Do you read all the blog posts? If you’re like me, you visit sites for a specific reason, be it the New York Times crossword puzzle or Outside’s latest team roundup. You know what you are looking for when you click. That frame of mind is why blog categories help readers navigate your site. But which categories should you choose? How do you name them? And what is the difference between categories and tags?
Let’s eliminate the confusion with blog category best practices that keep readers checking your content.
<h2>What is a blog category?</h2> Blog categories organize your site and allow readers to find the information they are looking for. They are high-level topics that make it easier for people to understand what your blog is about and navigate to the content that interests them. Think of it as a table of contents. Categories provide structure to your site by organizing individual posts and subtopics under various main topics. For example, imagine you have a food blog. Create recipes, write appliance reviews, and share photo tips. These main topics (recipes, reviews, photography) are the categories of your blog. But within each topic are a handful of subtopics like bread and pastry recipes, reviews of small appliances and tools, and low-light and stop-motion photography tutorials. If I'm visiting your site for dinner inspiration, I should be able to quickly click on your recipe category to see all the delicious options you have to offer. No matter what type of blog you run, the content you create must fall into one of your chosen categories.
Why blog categories are important
You put hours of work into each blog post and you don’t want it to disappear into the black hole of your files. With no blog categories defined, your content quickly disappears from view, only to be found by endless scrolling. Preventing this from happening is just one of the benefits of categories.
1. Blog categories provide easy site navigation.
A visually attractive site is incredibly important to visitors. 90% of people have abandoned a website due to poor design. Blog categories group content under a handful of topics, so people get to where they want to be fast. Some website themes limit the number of categories you can create, so be sure to keep that in mind before grouping your content.
2. Blog categories improve the SEO of the site.
Categories give you an edge in the blogging SEO game by adding hierarchy to your pages. This helps search engines better understand what each page is about and rank accordingly. If you create a category page, for example, and continue to add and link posts that are relevant to that category, it will get more and more optimized. Search engines will recognize this and increase rankings, making it easier for people to find your site.
3. Blog categories facilitate blog content strategy.
Planning an editorial calendar is not an easy task. But with well-defined blog categories, you have a guide on what to write. Your strategy can touch each category to avoid stacking one with all the content. This completes your blog and prevents you from falling into the chaos of a single category. If that’s not enough to convince you, know that 65% of the most successful American bloggers have a well-documented track record. content marketing strategy. Among the less successful bloggers, 39% admit that they have no strategy and 14% actually write a strategy.
Examples of blog categories
Each blog is unique, but it is worth seeking inspiration from others. Here are some examples of how different sites rank their content into blog categories.
Since it’s already here, let’s take a look at how this blog is organized. The main categories are Marketing, Sales, Service, and Website. But within the Marketing category, for example, there are subtopics like social media, branding, SEO, and digital marketing. Image source
Outside of their product website, Patagonia has a blog called The Cleanest Line. It is divided into the following categories: stories, movies, books, and activism. You can search further by clicking on the subtopics organized by sports such as kitesurfing, rock climbing, and trail running.
3. The New Yorker
Personally, I prefer cartoons. But The New Yorker has a lot to offer, so it classifies content into 10 categories: News, Books and Culture, Fiction and Poetry, Humor and Cartoon, Magazine, Crossword, Video, Podcasts, Archive, Continuation.
4. Joy the Baker
I could scroll through this site all day, but it’s easy to navigate thanks to five categories: Recipes, Cookbooks, The BakeHouse, Drake on Cake, and Workshops. Joy infuses her personality into the names while making it clear what it’s all about: delicious baked goods.
Blog Categories vs. Tags
Maybe you’ve grouped all your posts into one category and gone crazy to create some kind of structure. You are not the only one. The world of tags and categories can be confusing. But now is the time to learn the difference between the two so you know when to use one versus the other. While categories and tags help organize your site, you already know that categories are the top-level topics to guide readers where they want to go. Categories usually form the navigation bar or are displayed in a sidebar for people to see. The fewer categories you have, the better. This is especially important if you are running a niche blog, because it helps you stand out from the other sites in the space. There is no hard and fast rule for the correct number of categories, but most niche blogs have between three and five, while the largest sites have between five and ten categories. The New York Times has 19 categories, but they are definitely too many for most companies. The higher the number, the harder it is to stay organized. On the other hand, a tag is an indicator of what a particular post is about. It is one to three words that classify your post in a particular file. It is not usually displayed on your site, but it helps search engines find your posts. For example, this post belongs to the Marketing category, but it is also organized with a tag for Blogs so that you can easily navigate to other posts on the subject at the bottom of this post. With tags like this, our post now pops up when you’re looking for information on naming blog categories. Choosing tags is simple – start with the keywords you already plan to use for a post. If you are using a pillar / group model like we do, you might even consider naming the labels after the pillar or group under your part (s). Or just use existing words that people can type in search that relate to your post. Avoid tags with the same names as your categories to avoid overlaps. Aim for less than 10 tags per post. And don’t make up words unless it’s a strategic part of your blog or branding strategy. Now that you have a better understanding of tags and categories, it’s time for some strategic fun – choosing the category names.
Name the categories of your blog
1. Use analytics to help name your blog categories.
Choosing names for your categories starts with one important factor: analysis. Yes really. Even if your site is whimsical or totally unique, creating strong categories requires data. Which articles get the most visits, comments, likes or shares? If you know what people like about your blog, you will have a better idea of where to focus. It also helps to see which topics are not resonating with your readers, especially if you had made them a priority in the past.
2. Limit the topics you cover.
Time to narrow down the topics. There is no ideal number, but between three and five categories gives you enough breadth without being too overwhelming to manage. Some bloggers prefer five to eight categories, while news sites may have eight to ten. The number is up to you. Just consider your content, your strategy, and your time. Blog categories are meant to make writing easier, not to complicate it.
3. Be specific with the categories of your blog.
For some people, choosing names will be easy. Of course, food blogs always have a Recipes category. But this is the time to think about your unique brand and what you want to present to people. For example, the food blog Kitchen It has categories for Recipes, Holidays, Meal Planning, Learn, Shopping, and People. This site is primarily for an audience that cooks often, plans ahead, hosts holiday meals, invests in quality kitchen tools, and is inspired by celebrity chefs. Get to know your readers and listen to what they want. Just don’t be so creative that people have no idea what your content is about.
4. Be consistent in naming your blog categories.
Be consistent in style and structure. Remember how bad design scares readers? Inconsistent categories play an important role in the overall appearance of your blog, so keep them as similar as possible. This includes capitalization and the use of nouns, verbs, or adjectives. Not all categories have to be exactly the same, but you don’t want one to be a six-word question while another is a one-word noun. If your blog has been around for a few years, you may have some serious organizing to do. Blog categories are a great way to start sorting. Consider which categories your readers enjoy the most, and remove any with just a few posts. Clipping categories is not always easy. But it’s definitely worth the effort for a site that’s easy to navigate and develops a strong content strategy.