The Basics of Categories

The Basics of WordPress Categories

WordPress makes it easy to produce great looking sites, but if people can’t find your site… who cares? When it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) categories are one of the most powerful tools there are.

What is a category?

Categories are a way to classify your post.

Let’s say you have a site dedicated to Personal Development. Your posts may focus on particular aspects of Personal Development.  Some on goals, others on finances, another on Law of Attraction, etc. In this example you would setup WordPress Categories (Goals, Finances, Law of Attraction, etc.) and then place the post under the category (or categories) where it fits.

What if a post fits under more than one category?  No problem!  You can assign as many categories as you want.

The real power comes when a visitor comes to your site, then decides to poke around a bit. Maybe they really liked one of the posts you had under “Goals” – with categories properly set up,  they can easily find other posts you labeled under “Goals” and stay on your site longer!

2 Ways to Add Categories

  • From the Post: Just click “Add Category” (you’ll see it on the right).  You’ll be able to manage categories for the current post only.
  • From the Dashboard: Navigate to “Posts” and then “Categories,” which takes you to the categories page so you can edit and manage all of your categories at once.

Either way, you can create a new category and give it a parent category if you want this to work in a hierarchy system, with sub-categories.

If you access through the dashboard, you have an option to create the slug (which is the URL version of the category). Depending on the theme you’re using, you may want to add a description (some themes show the description while others don’t).

What if you want to delete a category? You can do this by accessing via the dashboard as well. Even if you delete a category with posts in it, your posts will be safe. They’ll just get categorized as “Uncategorized” until you tell WordPress their new category.

By the way, if you want a video tour of categories, just become a free member and you’ll get instant access to our free WordPress training videos!

Are Categories and Tags the same thing? They work in the same way, but to different levels. Think of “Categories” as a book and “Tags” as the chapters within that book. For example, maybe your site is dedicated to cooking, you have a category “Vegetarian.” If you create a new post with a great recipe on scrambled tofu, your “Tags” could be “breakfast, tofu, quick and easy.”

The goal of categories is to make it easier to find information on your site. Try to focus your main categories to between 5 and 7. If you need more, just use subcategories to help break it down further.

Were we able to help you with understanding categories? Would you recommend this blog to someone wanting to learn about WordPress?

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