Blogging Tips: Categories

This might not be the best example of a blog about blogging, or a blog to give tips on blogging. Im still a beginner. I don’t really understand all the intricacies of customising your site or how to get all my posts on it to show only the excerpts. I do like the ‘theme’ I currently have. That was a small acheivement for me when I was trying to make it all look a bit better. And yes, I did to a mini fist pump when I hit the publish button and it didn’t all go wrong. Today, given I am off work, I decided to sort out my categories. I thought it would be a good idea. It wasn’t.

Categories are important

I know this. Categories are important and I am a little jealous of the bloggers who maintain a clear focus. My blog is almost akin to life ramblings with a bit of a focus on yoga, Edinburgh living and some observations on the things I find amusing. This has meant, since I started blogging, that I have a tendency just to add another category when I think it best describes the blog. I am starting to understand the errors of my way – sort of.

So having done a little bit of research (aka google search and a blog search) I have learnt the following:

  • Choose categories well;
  • Don’t have too many categories if you want a drop down menu of categories on your site (it just looks messy);
  • You can do sub-categories to your parent categories but dont. I will probably repeat this statement somewhere below. Also see point above as sub-categories just add more drop downs to the messy list. If you like sub-categories then go ahead, just know the dangers;
  • Plan your categories; and
  • Try to stick to your categories. Avoid the temptation to keep adding to them.

How to add or change your categories

My learning would have been better done before I started to sort out my categories. But as it has been a rainy day I feel as though I have not entirely wasted the hours away. I am trying to be philisophical about this after a good two hours of getting nowhere.

So the easy bit. Bloggers on wordpress will all know how to choose and add a category on the ‘document’ menu of their blog. You go to your category tab and either tick the existing one which matches or add a new one. If you add it as a parent category, e.g. yoga, you can also add a sub-category, e.g. yoga props, and click on the parent category to add it in to the main one, e.g. yoga. Makes sense right?

If like me though you think you have too many categories (see the messy point noted above) then you might, like I did, start the job of tidying them up.

I started by thinking sub-categories were a good idea. So I went through all my posts editing them to get the right categories. I put things like ‘yoga practice’ and ‘yoga props’ under the banner (primary category) of ‘yoga’. I changed things like ‘Lifestyle’ to ‘Edinburgh lifestyle’ with sub categories below.

How to delete categories

This is a bit more tricky and took a bit of googling to figure out. You have to go into your main ‘Manage’ menu, select ‘settings’ and then go to the ‘writing’ tab. In here you click on ‘categories’ and woop de woo you can edit or delete them!

So I started deleting the ones I was no longer using. I felt quite chuffed with myself afterwards. Everything was starting to feel a lot neater and organised. Categorising is organising so this is what I should have been feeling. Right? Well….wrong. My high level of blogging smugness wore off when I went back into my ‘customise’ page and looked at the drop down menu of ‘categories’ I had put into the sidebar. It still looks messy! All the sub-categories just appear as if they were their own standalone category. So I have not reduced the size, and effectively messy, list. I have probably added to it!! This may not occur with all ‘themes’ and there might be a way to fix it on the one I am using. That level of blogging tips are beyond me at this stage.

I am, as I said, trying to be philisophical and reflective about the many (ok only two) hours I have wasted today. Today I have learnt through error. I am not going to tackle it again this evening. I will be favouring a glass of wine and a good book as my activity (I still have one more day off of work). I will however plan ahead and sort them out tomorrow…probably.

The most annoying bit about this whole thing is that I now need to add another blooming category just to categorise this post!!

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