In just about every workshop I do—no matter if it’s WordPress specific, or about more general blogging issues— the subject of categories always rears its head. I’m often surprised how many people who have used WordPress for some time, don’t really understand the power of categories.
One question I often hear is:
“What’s the difference between a category and a tag?”
I generally use this analogy: Think of categories as chapters in a book and tags as the index. It’s that simple.
While that is useful for explaining the relationship between them, it says nothing about the usefulness of categories.
So why do we use categories, then? To make it easy to organize our posts for our readers.
They can quickly and simply click on a category and find all the posts you have assigned to it, so they don’t have to hunt all over to find the content they are most interested in. Categories can be found in the navigation bar, in the sidebar or even scattered in posts. For example, on the right hand side of this blog, you will find the categories listed under “Choose a Topic”.
Often themes are built on widgets. For example if you look at a typical magazine style theme, you will see the home page filled with boxes. Each of those boxes is generally a widgetized area that pulls in content assigned to a specific category. It’s a great way of continually changing content on the home page.
But this is where most people stop. At a recent workshop, someone said, “Well, I don’t have a blog on my site, so I won’t need to use categories, right?”
Categories are a great way to organize your blog content. But the real beauty of it is that, as a blogger, you can take this same simple system and apply it to your website to make it more user-friendly for your site’s visitors.
And if you don’t have a blog yet, playing around with categories and tags in a static website setting will put you one step ahead when you do take the plunge into the blogging waters.
A few ways to use posts, categories and tags to create a vibrant website with fresh, ever-changing content
Power up your posts by using categories for organizing:
Even if you don’t have a blog, you can create articles, white papers, etc on your site and organize and present them in a way that makes it easy for your readers to find what they are looking for.
2. Events, workshops or classes.
Here on this site you will see examples of this. Again, a great way to separate and classify your different events and workshops.
Not only will you find this an exceptional way to organize recipes, but you can also use tags for specific ingredients or regional cooking.
This one is endless. Think of it. Restaurants, parks, technology, books, music, etc.
Categories will help you organize the fresh content on your site that pops pop regularly.
Have you thought about ways you can bring popular blog tools and features like categories to your website?