The easier your blog is to navigate, the better. You want site visitors to be able to access relevant content easily. WordPress makes it really easy for you to organize all of your content through the use of categories. But let me tell ya, I’ve seen some people use this very poorly by creating as many as 23 categories.

Basically, you want to think of categories as your online filing system. Each post your write (whether you’re talking local market trends, interest rates, or local events) needs to be filed away in it’s own folder (in this case, it’s own category). You don’t want to have too many folders. You want an easy way to reference and access what you’re looking for. Here are some basic tips for managing your categories effectively:

  • Keep your overall number of categories small. I’d say 10 or less is a good number. I’d argue that anything more than 10 is too cluttered. Ines over at does an excellent job of organizing her categories in an easy-to-read fashion.
  • Each post should only go into one category. Think of it again in terms of a filing cabinet. Does it make sense to make a copy of a document and then place copies of that same document into various folders? It kinda defeats the purpose of having separate folders to begin with right? So when you write a post, assign to one specific category and one category only. Also this way, when users are digging through your content, they’ll always stumble upon something new and fresh in each of your respective categories.
  • Categories are more than just a filing folder for your content, they’re a useful navigation feature. Look at the example of Ines’ categories. She has several overall categories, then, she has sub-categories under her “Communities” for example. In this case, she’s talking about real estate in various communities. Being able to create sub-categories makes it easy for me to spot out information relevant to Aventura Real Estate and Aventura only. It makes it easy for me (the site visitor) and prospective buyer, to find relevant information that I might be interested in reading.

3 Steps To Using Categories Effectively

If you’re launching a new blog, or even if you want to do a little house-cleaning to organize your existing blog, try the following exercise.

First: Define Your Topic/Niche.

  • What are your blog goals?
  • Do you have a specific niche? What areas do you want to talk about?
  • What kind of content will you cover? What questions are consumers asking that you can provide answers to?

Second: Brainstorm Category Titles.

Come up with ~10 or less category names. I’d argue that anything more than 10 is too cluttered. If you’re going to talk about more than one local community, create one category for “Communities” (this is your Parent Category), then create subcategories for each of the different communities you’re going to talk about.

Third: Brainstorm Post Ideas

For each blog category, try to come up with 5 – 10 post ideas. If you have 10 categories, congratulations, you should have 100 post ideas for the year! (We’ll talk more about post ideas in a later post…)

Today’s Action Item:

Today you have a little homework assignment. Go to your blog, and count how many blog categories you have. Come back and post your number in the comments. More importantly, using the tips above, how can you better organize your categories to make it easier for new site visitors to access your content?

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About Ricardo Bueno

Ricardo Bueno is the Mareketing/Content Guy at Diverse Solutions. He writes about how to use blogs, social media and IDX technology to generate more leads. Follow him on Twitter @Ribeezie or Circle him on Google+.
  • Des Walsh

    A good reminder to sort out the old categories. I tell others to think through what categories they want before they start but I have blogs where the categories grew like pumpkin vines. I used to wonder whether deleting categories would make problems for search. I now know that if you delete a category in a WordPress blog the category just switches to the default (General) category. Presumably that solves any search problems.

    • Rail Life

      Man, what a good reminder. I *really* need to clean up my act. :)

  • Ricardo Bueno | Diverse Solutions

    @Des: Hey there friend! Thanks for the visit and for the comment. You’re right, when you delete an old category those posts revert to the standard “uncategorized” option that you see when you first install WordPress. Every now and again, it’s nice (and good) to do some house-cleaning :-)

    @RailLife: Hey there! Thanks for the comment. Like I told Des, every now and then, it’s good to do some house-cleaning :-)

    • Bill Wilson

      OK, I counted mine. I have 18 but your example shows 19! I do need to reorganize mine and trim a little. Are you going to discuss tags also?

  • Alex Krumm

    Another really cool thing in the new 3.0 version of wordpress is the ability to use custom menus, a feature many of the new themes employ. It’s a really simple interface to pick and choose which categories, pages, and links you want to show up on any given navigation bar. That’s accessible from the Dashboard > Appearance > Menus.

  • Alex Krumm

    also, you guys should give us rel=”follow” links :)

  • Kirsten Wright

    Great break down – however i definitely think it’s worth mentioning that you probably don’t want all categories displaying at the same time in the sidebar – 19 is A LOT! Maybe have drop downs so the sub-categories are hidden?

  • Ricardo Bueno

    @Kirsten: Going to have to agree with you Kirsten. Displaying so many categories can be a lot (it looks cluttered). In this case, I wanted to showcase the use of sub-categories visually. When displaying them in the sidebar, I’d agree it’s best to use some sort of drop-down navigation option.

    Thanks for the visit over on the DS blog!

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  • Michelle Phy

    Thanks for simplifying the process. Is it just me or do we tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. When you are starting you feel like things are very foggy ~ this post helped to clarify and make it as simple as it really is :)

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