A common mistake among bloggers is to have their sidebar cluttered with a long, rambling list of “Catagories”. To avoid this, experienced bloggers advise new bloggers to think carefully before creating their categories, but my blog is constantly evolving and so are my organization schemes. Thus, though I started with categories, I soon gave them up for Index Posts (IP) to help my readers navigate my blog.
Whenever I notice that I have a group of posts that fit well together, I create an IP and list them together. These IPs themselves may be listed within another IP and further into an endless hierarchy. Every several months I review my posts and try to find an IP home for each post which I consider to have any lasting value — thus many posts are left without IP homes. 😦
You will note that I use five IPs as a “Table of Contents” on the top of my sidebar — click on them to see what I mean. I have changed my Table of Contents several times and re-organized them as my vision for my site has evolved. This is what makes IPs so powerful. Going through and changing categories would be much more difficult. IPs also help you to point folks to what you feel is important. Additionally, they also make a great filing system for your own self-referencing.
May I suggest that you turn off comments and track-backs on Index Posts. Let people put comments on the posts themselves. Index Posts with comments look cluttered.
Use pages sparingly. Turn off comments on “Pages”. I personally think everyone should have an “About” page that gives the author’s background and information about the blog. Pages are very similar to Index Posts but you can view them as IPs that you feel are a bit more important to a new reader than the other IPs on your blog.
Related Posts: Blog Talk: an index blog 🙂