Blog Post Category Trauma: Fixing Those Useless Categories

Filed as Features on July 24, 2007 4:34 am

When we started this category trauma series, I asked: Who thinks these are effective post categories? The categories included “I’ve Been Thinking”, “Some Blog Stuff”, “More Blog Stuff”, “My Thoughts”, “About My Car”, “Dreams and Wishes”, and “Left Over Junk”.

Yesterday’s post looked at some of your suggestions and answers to why these were ineffective post categories and the answer boiled down to:

  • The categories need to define and represent the content within the blog specifically.
  • The category titles need to be search terms and keywords.

In my Thursday post, I’ll talk about how to change and fix those category names on your WordPress blog, but let’s change the names of the example categories to something better suited to that blog’s content.

The Confused Blogger’s Categories

The blog from which these were taken is a personal blog, now undergoing massive revision, one that covers the blogger’s interest in sharing information on building his blog as well as his hobbies about the car he is rebuilding as a hobby. He is newly married with baby on the way. In addition to his automobile restoration project, he wants to blog about the changes these things will bring into his life.

After I spent some time reading his blog and asking questions, this is the new category list we came up with.

  • Restoring a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Car
  • Building a Family
  • How To
  • Collector’s Items

The categories complement each other and specifically address the content. Even though the first post category is a long phrase, it’s a good search phrase that will attract a lot of people interested in his hobby. If you’re interested in restoring a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, that’s what you are going to put in the search engines, right?

The search results for his content within that category would also work with variations on the theme of:

  • restoring a car
  • restoring Chevrolet
  • 1956 car
  • Bel Air
  • 1956 Bel Air
  • 1956 Chev

Readers would know in a moment exactly what they would find within that category. There would be no doubt. In fact, anyone arriving on that blog would know what this blog is about, though the rest of the categories might dilute that assumption unless they support this category.

The terms “building” and “how to” will work well with the car restoration theme, catching searches for “building a car”, “how to build a car”, and similar phrases.

They also cover other topics while supporting the first category. “Building a Family” is fairly specific and will work for a long time as he learns to be a father and anticipates more children. His dream is to have his children eventually help him with his restoration project since he anticipates it taking many years. One can only imagine the shape this vehicle is in.

The “How To” category is wide open. He can share how to information on building his blog, home repair and fix it, child raising, whatever how to subject he wants. It’s vague but gives him a good start. After six months or so, if he is finding himself blogging more about how to build a blog than how to fix the roof or plumbing, then he can rename it “How to Blog” or add a sub-category or another category.

This type of category is great for search terms, but it is also vague enough to leave room to build upon.

“Collector’s Items” also complements the car hobby, but his goal is to put all of his miscellaneous thoughts within that category. After we talked, he realized that he didn’t have much content in his “thinking” categories. He really wants to narrow his blog’s purpose to the car and family. Yet, he still wanted an option to write down his thoughts that might be a little off topic, with the intension of preserving them for his future children, so they might know him a little better, just in case, or later when they are grown up.

By calling it “Collector’s Items”, he felt that it represented the “collection” of his thoughts, wishes, dreams, and any other off-topic subjects he may come up with. He didn’t like Miscellaneous nor any of the other options, but this one felt “right”.

For some, having the exact category for the content within is critical. Leave no room for assumptions. For other bloggers, starting out with only a few, open-ended categories leaves a lot more room for growth. And then there are those who will trust their instincts and choose a category that works for their heart and not their analytical brain. This isn’t about the rules, it’s about finding what works for your blog and helps direct readers to the content they are interested in.

Category titles must be planned and thought through. You need to evaluate the words used so they describe the content within, reflect search terms, and complement your entire blog’s content.

Use your imagination. Have fun with them. But make sure that they do define the your blog’s content so your readers won’t be surprised if they click “Ballet Positions” and end up reading sex stories. :D

On Thursday, I’ll cover how to change your categories in WordPress.

Blog Post Category Trauma Article Series

Tags:

This post was written by

You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.


Submissions & Subscriptions

Submit the post to Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg or Del.icio.us.

Did you like it? Then subscribe to our RSS feed!



  1. Linker Barn: Hump Day July 25July 25, 2007 at 1:24 am
  2. Blog Post Category Trauma: Suggestions for Useless Categories : The Blog HeraldAugust 9, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. If this is the first time you're posting a comment, it might go into moderation. Don't worry, it's not lost, so there's no need to repost it! We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it please.

    Current day month ye@r *