“Categories are meant for broad groupings of your posts. Think of these as general topics or the table of contents for your site. Categories are there to help identify what your blog is really about. It is to assist readers finding the right type of content on your site”. ~ WP Beginner
“There are many benefits to creating and maintaining a well thought out category and tagging system when blogging. For one, the user experience can be vastly improved by well-constructed navigational elements. But secondly, categories and tags offer an opportunity to increase traffic to your site via search engines”. ~ Manage WP.
How many Categories do you use?
This is an important question. Too many bloggers give categories too little thought. As a result they create too many or none at all.
Do you still have a category called “uncategorized?” Most blogs do. How much material is held against this category? If you haven’t thought much about categorisation before now then, chances are most of your posts will be uncategorised. You would never put all of your work things into a single pile, you would sort them into folders, either in a filing cabinet or in folders in your shelf. This is the job categories perform for your blog.
It is time to rethink this part of your blog and structure it correctly.
What is too many categories? I hear you asking. If you have more than 20 then the chances are you have too many.
Think about your favourite newspaper (or the last one you read). No matter how outdated you may consider the medium there are things we can learn from them. Consider the layout. They have various sections, such as:
Depending on where you are there may be another three or four sections. Truth is newspapers, even the largest, are limited to about ten to fifteen sections. Some of the sections have sub-sections e.g. the types of classified ads, etc. The point being made here is that articles etc. that is published is done so under a limited number of categories or sections. The same should be true for the blog.
What are the top subjects you cover? Write a generalised list — do not be too specific. There may be some overlap between the topics. For example marketing will have overlaps with both technology and advertising for a small business development blog. Case studies may also be a category you wish to use. This subject may be tangential to others, but it provides the option to look at specific examples that may interest the reader. Some are pure marketing examples other may be technical case studies.
Categories versus Keywords/Tags
The purpose of the category is break down your blog into the component sections. Being organised. A keyword or tag also serves to organise your work, but in a different way. It helps readers find things. You would be right to ask how categories and keywords differ. They are both tools that help organise your writing for the reader.
This site has a drop-down list of categories on the sidebar to aid navigation to relevant material. It is the best way to display categories. The categories are generally a fixed list, set when the blog was created. New categories are added only in rare circumstances. On the otherhand new keywords are likely added for every new article, but articles may also reuse keywords/tags. Keywords are more focused, you may have hundreds on your blog. They used to be referenced by Google and other search engines. Search engines today independently index your page. These keywords have more relevance for local (on page) searches.
Keywords used in this article are listed at the bottom of this page. Other keywords are selectable on the sidebar, giving the reader other navigation options. Any article will generally have between eight and twenty keywords. They are based on topics touched within the words of the article. Headers, such as H2 content make a good foundation for keywords. They aid internal searching within the blog.
You should be aware that it is possible to search a blog for items that are neither keywords nor categories.
WordPress provides the ability to create a hierarchy of categories. In most instances you should look for a simple and flat category structure. If you have sub-categories then in all probability you are over-thinking things.
Organising by Category
If you write a blog about farming you may create a number of different categories (subjects which you frequently write about). You create them to stay organised. These may include a simple list, like:
Each article published should relate strongly to one of these categories (although it may also relate to many). Generally though the topic is best is collected under one or two categories.
Something written about new government rules on treatment of livestock diseases, would be posted under “government regulations” but you may place it under “livestock” as well. In a way you have to think about how the reader may look at your site and how they may find your material.
“Does (your site) include categories you used a couple of years ago but don’t use any more?” Asks Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. He is right to ask the question. The categories you use should be an active part of your blog. You may not have published an article under that category for a couple of months, but you are preparing one for the category then it is still active.
If you no longer write about a specific topic (or it is now out of date) then you should consider removing it. Each of the articles using the, now defunct category, need to be moved to another place.
Laying out your blog by category there should be plenty of material for a reader to access in each category. Some will be more popular than others, but you should add at least one post per year for each category on your blog.
What are your thoughts about the categories to use on your blog? Something to contribute? Please leave a comment. If you like this article, we appreciate any donations to GobbledeGoox. All images here were sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay, Unsplash or similar sites.