Editor’s note: Below is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of WordPress For Dummies, 8th Edition by eWebscapes founder and WordPress pioneer, Lisa Sabin-Wilson. This piece is the fifth in a series of excerpts called “Advice from a Pro” from this book. In this chapter, readers are introduced to the WordPress tools that are available to keep content organized, easy to create, and help you establish a manageable publishing routine.
In WordPress, a category is what you determine to be the main topic of an individual piece of content on your site. Through the use of categories, you can file your posts into topics by subject. To improve your readers’ experiences in navigating your site, WordPress organizes posts by the categories you assign to them. Visitors can click the categories they’re interested in to see the posts you’ve written on those particular topics.
You should know ahead of time that the list of categories you set up is displayed on your site in a few places, including the following:
- Body of the post: In most WordPress themes, you see the title followed by a statement such as Filed In: Category 1, Category 2. The reader can click the category name to go to a page that lists all the posts you’ve made in that particular category. You can assign a single post to more than one category.
- Navigation menu: Almost all sites have a navigation menu that visitors can use to navigate your site. You can place links to categories on the navigation menu, particularly if you want to draw attention to particular categories.
- Sidebar of your theme: You can place a full list of category titles in the sidebar. A reader can click any category and arrive at a page on your site that lists the posts you’ve made within that particular category.
Subcategories (also known as category children) can further refine the main category topic by listing specific topics related to the main (parent) category. In your WordPress Dashboard, on the Manage Categories page, subcategories are listed directly below the main category.
WordPress includes multiple tools that help you establish a publishing routine.
Creating categories for your various content topics improves your readers’ experience on your website and/or blog.
Categories can be set up so that they create content pathways, allowing readers to find more blog posts related to their preferred category, which keeps them on your site for a longer period of time.
Subcategories can also be created to narrow down the associated content even more.
Setting up categories early on helps you to establish your routine. For one thing, you are determining the topics and subject matters about which you will write. And, two, you are setting the direction in which your readers will consume information; thus, specifying user experience.
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