Sorting your Content Effectively

Another Refresher on Categories and Tags

Categories and tags are the biggest stumbling blocks for WordPress users. Not just for the beginners either.


Categories are the Primary way to organise your posts. Their purpose is

  • To help your readers find related content
  • To make navigation menus clear
How many Categories?

The Number of categories should be small. Resist the temptation to add new categories, a long list of them just won’t be read or browsed by anyone.
Categories are meant to encompass a group of posts.

The key to categorising and tagging – “Less is more”

Categories are navigation elements

Categories are not simply a way of labelling posts, they’re a core element of your navigation. Your categories should be factored into your site’s architecture and navigation, and displayed appropriately.

Their sole purpose is to sort your content to improve the usability of your site. When readers come to your site, they can easily browse through your content by topic.

Categories can change all the time. There’s no way that you can come up with all the right categories to start with, just keep in mind that having 20 or so categories is pointless especially when some of them will only have one or two posts.

You have to strike a good balance between offering as few options as possible, while giving the reader a satisfactory choice. Don’t go overboard when categorising your content. A post should typically be in no more than one or two categories.

Tagging your Posts

Tagging should be limited only to the most relevant topics covered in the post.

Your tags aren’t categories. They’re complements to your categories.

Example, if you have a category called ‘Crafts’, you don’t want a tag called ‘craft’. Some of your posts on crafts could include one with photos of your knitting, one talking about how to crochet, one on a book about lampshade decorations – and so on. Your tags for these posts would be ‘knitting’, ‘crochet’, ‘craft books’. You get the picture.

Each and every tag on your site should have a useful purpose. You don’t tag a post for the sake of tagging a post — you tag because grouping posts by that particular tag will be of use to readers.

Use the same tags over and over again. The tagging system is useless when the tags you use vary. For instance, if you have a series of posts on belly dancing, you could tag them as “middle eastern dance,” “belly dancing,” “bellydance” “oriental dance,” “traditional middle eastern dance” or a hundred other variations. The important thing is that you choose one of them, and then reuse it on every post you ever write on the topic.

Use Tags to group multiple posts together

Your goal is always to make the site as user friendly as possible.

If your visitor has come by to read one post and then follows a tag to other posts, you’ve not only tagged your posts correctly, you’ve satisfied a visitor.

Navigating in the newer (2015) themes

Some of the newer themes being used by clients are Altitude Pro, Author Pro, Cafe Pro, Centric, Community Pro and Parallax Pro.

The newer themes use either a category or a tag (or both) for the primary navigation, so it’s even more important that your categories and your tags are streamlined.