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How to Control the Number of Archive Months Displayed in WordPress

Do your want to limit the number of archive months displayed in your WordPress site? Archives are very useful tools because they allow visitors to easily search for related content regardless of when it was published. Unfortunately, if you publish pages on a daily basis then searching through those archives can be a very daunting task. This can be alleviated slightly by limiting the number of archived months.

If your website has been around for years, you may have noticed that your archive list is getting way too long. This list is displayed by the month and year, for example, August 2017. By limiting the number of months you can reduce the list to make it more manageable for visitors to explore. Today I will demonstrate how to reduce the number of archive months displayed in WordPress using the Compact Archives plugin.

The Importance of Archiving

The main use of archives is simple, to allow visitors to view past content regardless of the publish date. You may ask yourself, does the publish date matter if the post still exists? Well yes, it does because search engines like Google and Bing will always try to display the newest and most popular posts. If your website is not very popular your content will be displayed by date and relevance. Archives are very helpful for SEO because they allow search engines to easily find old content on your website.

Of course, websites change over time and your website one year ago may be completely different. It may actually be in your website’s interest to delete older content that is not up to par with your current content. By limiting the number of archive months displayed in WordPress you can essentially make your older content fade away without actually deleting it and search engines will direct more traffic to your recent content.

How to Limit the Number of Months Archived in WordPress

Today I will demonstrate how to limit the archive months displayed in WordPress using the Compact Archives plugin. It is a very easy plugin to use and will only take a few minutes to get through the tutorial. It has all of the tools needed to manage and limit the number of archive pages with ease.

Let’s start by going to the plugins area of WordPress and click on the “Add New” button.

click on the "Add New" button.

Search for Compact Archives in the available search box. This will pull up additional plugins that you may find helpful.

Search for Compact Archives in the available search box.

Scroll down until you find the Compact Archives plugin and click on the “Install Now” button.

click on the "Install Now" button.

On the left-hand admin panel click on Appearances and select the Widgets option. This will bring you to the main widgets pages. This section of WordPress can help you customize your website to look exactly how you want it to.

click on Appearances and select the Widgets option.

The number of widgets will vary depending on your theme and how many additional widgets your plugins have added. Scroll through your widget section until you find the Compact Archives widget. Once you have located the Compact Archives widget drag it into one of your active widgets on the right-hand side. The choice is completely up to you, but generally, most websites will place it in the sidebar or footer areas. Regardless of what you choose you will limit the number of months in WordPress in the sidebar area or footer area.

drag it into one of your active widgets on the right-hand side.

You will get the same expanded menu regardless of where you place the widget. You can choose how months are displayed in the Select the style drop down box. Choose if your text is uppercase or lowercase. You may also choose the language if you have other languages on your website. Simply fill out this form in a way that best suits your website. Once you have filled out the form click on the “Save” button to finish. If you don’t like the way it looks, return to this menu and change some of the settings to make it look better.

Simply fill out this form in a way that best suits your website.

Congratulations, you have successfully controlled the number of months displayed on your website. Repeat these steps and edit it at will. Feel free to experiment with your placement, but most website stick to the sidebars or footer area.

Additional Plugins

Archiving is very popular and many plugins have been created to accomplish this and add different customization options to websites. Here are a few noteworthy plugins I can recommend trying.

Collapsing Archives

Collapsing Archives

Collapsing Archives is a very similar plugin to Compact Archives, but the key difference is that instead of separating by months it gives you the options to exclude entire years. This is a great plugin for older websites that maybe don’t want to highlight older content that is outdated. For example, tutorials can be incorrect after a single update, so it might be wise to stop showing 3 to 4-year-old tutorials. This is definitely handy for dealing with archives on a yearly basis.

Archives Calander Widget

Archives Calander Widget

Archives Calander Widget is a creative way to display a month’s worth of archives. It will display all of your archives as a calendar on your sidebar. It will definitely show your website’s consistency if you update it on set days every week in a month. It’s a great plugin to use if you want to display archives on your sidebar.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a very popular plugin with over 1 million active installs. It is an extremely useful and easy plugin to setup on your website. It does not directly deal with creating archives, but it ensures that the ones you are creating are optimized for SEO. SEO is one of the most important areas that website developers need to constantly improve and this plugin will help you every step of the way.

Keep Your Website Archived

Archiving is very important to visitors, so they may find related content regardless of the publication date. It is very easy to manage this through the use of plugins. You can even use plugins that help improve your website’s SEO to improve the archives you create for better optimization. This is crucial because it can directly affect the traffic your website receives.

It is also useful to not display some of your earlier content depending on the nature of your website. The content will be out of date or in a different format entirely. Remember your website should always strive to create great content and if you feel older content or even current content is not up to your website’s quality standards you may wish to delete old pages.

Has your website been around long enough to consider not displaying years worth of content? Has your ranking increased by optimizing your archives for SEO?

Author: Ron Helms

I currently work for GreenGeeks as a Support Technician. My primary roles are supporting our VPS and Dedicated server clients, as well as performing site migrations. With experience in the web hosting industry since 2009, there is rarely a question I can’t help answer. In my spare time, I enjoy gaming and working on cars as an automotive enthusiast.

Updated on August 30, 2017

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