Today we’ll look at how to set up WordPress categories in your blog.
One of the great attributes of a wordpress blog post is that it can be allocated to a category.
WordPress blog pages do not have this feature.
But what exactly is the purpose of a WordPress category? And how can categories help you succeed as a pet blogger? Let’s take a look
What are WordPress categories?
Categories are a way of sorting or classifying your blog posts into broad groups. Each blog posts will have something in common with other blog posts in the same category.
By default, every new post created in WordPress is allocated to the ‘uncategorised’ category. It’s up to you to create new categories and allocate each new blog post to one of them
Categories can be nested within one another: category —> sub-category —> sub-sub-category —> etc
In many blogs this last feature is not particularly useful and it can result in long, confusing urls. Use with caution
Why are categories important?
Categories are great ways of sorting your articles so that people can search for a particular topic.
And so that you can display posts from a particular topic in different areas of your home page or sidebar.
Categories help visitors search for relevant information and draw them deeper into your blog.
On a magazine site, categories are important in helping arrange the content on the home page. This is because the home page consists of a number of widgets or content containers that can be moved around.
One of the ways of determining whether or not a post is displayed in one of those containers, is the category that the post belongs to
Different ways to use WordPress categories
In addition to using categories to display posts or post excerpts on your home page, you can also use categories to create menus.
Both in your navigation bar – usually above or below your header image or title. And in your sidebar.
With the help from a some extra code it is also possible display menus created from categories in other parts of your website.
How to choose and name your categories
What you name your categories will depend on the content of your site, and the type of blog you are creating
The type of blog will also influence the total number of categories that you need.
Blog categories on a retail site
If you are selling products for pet rabbits for example then your categories are likely to be different groups of products: hutches, food, toys etc.
If you are building a general pet store, then your categories might be different types of pet: cats, dogs, rabbits, mice. And so on
If you are providing a service, your categories may be the different types of service that you offer
Categories on an authority pet blog
For an authority blog, categories are likely to be key topics covered in the blog. So a blog on dog agility for example might include categories on training, equipment, and competing.
WordPress gives each category an address or web page, and that page will eventually be discovered by Google and other search engines.
It could become an important part of your blog, so it is worth giving some thought to the title and theme of each category
It’s important, for example, to chose category titles that actually represent topics people are likely to search for. So ‘dog training equipment’ is better than ‘cool stuff for training’ Even if the latter sounds more fun.
Personal blog categories
With a personal blog, categories may be very simple
For my quilting blog, for example, I have just two categories: quilting diary, and quilting tutorials.
I may add more as the blog develops, but this is all I need to begin with.
Less is better than more.
If you enjoy filing, sorting, and organising things as I do, it is tempting to create a large number of categories with many sub-categories stacked in side them. And I have done this in the past.
But I caution against both stacking categories within one another, and creating a zillion different categories.
Trying to anticipate every possible category you might need from the get go is a mistake, because your needs and even the general aims of your blog may change over time.
You can also end up with category pages competing with your other posts and pages
It’s best to begin with a small number of categories, you can always add to them later
Setting up your WordPress categories
Look at the menu strip down the left hand side of your wordpress window.
Categories can be found in the ‘Posts’ menu.
Posts —> Categories —> takes you to the categories
Click on categories and enter your chosen category name in the top box.
I suggest you capitalise each word.
Enter the ‘slug’ – this is the way your title will appear in the category url, so you’ll need to use all lower case and hyphens between words rather than spaces.
Remember to use or include a word that people are searching for (keyword) if you want the search engines to find your category page for the right reasons.
Leave parent as ‘none’
You don’t need to add a description at this point, but if you do, then a brief summary of the page’s purpose is fine
All that remains is to click on the blue save button at the bottom of the screen and you are done.
Your category will appear in the list to the right hand side of the screen. Repeat for every category you want to add.
Three or four is fine to begin with. Remember, you can add more later if you wish
Adding text and images to your category pages
If you go to back to the WordPress dashboard and into Posts —> Categories —> and click on the category of your choice, you can also add an introductory text to the beginning of the category page.
Not all themes will enable you to change the way your categories are displayed. This tends to be a feature of premium themes.
Setting up categories in Genesis
Find Genesis —> Theme Settings and scroll down to Content Archives. You can set the display to show an excerpt or to show entry content.
If you choose entry content you can choose how much entry content you see by limiting the number of characters.
For Grandmother’s Closet I set the content archives to display entry content with a character limit of 120
And I set the feature image to 348 x 180 pixels, and the image alignment to float to the left of the excerpt.
Don’t forget to save your changes with the blue button at the bottom
Categories are an important and useful part of your WordPress blogging system.
Simple is better, especially to begin with, so start with the minimum number of categories you need.
Style them with your theme choices if you can, then all you need to remember is to select a category when you publish each blog post.
And WordPress will look after the rest!
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