week, the next week (if there is one) and a link to a year ago (if there is one). The header also has links to previous and next where appropriate and there are SEO friendly tags in the HTML too.
The archive itself can be browsed in a few ways:
- Full archive
- Year-by-year, 2018 example
- Calendar view, which is not quite where I want it but serves a purpose
- Full archive
- Tags which is a comprehensive list of topics
These different avenues help to bring some order and discoverability. If not for users, then at least for myself and for search engines. When looking back, they help me discover previous articles and search (powered by DuckDuckGo) all make it pretty easy.
Notable items are probably the biggest success story of 1 Thing A Week. Exactly the format I needed to share interesting things I come across or might have an opinion on but not enough for a dedicated article.
My original intent was to link items directly to a week. This didn't quite work out how I wanted so while they do appear against specific weeks there's no link to them other than their date.
There are now over 3,000 Notable items in the bank now. They appear to be grouped by week and day, so 255.3 would mean week 255 and day 3. Maybe this is meaningless to anyone else, but it's an easy way for me to see what different weeks were link. I introduced the concept of favourites to single out the ones that I thought desired the most attention.
I really need to look into tagging notable items but that is a mammoth task given the number of items now. It is one I will get to eventually.
Lastly, while I am not specifically trying to monetise the site there are a few ads running which I may drop to simplify the layout. The Market served as a place for me to link products I talked about to a place you could buy them. It works, but it's not something I've maintained well enough. I need to make a better effort to bring in notable items here and keep it fresh but it's not a priority for me at the moment.
Overall I am really happy with how 1 Thing A Week is structured. A few areas need some attention but there's not a lot that needs to be done. I've come to realise some ideas I have would be better served as their own site so I will be looking into that too.
From a SEO perspective I would be interested to hear any thoughts or comments on how I've approached it. I'm sure the homepage working in a more traditional manor would be a fairly easy win but unless it would mean significant uplift in organic traffic then I'd be happy to leave at as it is.
Tags: 1 Thing A Week