What is: Categories?

Categories are one of the two built-in taxonomies used by WordPress and a powerful and versatile way to organize the content on your website. In short, categories are a way to group related blog posts together.

Think about a library. Books are grouped by topics, like “Adventure” or “Science”. In the same way, categories help visitors find the content they’re interested in.

Using Categories

When you create posts, you have the ability to assign a post to one or more categories. For example, if you’re writing about movies, then you might use categories such as “Sci-Fi” or “Horror.” These categories make it easy for visitors to find all of the content that is related, i.e. all the posts that you’ve written about “Horror” movies.

Examples of Categories

Let’s say you have a blog about cooking. You could have categories like:

  • Desserts: For posts about cakes, cookies etc.
  • Dinner Recipes: For posts about main courses.
  • Healthy Eating: For posts about nutritious foods.

If you do not select a category for each post, WordPress will automatically assign it the default category. When you first install WordPress, the default category is “Uncategorized.” You can create and/or choose a new default category by clicking on “Settings” from the administration screen and then “Writing.”

Note: You can both select categories and add tags for each post, but categories are different in that they are organized in hierarchies. For example, the “Sci-Fi” category might have two sub-categories underneath it, “Live action” and “Animated.”

How To Create Categories

Creating a category in WordPress is easy!

There are two ways to create new categories. The first is when you are creating a post. On the right-hand part of the screen, you’ll see a section called “Categories.” You can click on “Add new categories” and create a new category, being sure to slot it into the appropriate hierarchy.

The other way to manage categories is from the administration screen:

  • In your WordPress dashboard, click on “Posts” in the left-hand column and then “Categories.”
  • Fill out the Name for your category. You can also organize existing categories here.
  • The Slug is the URL-friendly version of the name. It’s usually all lowercase and contains only letters, numbers, and hyphens. It’s not mandatory to create a custom slug, but you can if you want.
  • The Parent category is optional. Use this if your new category is a sub-category.
  • The Description is also optional. Some themes show this description.
  • Click the Add New Category button.
  • And voila! You’ve made a category.

Note: Deleting a category does NOT delete any posts that were assigned the category! The affected posts, if they have no other category, will be assigned the default category.

Why and When to Use Categories

Categories are super helpful when your blog covers many topics. They help readers find what they’re interested in.

For example, if you are a food blogger and a reader loves your soup recipes, they can click on the “Soups” category to see all your posts about soup.

It’s a good idea to plan your initial categories from the start. But don’t worry! You can always add more or change them later.

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Jamie Spencer

My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 10 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.