Categories VS Tags | How to Make Your First Website with WordPress (Part 10/17)

By the end of this video, you’ll have a category structure outlined for your posts and you’ll know if you need to use tags. Let’s get started. Most WordPress users get confused about how to best use categories and tags on their site, so I thought I should dedicate a whole video to this topic. Here’s the first thing you need to know: your website needs to use categories and if you create a solid category structure for your site, you probably won’t need tags. If I had to guess, I’d say 100% of WordPress sites use categories and only 1% use tags. To see a great use of categories, let’s visit The Guardian. Take a look at the menu where they link to their primary categories: news, opinion, sport, culture, and lifestyle. Every single article The Guardian publishes fits into one of these five categories and that’s rule number one for creating an excellent category structure. Every post should fit obviously into one category. Once you create a rough outline of your categories, come up with 10 example post titles and try to fit each one into your categories. If a post doesn’t fit into any of them, then you might need an additional category. Alternatively, if a post fits into more than one category or if there’s any debate about which one it should belong to, then you need to make your categories more specific. You should try to have around three to five categories. It’s not a big deal if you have six or seven, but it might be a sign that you need to rethink the categories you have. The Guardian publishes a huge amount of content every single day, so if they can fit every post into five categories than so can you. Now let’s return to The Guardian, and watch what happens when I click on the More button. This reveals each categories subcategories. The Sports category is the most illustrative with common sense subcategories like Soccer and Tennis. Tennis is a type of sport, so it fits very naturally into the Sports category. Start with three to five parent categories and then you can use subcategories to further refine your categories when needed. This will keep your content organized and easy for visitors to navigate, and that brings me to the next point. The only functional difference between categories and tags is that categories can have hierarchies and tags cannot. In other words, you can create subcategories or even sub-sub ategories if you want, but there’s no such thing as subtags. This makes tags too limiting as the primary means of organizing your site’s content. In practice, you likely won’t need tags at all, but if you decide to use them, just make sure to plan them out and advanced too, just like you do with your categories. Sometimes bloggers make up new tags for posts as they publish them, and honestly it makes their site really annoying to navigate. Imagine seeing an interesting tag and clicking on it just to find a page that only lists the post you already read. Then imagine that happening again and you’ll probably never click on a tag again. It’s an aggravating experience for your visitors and while we’re not going to cover this in detail, it’s also really bad for search engine optimization. Log into your WordPress dashboard and hover over the Posts menu and you’ll see the Categories and Tags menus here. Click on the Categories menu and on this page you can use the right side to review your existing categories, including how many posts are published in each one. And on the left side is where you’ll add new categories. In the name field, type out “News.” The slug is just like a permalink, so we’ll type “news” and all lowercase. This isn’t a subcategory, so you can skip the Parent Category selector and then in the description you can write out “News and announcements posts about…” And then the name of your brand. Lastly, click the Add New Category button to create this new category. Click on All Posts to visit the Posts menu, and click on the announcement post you just filled out in the last video. Open up the Categories section and check off the News category box, and then uncheck the Uncategorized category. I’ll click the Update button now, but since your post is unpublished, you would click the “Save draft” button at the top instead. Like I was saying in the last video, categorizing this post is tough because it’s probably unlike your other posts. For this reason, I think it’s nice to have a single news category that you can use anytime you want to tell people what’s happening behind the scenes with your site. If I visit my post and then scroll to the end of the content, you’ll see that it now links to the News category, and if I click on the link, it will bring me to the News category archive,which includes the category name and description here, and then lists every post I’ve published in the News category. Now that you understand how to best use categories and tags on your site, you’re ready to move on from content creation to adding new functionality with plugins. I think you’ll really like this next video and I’ll see you there.

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