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How to Set Up Categories in WordPress (Beginner's Guide)

How to Set Up Categories in WordPress

Categories are a classic option to organize the contents of your website. They guide users to specific areas of interest and enable easy navigation. Here’s how to set up categories in WordPress (beginner’s guide).

What is a Category

By definition, a category is a group of contents in your website that contains a similar topic or characteristic. That group of contents, for example, could be your blog posts, your podcast episodes, or your video tutorials. A category can be used to group any type of content.

How does it enable easy navigation? When people visit your website, they may see those categories displayed in various locations. You can showcase categories in:

  • Menu – Remember that you can set different items as your website menu option. Among which are tags, posts, and categories. When you click the “Podcast” option in our menu, for example, you will find all the episodes of our show stored in one location.
  • Blog posts – When someone views your blog, categories may appear just right under the name of the author or under the specific post’s title. The location of the categories could depend on the theme that you’re using for your WordPress website.
  • Sidebar – There might be times when you’d want to provide a table of categories for easy access to your users. You can do that by going to the “Widgets” area under “Appearance” in your admin dashboard and drag “Categories” to your Sidebar widgets.

In short, categories: 1) Are used to organize any type of content; 2) Can be used as a Menu option; 3) Can be displayed by website owner /seen by website user at different locations; 4) May also be arranged in a table.

What do people see when they click on a category? There are basically four things:

  • Name or title – You may choose to customize your category name to be more specific with your content. A category of philosophical articles on your website, for example, may be named as “Think Tank” or you may leave them with the generic title of “Articles.”
  • Description – What is the category for? You may provide a brief description or choose to provide none at all.
  • Slug – This is the readable part of your URL that comes after your domain (.com, .org, .net, etc.). When people click a category or a specific content on your website, they will know where the content belongs by looking at the address bar of their browsers.
  • Posts – This generally refers to all the contents listed under the category. They typically appear below the category title.

Steps to Create a Category

It’s easy as 1-2-3-4-5. First, log in to your WordPress website account. Hover over “Posts” at the left panel of your admin dashboard.

From your dashboard, do the following:

  1. Click “Categories”.
  2. Under “Add New Category”, fill in the name of the category.
  3. If it is a subcategory, which means it is under a bigger topic or group of contents, select the parent category (big group) it falls under. If it is a parent category, there is no need to take action on the “Parent Category” option.
  4. Fill in a short description (optional).
  5. Click the “Add New Category” button at the bottom. And voila! You just created a new category for your website.
How to Set Up Categories in WordPress (Beginner's Guide)

Photo Courtesy of WordPress

The new category will appear in the list that is on the right side of the Categories area.

To use it, create a post in your website and tick on the particular category you want to use. You can also create a new category on the post itself by clicking on the “Add Category” option inside the Category box.

Four things to note when creating categories in WordPress:

  • Each category should be unique. No two categories can have the same name. Otherwise, it will be difficult to identify the difference between the items that fall under them.
  • You can be creative when naming your categories. You may consider giving them a touch of your brand personality.
  • In each of your posts, make sure to tick on the category that best suits the topic. You can have more than one category for a post.
  • If your chosen category is a subcategory, WordPress will automatically tick its parent category. This provides your website users with a wider choice of similar topics to view.

Steps to Edit a Category

As you move along with your website, you may find it necessary to make specific adjustments on your categories. It could be because you need to rebrand or simply because you want to.

To edit, do the following:

  1. In your admin dashboard, hover over “Posts” at the left panel and click “Categories”.
  2. Refer to your list of categories available and hover over the specific category you want to edit.
  3. Click “Edit” under the category name. It will take you to an area where you can make the necessary adjustments.
  4. Once you’re done, click the “Update” button at the bottom. And voila! That is all you need to do.

Should you want to delete a category, simply click the “Delete” button under the category name. An alternative is to tick the box beside the name and choose “Delete” in the “Bulk Actions” box at the top of the list, and click “Apply”. It will remove all the categories you ticked.

How to Set Up Categories in WordPress (Beginner's Guide)

Photo Courtesy of WordPress

Deleting a category, however, does not necessarily delete the posts that fall under it. The posts will simply go to the default category.

The default category does not have a box beside its name. It also does not give you the option to delete it. But, you can edit it just like the others.


Categories in WordPress are easy to manage and adjust especially if you are clear with what your website is about and what it aims to achieve. They help guide your website user to which topics to browse or which content groups to explore.

When creating or editing categories in WordPress, you may ask yourself: 1) Why should I create this category? 2) Will this category deliver the purpose I want to achieve for my website? 3) Where is the best place for me to display the categories I created?

Remember that categories in WordPress exist to help users navigate your website easily. Consider sparing some time to plan and improve your content using them.

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