Categories

What are categories?

Tags & Categories

Tags and categories are both WordPress taxonomies that can be applied to posts (but not pages), to help you organize your site’s content by topic. If you compare your WordPress site to a book, categories are like the table of contents, and tags are like the index.

Categories typically describe the site’s main organizational divisions, and tags provide a way to follow concepts or keywords that span across multiple topics. You can use either categories or tags on your site, or both in conjunction.

  • If your site were a collection of cooking recipes, your categories might include meats, vegetables, breads and soups. You could create another set of categories that described your content along another axis- appetizers, main courses, desserts. A single post can belong to multiple categories - so you post "French Onion Soup" could belong to both the soup category and the appetizer category.

    The tags for this site might include specific ingredients (e.g. kale or milk) or dietary restrictions (e.g. vegan or gluten-free). While these concepts are important, they might not make sense as the primary organization principles for your site.

  • Often, deciding if something should be a category or tag is a blurry line, and it might come down to what extra features come along with the taxonomy.

    Category Tag
    Can be viewed as a group with other posts in the taxonomy Y Y
    Can easily be included in custom menus Y N
    Can be displayed as a sidebar widget Y Y
    Can be hierarchical (have parent/child relationships) Y N
    Can define what's included in an RSS feed Y N
    Can be sorted by date or title Y N

Making new categories

dashboard-post-cat

From the dashboard

Find "Posts" in your dashboard menu. Hover over it, and and select "Categories" from the submenu, as shown to the right.

add_cat

Name

Enter a name for your category. Keep it short, like "News" or "Blog."

Parent

Optional. Categories can have child-parent relationships, but "None" is usually fine for all but the most complex sites.

Description

Optional. In the Meerkat theme, the description will display at the top of the category page.

Click the blue "Add New Category" button.

From the post editor

You can also categorize a post that you're in the process of editing. Look for the "Categories" block (outlined in orange below) on the right side of your screen.

Click, "+ Add New Category" (see red arrow below) and type in a name in the text field that appears, then click the "Add New Category" button.

add-cat-from-post

Your post will automatically be put in the category you just created. You can see which categories a post is in by looking at which boxes are checked in the section outlined in green above. By default, all posts start as "Uncategorized". To remove a post from a category, uncheck the box next to the category name, and click the blue "Update" button to save your post.

Tools that can be used with categories

  • Category configuration - control which bits of information (such as date, author, featured image) are displayed for each category of posts, and set how posts in a category are ordered (by date, title, etc.).
  • Category posts widget - list & link to posts in a category using this sidebar widget.
  • Tag & category clouds - display all the categories on your site in a sidebar widget, showing which categories have the most posts based on how large its name is.