Organising your Blog with Categories

Sometimes when I come across new blogs on the net I find that they can be a little bit hard to get into. Maybe it’s the frequency they post or how they seem to jump between topics, but if they have nicely laid out categories it can really help a new reader. Here are some of my tips for categories.

Pick your Category Titles carefully

You need your categories to be identifiably different, they these can serve as an easy way for a new visitor to read all your posts on a certain topic X. Maybe that is the reason they came to your blog was because of a post on this same topic, and it is quite likely that they want to read more of your work on X. Having names that lend themselves to an easy explanation of a category will help visitors, new and old to find what they want on your blog.

show similar posts with categories

Using your categories correctly

A category serves as an index for your posts, in this blog, my tips category has tips for blogging, while my AdSense category has posts to do with AdSense. Simple, n’est pas ? (french for isn’t it). Where things can heat up is that when I have a post that covers two or more categories. This is where you need to think does this post actually fit in more than one category, if it does, then put it in. You do want to avoid having your posts in too many categories, I normally have in my mind that three categories is more than enough.

Be consistent when picking categories

When you are picking what category/categories a post should go into you need to be consistent. If it is similar to a post you wrote before , clearly it should be in that category. If you are writing about a completely new topic, maybe you could put it under the category “other” or “miscellaneous” rather than creating a new topic. If you find yourself adding many posts into this category I would analyze if there is a need to add a new category. Once you add a new category, I would give a scan back and check to see if any of the old posts should be move from “miscellaneous” to the new category.

How many categories should I use ?

This really depends on the type of blog, and how many different topics your posts touch. I would try to be more vague or general about topics, rather being specific.

Example : You could use the category “Google” when referring to search engine listings , adsense problems, adwords problems etc.

Rather than having a unique category for each. As a rule of thumb, I would say you should have between 10 and 20 categories, but again there are exceptions to the rules. If you think you can use one category title instead of two, then I would use one.

Blog Categories Overview

So how many categories does your blog have ? You should ask yourself these questions every now and again:

  1. Are you unhappy with the number of categories ?
  2. Do you think it’s too high ?
  3. Do you think it’s too low ?
  4. Are there some categories you only rarely use ? (less than 5%)
  5. Do some categories that have more than 50% of your posts

If you find that you have answered “yes” to one or more, then maybe you should revise your category arrangements.

Finally I would like to wish everyone a happy Labor day today!

5 thoughts on “Organising your Blog with Categories

  1. I don’t like blogs with over 15 categories. It seems like its too much to me. I like having around 10 that seems like a nice round numebr lol. nice post 🙂

  2. Thanks Shaun. I think the numbers of categories can be a personal choice, but less is certainly more. Also for a new blog I think people should keep it lower too.

  3. Yeah 10-12 categories are enough and if you pour the posts literally in each of these categories then it’s better to have different RSS feed for each of the categories. I liked this idea at Matt Cutts’ blog.

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