Blog Categories Are Really Important. How Can You Choose The Most Effective Ones For Your Site?
Before we get started, there are several ways to go through the process of choosing blog categories for your site. Only you can decide which strategy will work best for your industry and your site.
If you are new to blogging or setting up a site, you may find this whole topic a bit overwhelming. I am sure by the time you finish reading this post, you will have a clear understanding of how to choose the most effective blog catefories for your site.
Should you choose general blog categories to cover just about everything in your niche or industry? Should you target just a few main categories? Or, something in between? Believe it or not, many new bloggers do not consider categories that important and therefore just create them as they start blogging. I don’t think this is a good approach at all.
I think the first question you should ask yourself as a blogger is, “Just who am I creating categories for? For me, as the blog owner, or my site visitors?”
If you are choosing blog categories for yourself, as the blog owner, then your approach will likely be to create as broad a spectrum as possible in order to attract as many site visitors as you can. At first, this may seem like a logical and sensible approach, but, while trying to broaden the range of categories, you can also create way too many and end up using them more like tags instead!
If instead you are focusing on creating blog categories for your site visitors, you would look at your posts from quite a different perspective.
Think about when you visit a blog for the first time. You are a bit disoriented and want to quickly get to the information that you need, find answers to the challenges you are currently facing. Have you ever landed on a blog and had no idea where to go or what to do to navigate it? You probably quickly just gave up and left, right?
Now, if the content is easy to find and is just what you were looking for after doing an online search, you not only will gather the information you needed but you just might stay a bit and look around for other interesting information.
After thinking about the way that we approach creating categories, keep the end in mind; which results do we want? A lot of site visitors (drawn to your post because of the multiple categories you placed it under) that hit your post and then leave feeling cheated because what they wanted was barely touched upon in your post? (Remember that this will likely increase your bounce rate as well).
Or, would you rather have a smaller number of site visitors that find your information valuable and useful because you used correct categorization for your post? Now, these satisfied site visitors will be more likely to share your information and return whereas the dissatisfied site visitors will likely never return, no matter what you do. You have made a first impression on these people and it wasn’t very favorable.
In my last post, I went over how to choose a theme for your WordPress site. As you are choosing categories, your theme will enter into this process. Were you aware that some WP Themes use categories in order to determine the placement of posts and sometimes even the layout of your blog? If you have chosen such a theme, your categories should be a high priority.
Regardless of whether your categories are a major part of your site design or not, keep the name of each category simple, clear, and direct so it is easy for your blog visitor to understand. In my opinion, category names shouldn’t be catchy, gimmicky, or spammy.
Instead, create your category names that are keywords to make your site more attractive to visitors. When you use keywords for categories, your category page will have a keyword “slug.” A slug is a URL-friendly version of your post or page title that you can make keyword rich. The slug is the string of words that comes after your domain name, for example here is the slug of this post:
Remember that the reason keywords are important is for humans to be able to find whatever they are searching for online. What that means is that even if you have your WP site set up to “noindex, follow” your categories, it does no harm to brainstorm in terms of keywords that people will use to find your information. Make sure to consistently create your categories so that they are visually appealing and not lowercase on some and title case on others.
The Goal Is To Get Your Category List, Just Right
This whole process brought to my mind the story of Goldilocks And The Three Bears. A young girl becomes lost, finds a cute little cabin in the woods and finds three pots of porridge. Since she is very hungry, she tries each pot of porridge. One is too cold, one is too hot, but the last one is just right.
A little analogy here: The cute little cabin in the woods is your online home. Goldilocks is your online potential blog visitor who is lost and looking for information. She finds your “home,” starts looking around, searching for something to feed her hunger. Being a curious and hungry girl, she quickly finds your blog posts. Because you used an easy-to-understand categorization list, she finds the porridge category. All of the porridge tastes good, but she finally finds the right post and the information is just right! The porridge not only tastes good, it fills the void in her tummy. She’s so happy she found your home and the porridge will not be forgotten!
[bctt tweet=”Find out how your blog categories should be like the story of Goldilocks And The Three Bears!”]
In a post on my other site, I have a creative thinking exercise that will help you determine what your top five blog categories should be. I would love it if you read the whole post, but if you want to jump right to the two exercises, scroll down to “An Analogy About Perspective.” These two exercises have never failed to reveal the Top 5 Topics your blog should be focused on.
As I stated at the beginning of this post, there are other ways to approach how to choose effective categories for your WP Blog. The main idea here is that you need to be consistent and plan your categories carefully as your blog or site will be built around these topics. Categories shouldn’t be an afterthought.
Once you learn the process that works best for you, you will be able to refine your category list faster over time. Oh, you thought that you set up your categories and then you never have to review them again? What you will learn about blogging or maintaining your site is that it will always be a work-in-progress. 🙂