How to Create An Index For Your WordPress Blog

Rickety block index.

Blog Indexes

An index? Indexes are for books, right? But I rather think they are useful for blogs also. When I started blogging at the end of May I never dreamed I would need such a thing. But 175 rickety posts later an index would seem to be a useful addition. I haven’t noticed many blogs that have an index but there is a WordPress plugin that takes care of the construction exceedingly well.

The AZIndex Plugin

The AZIndex Plugin for WordPress by English Mike is a flexible WordPress plugin for generating alphabetical indexes of your weblog’s posts. According to English Mike you can:

Enhance your WordPress blog by creating multiple, three-level alphabetical indexes of your posts based on any combination of post title, author, extract, or custom fields of your choice. Select which posts are included in your indexes using a combination of categories and tags, display them in up to four columns on a single page or over multiple pages.

Plugin Settings

I installed the plugin and these are the settings (located under the “Manage” tag) I chose:

Index name: Index (This shows up in my theme in the horizontal menu below the banner)
Included/excluded categories:(I left this blank)
Included/excluded tags:(I left this blank)
Index headings: Title
Index subheadings: none
Excerpt (Add a few sentences in your “Excerpt” field when you write your post)
Number of columns: 1 (I have some long titles so I went for one column)

Next I checked off the options that I wanted:

Include child categories:
Include blog pages:(I didn’t want some of my pages listed so I left this unchecked)
Exclude blog posts (i.e. only include blog pages):
Use multiple pages:
Display page links above the index (default):
Display page links below the index:
Group items with the same heading under one main entry:(When I tried this the titles lost their hyper-links so I left it unchecked)
Display alphabetical headings: Checked
Display an alphabetical heading at the start of every page: Checked
Display an alphabetical heading at the start of every column:
Insert a gap between entries beginning with a different character: Checked
Display alphabetical links above the index: Checked
Include unused characters in the alphabetical links:
Use two rows for the alphabetical links:
Ignore specified characters, like quotes, when sorting the index: Checked
Put entries starting with non-alphanumeric characters at the end of the index: Checked

I didn’t use any of the advanced options but there were two more settings:

Heading separator: (I wasn’t using subheadings so I left this blank)
Ignore these characters when sorting:
“‘ (These characters were entered automatically when I checked “Ignore specified characters, like quotes, when sorting the index”)

Automated Index

When I clicked on “Save Changes” a page called “Index” was created. From now on each post will be added automatically to the index. It looks great and will be very functional, especially if I fill in all the excerpts for each post — but don’t hold your breath on that getting completed any time soon. It will be interesting to see if anyone actually finds the index useful — apart from me. I think it is a fabulous addition thanks to Mike. English Mike also has an AZIndex User Extensions plugin which you can check to see if it is out of development.
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  1. This really is great info, Keep up the great posts!

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