How to create categories in WordPress

Creating parent categories and sub-categories is essential to effectively organizing your content, creating menus, and getting readers where they need to go as they navigate your site. This article discusses the various ways you can create and edit categories.


A FEW TIPS:

  • Don't forget: Categories and Pages are NOT the same thing. In WordPress, a page refers to a static page of information.
  • When building categories, it's important to think clearly about your content verticals, and what you want your site to be known for. Categories directly impact your SEO, because they give Google more information on what you write about, and what you are an expert on. Keep this in mind as you create and edit your categories! 
  • Generally, you don't want to create categories for singular topics, like you would for an index. For example, if you're writing a beauty post about your favorite lipsticks, "Product Reviews" is a stronger category label than "Lipsticks." 
  • A good rule of thumb: If a friend asked you, "What do you blog about?" your answer should closely align with your parent categories. So if the response is, "I blog about fashion and beauty," you can probably guess what your first two parent categories should be! 
  • Psst — don't forget, categories and tags aren't the same. When in doubt, use a category!

CREATING NEW CATEGORIES FROM THE CATEGORY PANEL

Categories have their own panel/environment in WordPress, to help you easily manage existing categories, and add new ones.

1. To access the Categories panel, go to Posts > Categories from your WordPress dashboard.

2. To add a new category, use the prompts and fields on the left to type in the new category name. If it's a sub-category, you can designate its parent. Once you're satisfied with your entry, click Add New Category. That's it!


EDITING EXISTING CATEGORIES FROM THE CATEGORY PANEL

1. As your content changes, or as you get a better sense of your SEO strategy, you may wish to update your category names in the future. To do this, navigate to Posts > Category. Locate the category you wish to update, hover over it, and then click on the Edit link. 

2. In this example, suppose we want to update the category "Design" to the slightly more specific "Home Design." In the editing screen that loads, simply update the category name. If you'd prefer, you can also update the "slug," i.e., how the category will appear in a URL. Keep in mind that if you update the slug, it may break links to old categories. You can use the Redirection plugin to track dead links, and set up redirects.


APPLYING CATEGORIES AND TAGS TO A NEW POST

If you've already set up a few categories, this part is easy! When writing a blog post, simply  check off which categories you want to apply to the post in the panel on the right side of your WordPress post editor. Just below, you should also see a space to list out tags. If you're using them, separate all your tags with a comma. Here’s a visual example:

Thought of a new category on the fly? If you don’t have a category already created for the post you’re writing, simply click on  + Add New Category, and type your category. You can also designate whether this new category is a parent, or should have an existing parent category assigned.