Getting your blog categories organized should be a straight forward task, but too many people seem to get confused when structuring their categories, hence why I decided to expand the topic. Below you will find 5 practical tips for organizing and making your categories more efficient:
1. Category names must be descriptive: your categories should orient even first time visitors across your blog. An old time reader will certainly know that under the category “Uncle John” there will be all your posts containing Windows XP tips coming from your uncle John Smith who works at Microsoft, but I will not! The categories tell a lot about your blog, and when readers can not figure what is going on around them it is very likely that they will just skip the blog altogether.
2. Limit the total number of categories: there is a reason why this is called “categoriy” and not “every single post that was written on this blog”, meaning that you should not create a new category for every other post that you are writing. Every blog should have a defined structure and a set of categories to support the topics of the posts, once you have that basic structure in place just fill the posts inside the existing categories, creating a new category should be done rarely and only when it is really necessary.
3. Make sure they fit in 1 screen: if you ask me how many categories your blog need the answer would probably be: it depends (no shit). Some blogs will work well with few categories, others will need 10 or even 20, just make sure that all the categories fit in one screen. Why? Because it is damn annoying to have to scroll down to see the complete list. Imagine I am trying to figure where a specific post was placed, once I get at the bottom of your categories I will probably have already forgotten what was on the top…
4. Try to put posts inside one category only: as a rule of thumb every time I write a post I try to place it inside one category only. I am opposed to monthly archives and to calendars (because the time when the content was written is not relevant) so the only way my reader has to find posts is through the categories. Guess what, if I placed posts inside multiple categories the reader would find the same posts over and over again, which is not cool, to say the least. Exceptions can be made when a certain post really touches more than one category, but those situations are more rare than what most people seem to think.
5. Display the number of posts inside each category: if your blog platform allows you to display the total number of posts inside each category do it. This feature will make sure that the reader knows what to expect when he clicks a certain category, and it also gives a general orientation about the most discussed topics on your blog.