Topic pages highlight the essentials

21 Feb

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Imagine you enter a room full of clutter with things taking up space everywhere. There are bright colors, things you stumble upon; everything competes for your attention. It becomes overwhelming and frustrating. Eventually, you need simplicity. When everything is simplified and neat, you can see the essence of what everything is; you can feel in control and knowledgeable.

This is what “evergreen” topic pages can do. Maurreen Skowran said we all need a balanced news “diet.” It is easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Topic pages serve as a type of encyclopedia that contains background information. It is not so much about constant updates, but about simplicity and seeing the essence of certain topics.

The summaries are not only wonderful because they simplify things, but they can also stand for a long time because they contain background information that one can build upon. There is a lot of curation of past articles to make smaller, simpler summaries.

Paul Edmondson describes the concept of evergreen as “perennially fresh and enduring.”  He gives examples of evergreen content as: encyclopedic entries, product reviews or tutorials.

“While Robin will tell you English is a living language, but the grammar rules for who vs. whom are pretty constant,” he said. “This article will be a valuable resource for years to come.”

According to News Cred, The New York Times is credited for the “birth” of topic pages. It is still said to have the best topic pages on the Internet.

The topic pages are pages with short summaries, graphics, analysis and visuals. Having topic pages linked to other articles on the general page can also help increase certain page views over time. These general pages and articles are in a way promoted by the evergreen page, and the additional readership would probably not have found the material if it weren’t for the topic page.

Evergreen pages are interesting, according to Robert Niles, because not only are they summaries and long lasting, but they are very defined and focused pages. He said the page “ought to focus on a single element within a theme – not just sports, for example, but on soccer officiating in the World Cup.”

Topic pages are that place where your questions about a hobby, interest or beat are answered, and answered attractively. Paul Grabowicz said topic pages are visual, and they appeal to younger demographics. They often include data, maps, timelines, polls, photos, slideshows, videos, archives and plenty of opportunity for interaction and comments.

There is something exciting about becoming an expert in something. That is why many people spend years in school specializing, or they earn certificates in certain professional degrees. An evergreen page allows the writer to specialize in and write about a certain topic that people will always care about. It could mean collaborating with a community of people that will be able to share valuable information with an interested, uninformed community that wants to know more.

Using Delicious: Delicious is a great tool for any journalist or writer who wants to follow a certain topic. It can be helpful, as is Google Alerts, in keeping information about a certain topic together. While Google Alerts tracks a topic, Delicious allows users to bookmark and share bookmarked pages organized by topic and tag.

http://delicious.com/ggonzalez4/

Topic pages worth your time:

Hillary Rodham Clinton– Politics aside, I like her as a person.

CNN Freedom Project-For background and updates on human trafficking and child labor.

Elle.fr– For keeping up with the French presidential elections.

One in eight million– A region topic page from The New York Times. It has excellent graphics.

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