WordPress categories enable you to group related posts together. At a glance, they tell people what your blog is all about. Today’s WordPress Categories tutorial will demonstrate how to create categories for your blog.
Categories help your readers easily navigate throughout your blog and find content. As important, categories let the search engines to know what your blog is about. This allows them to index your blog for certain keywords and when people search for these keywords, your blog will be among the ones placed on the search result pages.
It is best, that initially you select only a few categories (maybe 4) and concentrate on writing posts for these categories. This will give the search engines a really clear idea about the topic of your blog.
Please choose the categories for your blog, before you write your first post. As I said, start with just a few. Later, you may add more!
On a WordPress, blog posts must always be categorized. You do not have control over this. This is one of the WordPress functions. So it is essential that when you write a post you assign a specific category to your post. If you don’t, WordPress will assign your post to a default category.
Unlike posts, pages are never categorized! Categories are only associated with posts. (You can read more about pages here…).
You need to select your categories before you start posting. Select your categories, such that they make sense and relate to the overall theme (topic) of your blog. Select 4 – 5 categories (or more) to begin with. You can always add more if you’ll want to later on.
Let’s Create Some WordPress Categories
As an example, on my demo blog, I’ll pretend that Fitness Workouts is the topic of my blog. I will show you how to create related categories to the topic of Fitness Workouts and I will also show you how to create sub-categories.
For the Fitness example, I will create 4 categories and 3 sub-categories:
- Fitness Workouts
- Workouts For Women – this is a sub-category
- Workouts For Men – this-is a sub-category
- Workouts For Kids – this is a sub-category
- Fitness Videos
- Fitness Equipment
- Fitness Wear
By default, WordPress categories come with one category already set up. It is called “Uncategorized”. If you do not assign a category to a post, it will automatically be categorized as “Uncategorized”. It is good to have this category but I don’t like the name of it.
In this WordPress categories tutorial I will also show you how to change “Uncategorized” designation to something more compatible with your blog. On the demo site I will change it to “General Fitness”. In this category you can place anything that is related to the topic of your site but does not fall within the assigned categories.
How To Access WordPress Categories
1. In your Dashboard Menu, click on “Posts” to expand the “Posts” window. There you will find Categories.
Image 1. WordPress Categories
2. Click on Categories to enter Categories Dashboard.
Image 2. Categories Dashboard
Notice that in the Categories Dashboard there is only one category, a default “Uncategorized” category.
Changing “Uncategorized” Category To A Different Name
1. In the Categories dashboard hover over “Uncategorized” and then click Edit.
Image 3. Uncategorized Category
When you click on “Edit” you will be brought to Categories editing page.
Image 4. Changed Uncategorized Category Name
In the editing dashboard, change “Uncategorized” to a different name. In the demo, I replaced “Uncategorized” with General Fitness. I like to capitalize the name.
You will notice a word “slug” on the Categories editing page. This is a search engine friendly designation of the category. You also need to fill in the slug box for the search engines!
The slug is the same name as your category but the words are in small letters and the words are not separated but they are hyphenated. In this case the slug is “general-fitness”.
When you are done editing you should have:
- Category: General Fitness
- Slug: general-fitness
Make sure to always click the Update button when you edit WordPress categories!
Adding New WordPress Categories
Image 5. Adding a New Category
1. To add a new main category (not a sub-category) fill out Name and Slug fields with your choice of keywords. In the demo, the first main category is Fitness Workouts. The corresponding slug is fitness-workouts.
2. The main category is also called “Parent”. Because you are creating a main category and not a sub-category, this represents the “Parent” category”. For that reason leave the “Parent” option unchanged.
3. You may add a “Description” to the category. It is good to have for SEO (search engine optimization), but you may want to leave it for later, when you have a better feel for your blog.
4. Click the “Add New Category” button when you are done.
You first have to create a main (Parent) category before you can create a sub-category.
In this demo, our Parent category is “Fitness Workouts“. One of the sub-categories in the demo example is “Workouts For Women“. Now I’ll show you how to create this sub-category.
Image 6. Creating Sub-Categories
1. In the Category dashboard enter the name of the sub-category and the corresponding slug you want to create. In this example the designations are as follows:
- Category name: Workouts For Women
- Slug: workouts-for-women
This is no different than creating your main categories. The difference, when creating subcatogories, is that in the Parent dropdown box, you don’t leave it as “none”, but you scroll down to choose the “Parent” you want.
2. Click on the “Parent” drop-down window (black arrow). Our “Parent” category for this sub-category is “Fitness Workouts”.
3. Select the Parent .
4. Click on “Add New Category”. Now your sub-category is created.
You can create as many subcategories for one “Parent” as you want.
On your Category page the sub-domain will show up underneath the main category with a hyphen before the name.
Image 7. Example Of Sub-Category
I went ahead and created all the categories I mentioned at the beginning of this WordPress Categories Tutorial. In the image below is the view from the Categories dashboard (page).
There are 5 main categories (including the default one) and three subcategories.The subcategories have the hyphen in front of them.
All the categories you’ll create will show up on your Categories page. But, categories will not show up on your blog until you start posting posts and assigning categories to these posts.
So, please go ahead and create as many categories as you think you’ll need for your blog. Having pre-designed or pre-selected categories is important for having clean slugs (create-categories, rather than create-categories-2).
Please, make sure you have the main WordPress categories assigned before you start posting.
The categories you have created are going to be shown in your Categories widget in your sidebar by default. In the WordPress Navigation Menu Tutorial, I will show you how to create Navigation Menu (navigation bar at the top of your pages and posts) and and how to use WordPress Categories as part of the Menu items.
Next Tutorial: How To Start Blogging