Blog Categories: 5 Practical Tips to Organize Them

Steven10 responsesBlogging

Some bloggers think they have to set up dozens of categories in order to make their sidebar look full and exciting. But all those categories only make it that much harder for your readers to find the content they’re looking for. And if they can’t find what they’re looking for, why should the bother visiting your blog? Here are 5 practical tips for organizing your categories for a clean, easy-to-navigate blog.

organize blog categories

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Set up 6 to 8 categories when you set up your blog

When you’re first setting up your blog create 6 to 8 categories and tell yourself that’s all you’re ever going to use. Then, before you write a blog post, decide which category it’s going to go into and only put it into one. Choosing only one category out of your pre-set selection forces you to focus your content instead of rambling. Not only is it easier for your visitor to find what he’s looking for, your content is easier to read and understand now, too.

Use keywords for category titles

Using keywords for the category titles helps your SEO, but guess what… It also helps you focus your content! Do you see where I’m going with this?

Use your tags to designate sub-categories

Don’t use drop down category menus, and don’t use dozens of categories. Let’s say you’re blogging about recipes. We all know you could have dozens of categories, but you that just confuses your reader. “I wonder if the chocolate cake recipe is under Desserts, Cakes, or Chocolate?

Instead, you’d really only need 4 or 5 categories – Meats, Salads, Vegetables, Desserts, Fruits, and Beverages – and then you could use tags to help sub-divide your categories.

Show the number of posts in each category

This is also good for traffic. Your readers can see the more popular categories and it’s like a bit of social proof. It’s tempting to click that button and see how one person could have so much to say about Chocolate.

Make sure the names are descriptive and relevant

These categories are the index for your blog and people are going to use the categories to find older information that no longer appears on your home page. Make sure your category titles aren’t some cute name that has nothing at all to do with what’s inside. Your readers should be able to look at the title and know exactly what’s inside that category.

It’s a lot easier just to create a new category whenever you feel like it but your blog is your business. You should map out every single step you take including keywords, tags and categories. When you’re doing the initial keyword research you should be focusing on what direction you’re going with your blog. Use those top keywords to set up your categories – you already know that’s what people are looking for, so make it easy for them to find.

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10 Comments

  1. Neil Southwell

    Great article- I’m new to blogging and want to make my content interesting, easily found and useful. Your article has given me food for thought a out how to organise my writing in future.

    1. I’m always happy when I’m inspiring to others… Thanks Neil!

  2. Great points! I’ve been meaning to clean mine up; they do have a way of multiplying over the years!

    1. That’s right Frank… Keeping your categories clean is as challenging as keeping your computer’s desktop clean ;)

  3. Johanna Jansen

    I never quite understood the difference between categories and tags, but I do now. I’ll reset the bunch soon ;-) Thanks

    1. Using keyword-targeted categories will help you get more traffic from Search Engines :)

  4. Johanna Jansen

    Hi Steven, just another question: is it smart to have categories that are more than one word? example: I write about productivity. Flip side is procrastination. When I’m writing about the one, I’m writing about the other, too, so I’d like a category ‘Productivity & Procrastination’. In terms of SEO, is this smart or not so smart?

    1. Johanna, I think you are making one important mistake there. You should ask yourself: does it make sense for my readers if I name my category “Productivity & Procrastination”?

      If it makes sense for your readers, it will make sense for search engines.

  5. Johanna Jansen

    Alright, I got that, but if my readers are looking for ‘procrastination’, will they end up on my blog at all if I use a category ‘productivity & procrastination’? And will readers who are looking for ‘productivity’, too? The key word they are using is included in the category name, right? (I’m sorry to be so clueless ;-)

    1. Johanna, when setting your categories, don’t think about search engines. There are very few blogs pulling traffic directly to the category pages. Most (if not all) of your search engine visitors will land directly on your article pages.

      Use your categories for on-site navigation but don’t stress yourself over search engine traffic.

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