The Pointlessness of Category Archives

By Deane Barker • Posted on July 17, 2005

What do you do with category archives when you get too many posts? That’s what I can’t quite figure out what to do with this site.

We have over 4,000 posts. This means that I have categories with 500 entries or more. This is way too many entries to list on a page, both for server overhead issues and practical issues – who is going to scroll through all those entries? No one.

I thought about paging them (“Entries 1 – 20 of 526 displayed.”), but what’s the point of that? Again, is anyone actually going to sit and page through them all? I doubt it. (Besides, paging is virtually impossible with Movable Type. There’s a plugin, but I just wrote a simple PHP class to do it. It works well, but I guess lost interest when I contemplated the pointlessness of it all.)

In a larger sense, how do you “uncover” all those posts that get buried by the sands of blog time? New posts cover up the old ones, and it just goes on and on.

The only way to make sure that categories are a manageable size is to have a lot of them. And since categorization is so painful in Movable Type (and in general – no one likes to categorize), I think keywords are the answer. Add a keyword, and you make an instant category.

For now, I’ve capped the category archives at 20 entries each. Some of them were hundreds of kilobytes of HTML, which was helping no one and just insuring that search engines weren’t indexing them.

Frustrating.

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