Blog categories, sub-categories, tags… what are they and why do you need them on your site? Perhaps you are just starting a blog or you’ve had a blog for years. Are you noticing that people are staying on your site? Are they perusing your content and ‘falling down the rabbit hole’ caused by your excellent writing? If they are, you may have excellent categories set up and in place. But if they aren’t, let see if we can help you get people to stay on your site.

Why do you post? It is for engagement, to tell a story, show people where you’ve been, provide powerful content. Maybe you just are writing so that you can get better SEO on your website. Whatever the reason, you know why you write. And I bet you have it all figured out in your head. But can your readers figure it out?

If you are writing a blog post on WordPress, they automatically list your post under ‘Uncategorized’. This isn’t the best way to keep people on your site. If they found you because you had an awesome post on “Keeping Art Alive in Your Community” and they want to read more, they will have to continue to scroll through your archives to read. That can be cumbersome. And they may just leave. Perhaps you also have awesome crafty tutorials, you WANT people to see those. Let’s make it easy for them.

I know, you are thinking… that infographic isn’t really making it easier. Let’s break it down.

Categories

You should have about 5-10 categories on your site. If you have a ton of content, more is fine. If you are just starting out. The one you start with is fine. You’ll see how you need to add more later. Don’t add more than one category to a post. Well, you can if it makes sense but it won’t help with SEO.

These categories can be best thought of as General Topics, Basic Information, the subject on these are Broad. So let’s stick with Crafting. If you are writing a crafty blog, you’ll want use broad themes similar to; card making, scrapbooking, stamping, DIY, Painting, Mixed Media. Those are some broad terms. Remember, we want these categories to be general. We will start to whittle it down to more detail in a moment.

But Why?

Categories, Sub-categories, and Tags are for the ease of your reader AS well as the ease for Google and other search engines to find your content. Categorizing, Sub-Categorizing and Tagging will make it much easier to find your content. No one wants to scroll through years of past archives. Believe me, I know.

Sub-Categories

These will fit under one category. For instance, Your first Category is Scrapbooking and your Sub-Category is Sketches. Maybe you want to use Sketches with Card Making? You’ll need to create another Sub-Category under Card Making. Sub-Categories don’t cross lines. Notice above that the lines from Category to Sub-Category are in Orange but all the rest are in dark brown? Yup. You can only get to a Sub-Category from a Category. So, how important is it? Not as much as Category. Especially not at the beginning. You may not have enough content to warrant Sub-Categories yet. And you can add them in later!

Tags

Now, this is where you want to highlight specific things. Tags add specific detail to each of your posts. So, in the example above, we have Scrapbooking Category and Sketches as a Sub-Category, well let’s choose something like ‘Heritage’ as a tag. You could then pick ‘Family’, ‘Grandmother’, ‘1970’s’, ‘PaperCo X’, ‘GLUE (you love)’, or anything else you may have used or can think of for that post.

All those tags can be used across everything. You can use the ‘Heritage’ tag with Scrapbooking, Card Making, Mixed Media, Painting – any of the tags we created above. Tags are not specific to Categories or Sub-Categories.

WordPress doesn’t limit the number of Categories, Sub-Categories, or Tags you can create. While it’s best practice to have about 5-10 categories, you can have loads of tags. But you may not want to go crazy. Best practice recommends limiting your tags to about 10 per post. Think of a tag as the back of a book, it’s indexing your site.

If you are new to blogging, you may not have enough categories, nor tags. Just keep an eye on them as you go. You can change them to better suit your keywords and subject matter. Eventually, each tag should have 3 or more posts associated with it. Anything less and it’s not useful. And don’t forget, you can always add tags later.

Case Sensitive

One thing I do want to mention is that Categories, Sub-Categories, and Tags are all case sensitive, plural sensitive, and misspelling sensitive. So if you create a Category with the word Card Making and then type in card making later, you are adding another category. This will be confusing to your readers, so be sure to use the same wording each time.

So now that you know a little more about Categories, Sub-Categories and Tags, tell me… how do yours look? If you need to clean them up, do it. Your SEO, site, and readers will thank you!