What the Heck are WordPress Categories?

I discovered WordPress categories once I stopped being stubborn. I’ve always seen it housed snugly under Posts in the sidebar. I’ve always seen it prominently displayed in the blog post tool editor above Tags.

I just chose to ignore it. And do I regret it.

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Why? Because once I started to use it, I noticed a big change. WordPress categories enhances both my readers’ experience on my blog as well as makes blogging easier for me. Not only do I know what my readers want to read, I also know what topics to write about next.

I don’t need to sell you on this. You’re reading this blog post because you want to know what is a WordPress category and how to create WordPress categories on your blog.

Let’s get to it.

OK, What the Heck are WordPress Categories?

KLWightman.com WordPress Categories

In the world of blog taxonomy, a WordPress category is a way for you to bunch like blog posts together. In other words, it’s how you can group together blog posts by topic.

Here’s an example: Say you run a news blog. WordPress categories that you’d probably choose to use are News, Sports, Weather and Opinion (and probably a few more).

Let’s look at my blog. Since I publish posts on creative writing, content marketing and social media, WordPress categories lets me cluster these blog posts by subject.

You can even display it on your blog for your readers to read posts from each category. Scroll down this blog post to learn how to add WordPress categories to your blog sidebar or header.

What’s the Difference Between WordPress Categories and Tags?

Think of it this way: WordPress categories index topics while tags index words.

WordPress categories lets you group blog posts by general topics. These categories are hierarchical and can even have sub-categories. You are required to select a category, but if you don’t (as I did for years), Uncategorized is automatically selected for you.

WordPress tags lets you choose specific details to stand out from a certain blog post. These tags are not hierarchal—instead, it’s your way to micro-categorize your content. You are not required to select or create tags for a blog post, but it makes it easier for WordPress readers to find your content if you do.

Help Me Add a WordPress Category

KLWightman.com Categories View (in a blog post)

You can create and select a WordPress category right from the blog post tool editor. You’ll find it on the right side of the screen beneath Format and above Tags.

For this blog post, I selected Blogging as my category, a topic that I’ve previously created.

You can also create a new WordPress category by selecting Add New Category (the blue text), then type out the new category name in the empty box that appears below.

If you want this to be a category (and not a sub-category), choose Parent Category before selecting the Add New Category button. If you want it to be a sub-category of a previously created category, choose the category you want to be its parent category before selecting the Add New Category button. 

Where Can I Organize My WordPress Categories?

If you’re not currently writing a blog post, you can edit your WordPress categories by selecting Categories from Posts in the sidebar.

KLWightman.com WordPress Categories Blog Post Tool Editor

From this page, you can create a new category to use for future blog posts similarly to how you create them in a blog post.

You can also edit your current categories. When you hover your cursor over an existing category, you then have the option to select Edit, Quick Edit, Delete or View (this shows all posts with this WordPress category). 

How Do I Display WordPress Categories on My Blog?

KLWightman.com WordPress Categories (Expanded)

On KLWightman.com, it’s easy for my readers to find blog posts by category. That’s because I selected for it to show in my sidebar.

As you can see, I have a lot of categories. I did once have more, but I consolidated to this list after studying my reader category preferences.

This is something that you can feature on your blog. Just follow these three steps:

Step One: From the Dashboard, select Widgets from Appearance in the sidebar.

KLWightman.com Widgets View

Step Two: You’ll find all the widgets currently displaying on your blog underneath Sidebar (or Header, depending on your WordPress theme) on the right side of the screen. On the left are all the widgets that you can select to show. Simply drag the Categories widget from the left to the right, then drop.

Step Three: Organize in which order you’d like for Categories to appear on your blog by dragging up or down, then drop.

Still stuck on editing or creating WordPress categories? Leave a message in the comments section below and I’ll help you out!


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