10 Minute Blog Tips: Creating Compelling Categories

Filed as Features, Guides on June 1, 2007 10:11 am

Let me ask you this question; who are categories for?

Those tags and blog category links, in your post and in your sidebar. Are they for you, the blogger, or are they for your visitors and readers?

If you think for a minute they are for your own content organisation then wash your brain out with soap right now!

The 10 Minute Blog Tip for today is create user-centric categories.

Think about what people look at when they arrive at your blog. Consider how a blog is navigated and used.

Your readers will navigate using category or tag links from your post, perhaps looking for similar posts they might like to read, or they will look around your blog for something interesting to catch their eye.

As you ponder on this and realise your “misc” category isn’t really pulling its weight, start to imagine what topics your readers would like to find.

Rather than have categories that record the subjects you have written about, like a dusty filing cabinet full of alphabetised manilla folders, brainstorm categories that will draw readers further into your content.

What does your audience need to know, enjoy reading about, collect and bookmark? Can your categories be benefit-led? Do you have the space for longer, more descriptive category names or does your template restrict you to single words? Is there a potential to get some search engine keyword fairy dust sprinkled over your category list? After all your sidebar links appear on every page of your blog …

Another way to think of categories is as sub-niches of your audience. For example here at The Blog Herald we have people who are interested in news, blog tips, relationship blogging. Your categories are like hyper-focused mini blogs just for those people.

Take ten minutes to think about your categorisation. Kill your “miscellaneous”, “other”, generic categories and make them specific and interesting. You might find by trimming and tweaking your visitors dive deeper into your content.

How did you choose your categories? Do you navigate blogs using categories and tags? Let us know in the comments …

Chris Garrett encourages you to criticise his blog categories. Subscribe to get more blogging, copywriting and marketing tips, plus a free ebook on creating flagship content that will boost your traffic and subscribers

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  1. By Andrew Flusche posted on June 1, 2007 at 1:25 pm
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    This is a great post! I’ve been considering redoing my categories for quite some time. I think that’s a great weekend project!


  2. By Chris Garrett posted on June 1, 2007 at 6:04 pm
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    Before you do, look in your stats to see which categories are used currently, don’t throw them all away if not necessary :)

  3. By Peter posted on June 1, 2007 at 11:53 pm
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    Hi Chris,

    Interesting post. However there is one thing I am pondering about. I use the Google New Blogger which have recently introduced Labels (Categories). That create pages (and links in the main (home) page which search engines spiders can follow) which will contain identical content as the individual post page (permalink) and initially in the main page too. It is said that search engine penalise duplicate content and any duplicate contents they find on a site goes to the supplemental index (haven’t try to find out what this is or what it implies). However, someone has said that you have to try your best to avoid your pages ending up in the supplemental index of search engines. What is your take on this?

  4. By Thiru posted on June 2, 2007 at 3:46 am
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    Hi Chris,
    I am also thinking – what if we should rename the categories based on the most relevant Google search terms that led the readers to our blog. We can always find out from the Google Analytics. And also, we can use the “Site Overlay” tool to analyse which categories are drawing more clicks.

    Good posting.

  5. By rinku posted on June 4, 2007 at 9:35 am
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    good tips..

  6. By Chris Garrett posted on June 5, 2007 at 8:03 am
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    You do need to take care with dupe content, I found a good half of my posts were in supplemental index until I took steps.

    Yes do use search keywords provided they make sense and do not seem spammy to visitors

  7. By pelf posted on June 6, 2007 at 11:04 am
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    I’ve thought about this for the longest time ever, and over the past two months, I’ve tried refining my categories as best I could. But I’m still not satisfied with it.

    Perhaps somebody can drop by and help me with some suggestions??

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