Lesson 6 – WordPress Categories

Categories provide a helpful way to group related posts together. Depending on the theme and widgets you have activated, categories can be used :

  • On your menu to organize your posts.
  • On specific pages using the Blog Posts block
  • In the available sidebars or widget areas.

To create category pages where posts assigned to that category are displayed. Only WordPress Posts can be assigned categories with the default installation of WordPress. I do feel that this is one of the limitations of WordPress that needs to be changed.

In a more advanced lesson we will look at ways to allow pages to also be grouped into categories using an additional plugin.

Put some thought into determining your categories. Categories can be thought of as a table of contents for your blog posts.  Too many categories and it is hard for your website visitor to scan through them and choose the right one. Try to not have the categories overlap as again they will be confused on which category to choose.

Every post in WordPress is filed under at least one category.  You can assign more than one category to a post, but my recommendation is that you try to only have one category per post.

The Categories section can be found on the left main menu under the Posts section.

The first thing you will want to do is change the Uncategorized category to your own default category. Any posts that you don’t choose the category will be automatically added to this category. Therefore this one should be your most popular or the general category.

To change Uncategorized to your own topic – click on Uncategorized and it will open in the Edit Category window.  Here you can change the Name, the Slug and add a Parent category if needed and even give your categories a more detailed description.

The Slug is the shortened lower case name that WordPress assigns to a category and it is used in the url (remember the Permalink settings we changed).

WordPress will create the Slug for you when you add new categories, but always remember to change the slug if you are editing old categories.

The description is seldom used on the actual WordPress user visible site, although occasionally some themes may give the option to display the Category Description.  The Description is useful to help you better understand your categories and why you chose those specific topics for categories, especially when you have a lot of categories, or if you have multiple people helping with your website.

Be sure to click the Update button so that your changes will be saved.

Creating new categories can be done directly from the Categories page. In most cases it is a simple as enter the Name of the category and click the Add New Category button.  WordPress will automatically create the slug and save the new category in the list of categories.

General rule of thumb is to keep the category names short and to the point, and very descriptive of the post you will be placing in that category. The fewer categories the better. The shorter the better.

Review WordPress Categories by watching the video below.

Next lesson is all about WordPress Themes.

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