Selecting your blog categories is vitally important. Why? Categories are one of the things search engines often use to determine what your blog is about. So choose them wisely, and make them focused.
In other words, try not to choose vague categories like “Family” or “Cool Stuff.” Instead, make them specific and helpful.
At the same time, you don’t want them so specific that you end up with 30 or 40 categories. You should try to only have 5 to 10 categories. If you just cannot focus your content well enough to fit your blog posts into only five or six categories, you might be trying to write about too many things on your blog. Maybe you should narrow the focus of your blog, or (this is what I do) start a new blog!
I used to have only one blog, www.tillhecomes.org, and in it, I had multiple interests. I blogged about Bible, theology, life, mission, church planting, ebooks, writing, blogging, and several other things. See how the blog lacked focus? I still have too many categories on this blog, but I am working at paring them down.
One way I pare them down is by starting other blogs.
I started www.gracecommentary.com to be a place for my specific Bible studies and commentaries.
Second, I started www.graceground.com to write about church planting and missional living.
Third, I started www.gracebooks.org to write about publishing, writing, and editing books.
Finally, I started Grace Blogger to write about blogging.
One of the benefits to my webhost, Omnis.com is that I can host unlimited domains on only one hosting account. So although I host these five websites (and a few others), I am still only paying one hosting fee.
Also, the Standard Theme is good for this as well, since if you purchase the full license, you can use it on as many blogs as you own. Not bad, right?
The point of all this is to say that if your blog is too broadly focused, you are better off starting a new blog with a narrow focus. Keep your blog on target!
So once you have your blog (or blogs) set up, you want to decide which 5 or 6 things your blog will be about, and then make them your categories.
When you first install WordPress, it comes with one default category, called “Uncategoried.”
WordPress requires you to have at least one category, so you cannot delete it. You can, however, change the name of it. So from within the Category menu, if you hover your mouse over the word “Uncategorized” you can choose to Edit it. And when you do, it brings you to the Edit Category Screen.
Change this to what you want your “Default” category to be. If you forget to select a category when writing a post, this category is what the post will automatically be set as.
I want my Default category to be “Blogging Tips” so I will put this in the boxes.
Note that the top box is how you want the Category title appear to users. The second box is how you want web browsers to display the category in the website address window. Do not use spaces in here, as these get replaced with strange characters which do not make for pretty URLs.
The Category Description is not completely necessary, but I do recommend entering something in as it helps reduce duplicate content for search engines.
Also, if you have installed the WordPress SEO plugin, as I have, then you will see the boxes for those down below also. Again, you should fill these out as they help search engines know that this is not duplicate content.
When you have entered everything, save the category, and you are sent back to the Category Screen. You see your newly edited category on the right, as well as the middle column where we will create our next category.
Repeat this process as many times as you need until you have all your categories set up.
Oh, and by the way, if you decide later that you want to change your default blog category in WordPress, you do it from inside the Settings > Writing page of your WordPress Dashboard.
You have now set up your categories. (By the way, I don’t use tags. I will explain why in a later post.)
So, which categories do you use? Have you thought through how many categories you have and what you have named them?