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.
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.