The Blogger's Guide to Picking the Best Blog Categories

Louise Armstrong
by Louise Armstrong on September 5, 2013 in Website
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After you've been blogging for some time, you're likely to have a fair number of posts squirrelled away in your blog bank. They all contain valuable information that's still relevant, but getting them in front of your readers is a challenge. By grouping them into searchable categories, it's possible for users who are interested in a particular topic to access older posts without searching exhaustively through your site. Categories also impact your SEO success because most blogging platforms automatically convert them into tags, which makes them a factor in search engine categories

Set Up a Category Framework

Selecting categories isn't necessarily as simple as it sounds. You need to choose a consistent, scientific basis for grouping the posts to enable categorization to provide value for visitors. By setting up a comprehensive category framework, you can plan ahead for future posts and tailor them each to fit into a specific focus area. This way, the categories you choose will help determine the direction of your blog and develop ideas for content.

Work through your list of blog posts and note the main focus of each title. Do this on a spreadsheet so you can sort and group the data easily afterwards. Group all posts that have a similar focus together and make a final list of the focus areas. This forms the basis for your framework.

Do Your Research

Next, do some research to find out what are the most popular blog categories used by other websites in your field. Some sites use categories as a navigation option, while others require you to sort the posts by tags. Look for similarities to the categories you have used and check the most common names for your industry using a keyword research tool.

Try to find over-arching titles under which you can group smaller categories. This will help you to avoid having a list of categories that's almost as long as your list of blog posts. If you're just starting out, you can afford to be a little flexible about your categories. Creating the framework ahead of time will help you keep the posts representative of your main subject matter.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Revisit your categories and create labels that are short and to the point. One-word names are ideal, and the words used should correspond to your primary keywords or services. Limit your categories to seven or eight and make them broad enough to accommodate several posts in each.

If possible, ditch any categories that contain less than five percent of your total number of blog posts. Even on a blog that's been running for some time, certain categories will be too narrow to be viable.

Make Categories Visible

There's little point in doing all this work if you don't make your categories easy to find and to use. Think of your blog as a magazine divided into sections, with each section identifiable by a different-colored tab. Make sure your categories are in plain sight:

  • List your categories upfront at the top of your blog home page or create a drop-down sub-menu from the Blog button on your navigation.
  • Make each category name a hyperlink that delivers a list of blog titles with a common focus.

Use your category framework to help focus your future posts and ensure that each new post you write fits directly into one of the listed categories, to make it easier for readers to access the information they want.

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Louise Armstrong

Louise Armstrong

Louise is a Senior Digital Strategist at Bonafide. A pop-culture addict with a passion for all things digital. She's Scottish by birth, but don't ask if she likes haggis...