Blog Post Category Trauma: Changing Your Categories in WordPress

Filed as Features on July 26, 2007 4:53 am

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As part of series on maximizing your blog categories, I covered suggestions and considerations for choosing blog post categories, and how those badly choosen categories were fixed on the example blog. This series has covered how to define your blog categories, directing visitors to specific content and how search term specific keywords in your categories benefit your blog. Now, let’s change those categories in your WordPress blog.

To change the name of a category in a WordPress blog:

  1. In the Administration Panels, go to Manage > Categories and click Edit on the category you wish to change.
  2. Edit the name of the category to a more appropriate name. Click Apply to save the changes and the category name will be changed on all blog posts and within your blog’s category list.

To delete a category, all those posts will be moved automatically into the default category on your blog. For many, that’s Uncategorized, something you may not want. The better decision is to move the posts to a new category.

Without a WordPress Plugin, this task now becomes complicated.

To do this manually, without a Plugin, edit each post in that category and change it to the new category. I’ve found this easiest by doing the following in pre-WordPress 2.2 versions:

  1. From your blog view, click the category with the posts you want to move.
  2. If you are using Firefox or the latest version of Internet Explorer, CENTER BUTTON CLICK on each title down the list to open at most 5-10 blog posts in separate tabs.
  3. In one of open tabs, click the EDIT link to edit the post.
  4. Change the post category to the new category and uncheck the old category.
  5. SAVE the changes.
  6. Close the tab and repeat the process with the rest of the tabs. When done, open another 5 or so posts and repeat the process.

WordPress Sort Posts in Categories by FilterWith post-WordPress 2.2 versions:

  1. From the Mange panel, sort the posts By Category, restricting the search to the specific category you wish to change and click Filter.
  2. For each post in that category, click Edit and change the category to the new one, and uncheck the old category. (If you are using Firefox or the latest Internet Explorer, you can use the Center Button Click to open each edit version in a new tab to speed up the process.)
  3. When you’ve saved the changes, it should return you to the Filtered view. Proceed to the next post and repeat the process.

When you are done manually moving the posts to the new category and there are no more posts within the old category, then go to Manage > Categories and click Delete on the category you wish to remove.

Using WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugins make the job much easier, allow you to move whole categories of posts from one category to another with only a few clicks.

In the month long series I did featuring WordPress Plugins, I listed a variety of WordPress Plugins to help you administrate your WordPress blog, including a variety of Plugins for managing categories, including:

For the most part, while there may be a few differences, these WordPress Plugins help you move posts from one category to another, add, rename, and delete categories, and offer other helpful category and post management features.

Start With a Few Categories and Grow Slowly

Since moving posts around in categories is still time consuming without a WordPress Plugin, start with only a few post categories and build them slowly over time.

I recommend new bloggers begin with no more than five categories when they start. At the end of three months of fairly steady blogging, a body of work will be created and the need for an additional category will be necessary and automatic.

Within six months to a year of blogging, a blogger pretty much knows what their content purpose and goal is. They are now experienced enough to have found the joy in writing about specific topics, and abandoning others. At that point is the time to clean up post categories, not later.

Later, the blogger is entrenched with their categories, often with too many to change around. For some, they will just dig in for some long hours of category changing, or keep blogging on and ignore the categories they no longer use. Others will abandon or delete the blog and start over.

So start slowly and build to save yourself the hard work later in your blogging career.

And choose broad enough categories that will grow with you rather than strangle you, or cause visitors to ignore because they just don’t provide enough information.

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  1. By Jim posted on July 27, 2007 at 2:44 pm
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    Hello Lorelle. Thank you for the very insightful article. However, the domain for this link in the article appears to be dead:

    http://www.bidibule.be/wordpress/

    :)

    Reply

  2. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on July 28, 2007 at 11:30 am
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    Hmmm, they were up and working when I wrote this. Thanks. I’m going to leave it up for a couple days to see if they come back online before deleting it. It was a very cool WordPress Plugin. Thanks!

    Reply

  3. Blog Post Category Trauma: Fixing Those Useless Categories : The Blog HeraldAugust 9, 2007 at 11:57 am
  4. mango&lime » Blog Archive » A little housekeepingSeptember 16, 2007 at 5:21 pm
  5. The Cottage » Blog Archive » gestire le categorie in WordpressSeptember 23, 2007 at 9:32 am
  6. WordPress 2.3 Tag News « Lorelle on WordPressOctober 26, 2007 at 12:38 pm
  7. By dave posted on February 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm
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    Thanks for this info. I just started using blogging software and was wondering how to handle the categories effectively.

    Reply

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