WordPress allows so much flexibility when creating a blog. A very important feature of a blog is the implementation of categories. Let me show you how to set up categories in WordPress and also tell you why it is best if you use them.
Why You Need To Use Categories
It is important that you use categories on your blog. It is just as important that categories are used correctly.
Categories are the overall subjects of your blog. For instance, if you only blog about food, the main categories might be breakfast, snack, lunch, appetizers, dinner and desserts. Having proper categories will accomplish several things:
- The blog will be more organized.
- It will be easier for readers to navigate the posts.
- Categories are better for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Let’s learn how to set up categories on your WordPress blog and discuss more of the “why’s” of having categories.
How To Set Up Categories In WordPress
In the left hand column of the guts of your WordPress blog, you will find a menu.
Click POSTS and then click CATEGORIES.
On the CATEGORIES page, you can add a new category under ADD NEW CATEGORY.
In the NAME box, type the name of the category.
If you already have categories set up like “breakfast, dinner,” you can click the dropdown to have the category listed under a PARENT category. So let’s say that “dinner” is one of your main categories and is a PARENT CATEGORY. Under dinner, you might have more categories such as “vegetables, meat, bread” or “American, Italian, French, Mexican.”
In my example below, the new category will be FOOD and the PARENT CATEGORY is HEALTH. Simply click the dropdown next to parent and choose HEALTH.
Under DESCRIPTION, you can type a description of the category.
Now you are ready to actually create the category. Click ADD NEW CATEGORY.
To the right, you can now see that FOOD has been added under the PARENT CATEGORY called HEALTH. You can also see the DESCRIPTION.
Before creating the categories, our only category choice for the blog post was “uncategorized.”
Now that we have created the new categories, we can see “health” and “food” which are the categories for this post.
Put a check mark next to the categories that are applicable for the post.
There is also another way to set up categories in WordPress if you are already in a post.
At the bottom of the CATEGORIES on the ALL CATEGORIES tab, click + ADD NEW CATEGORY.
First, type the name of the CATEGORY.
Then click the dropdown menu and click the word you want to use as the PARENT CATEGORY.
Now click ADD NEW CATEGORY.
The new category will appear under CATEGORIES on the ALL CATEGORIES tab
At any time, you can see the complete list of categories by clicking CATEGORIES in the menu located in the left hand column.
While on the CATEGORIES page, you can edit or create categories.
Where the categories show up in the post depends on your theme and how you have chosen to display them. In the example below, they appear at the bottom of the post as “Filed Under”.
Now that you know how to set up categories, let’s dissect in more detail the reasons why you should use categories.
Categories Will Make The Blog More Organized
Do you prefer your home to look like a hoarder or a minimalist? I dare say that no one is going to answer “hoarder”.
Does your blog look like you have become a hoarder of buttons, links, lists, etc.?
Are there so many things to click that your readers are frightened that your sidebars are going to jump out of the monitor and attack them?
If your sidebar looks like a hoarder, then your blog is a disorganized mess. Your readers need to be able to clearly see the p
osts AND easily navigate the posts by topic. Categories can help you accomplish that goal.
Categories Make It Easier For Readers To Navigate The Blog
No matter what you write about, your blog still has major themes that can be used as the parent categories. The categories can be listed in the ARCHIVES of your blog which will make it extremely easy for your readers to search the post topics.
Sometimes people want to read about just one topic on your blog or they are searching for a post they vaguely remember. Surely you don’t think they are going to scroll through every post you have ever written for you blog.
Umm…No, they will not scroll through every post.
So do your readers a favor and create very specific and descriptive categories.
Categories Are Better For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Are you sick of hearing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? There is only one reason that you can legitimately ignore it….You don’t care if anyone reads your blog.
If you want people to read your blog, then it is necessary to do things that will make it better crawled by the spiders and optimized by the search engines.
When search engines crawl your blog, they are looking for the main subjects. By listing the topics as categories, the crawling is more efficient.
Also remember that “more” is not always better. Do not have a limitless list of categories for each post or for your blog. Pinpoint one or two topics that convey the idea of the post. If you want to add more descriptions, use tags which I will discuss in an upcoming blogging tips post. There isn’t any “right” number of categories for a blog because each blog serves a different purpose. However, I can guarantee that one hundred main topic categories is too much.
Make a plan that you are going to go back into your blog and create categories for your blog that make sense. Not only do they make sense, they fulfill the three main reasons for using categories that we just discussed. Don’t wait to do the work because if you procrastinate, it won’t ever get done.
Like Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Star Trek Enterprise would say, “Make it so!”