Categories & Tags in WordPress

Categories & Tags are used to keep your content organized. 

Categories & Tags are used to keep your content organized.  Categories allow you to organize your posts into one or more topics or groups of related articles.  Making it easy for your Users to find the content they are looking for. Categories are used for the main topics on your website. Try to look at them as like a storage bin.

Note: This post is from our WordPress Beginner Tutorials Series on YouTube. 

Categories are hierarchical, they are able to have subcategories to sort out posts. Tags are used to further fine-tune categories and are broken down into specific niches.  Try to think of tags as dividers you put in those bins to better sort the contents.

Images showing WordPress tags & categories

Let’s say you are building a website about drums. You have things like drum sticks, skins/drum heads, a sizzle cymbal, tuning keys, ride cymbal, splash cymbal, cymbal stands, throne, crash cymbals, foot pedals, snare drum stand, drum rug, bass drum, toms, floor toms, snare, acrylic drum shield, and hi-hats.

You would have one category and call it “Drum Set” and put the ride cymbal, splash cymbal, crash cymbals, bass drum, sizzle cymbal, toms, china cymbals, floor toms, snare and hi-hats under it.

Then a sub category called “Accessories” and you could have drumsticks, skins/drum heads, tuning keys, cymbal stands, throne, foot pedals, acrylic drum shield, snare drum stand, drum rug.

We have several different cymbals. The different types are: ride, splash, hi-hat, crash, sizzle and china. For these we would use tags instead of creating another subcategory. The reason for not creating a subcategory is because it would only have one thing in it, because it’s so niche.

If we really wanted too, we could create another subcategory for cymbals and then list all the different cymbals as tags.  That’s really not necessary but it is all about how you want to organize everything.

There are two ways of creating categories and tags

 First, login to your WordPress Dashboard. Once you are logged in, from your dashboard hover your cursor over posts on the side panel. In the flyout you will see “All Posts”, “Add New”, “Categories” and “Tags”.  Click on “Categories”.

From the Categories panel you can add, edit or delete Categories. I already went in here and created some Categories. To create a Category enter in a name. You will see the slug field below it. A slug is the web address for the Category. You can leave it blank and WordPress will enter one in for you.  If you decide you want to add one yourself, it should only contain letters, numbers, hyphens and all in lowercase. You can also add a Category Description.  Then click the Add New Category button to add your Category.

You can even add sub categories. Just enter the name, the slug if you are  going to name it yourself. Then, in the parent directory drop-down select a category to use as the parent directory.  Click the Add New Category button. Keep in mind when you add new posts and assign them to a Subcategory they will automatically be added to its Parent Category.

To manage categories, just hover your cursor over the Category and you can edit, quick edit, delete or view it.  When clicking on “edit” it will take you to the settings page where you can edit the name, slug, parent and description.  Click the update button once you are through making your changes.

The “quick edit” will allow you to edit the name and slug without going directly to the settings page. When you are done click the “Update Category” button.

When you click the delete link, it will trigger a popup asking you if you are sure you want to permanently delete this Category. Click OK to follow through, otherwise you can cancel it.

When you click the “view” link, it will take you to the category archive page. This page will list all articles filed under this category. When viewing a category you can edit it by clicking the “Edit Category” on the quick access toolbar at the top of the page.

If we go back into Categories, you will see the Bulk Action menu, it allows you to do a mass delete. Just check off the Categories you would like to delete. Select “delete” from the bulk action drop down menu and click Apply.  

If you have a long list and need to find a category. A quick way is by using the “Search Feature” at the top right.

The second way of creating Categories and Tags is by going to the Categories and Tags panel when creating or editing a post.  In the panel you can view a list of all the categories or you can choose from a handy list of most used Categories.

Hand cupping a WordPress Logo of the "W"

To add a new Category. Make sure you have the “All Categories” tab selected then click on the text link “Add New Category”

Then enter in a name. IF this is going to be a subcategory make sure you select a Parent from the Parent Category drop down menu. Then click the “Add New Category” button.

To add new Tags, go down to the Tags Panel and start adding Tags you would like to add to your Post.  If you are entering more than one Tag at a time make, sure you separate each word with a comma. Click the Add button to add them. Your post will now be Tagged with the keywords you have entered.

Just like with Categories, clicking on a Tag will take a user to an archive page showing all posts filed under that particular tag.  The quick access bar can be used to make a quick edit of that tag if it is needed.

You can also edit tags by hovering your cursor over Post in the left hand side menu and then click on tags in the flyout.  At the top of the tag subpanel is the Tag Cloud which will show all the tags you are using and the most popular ones will be in a larger font.

Tags can be created like Categories by entering in a name, slug, and description. When you hover over a Tag it will also bring up the options to Edit, Quick Edit, Delete and View.  You can also delete multiple Tags by using the bulk action menu.

This post is from our WordPress Beginner Tutorials Series on YouTube. 

Thanks for reading!

Drew & the WebStop.net Crew

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