What is a WordPress category?
In WordPress, a category is a way to group posts about similar topics.
What is the benefit of using WordPress categories?
Applying one or more categories to a blog post helps readers determine the subject of the post. Additionally, category archives are a core function of WordPress. Category archives display all posts with the same category in one stream. This makes it super easy for readers to find all of the content that is related to their interest.
How are categories different from tags?
Categories tend to be a set of strategic terms. When creating a new blog, the main topics are determined based on the primary themes that will be covered in the posts. Categories can be very specific, but tend to be more broad and generic. Tags are more often created on-the-fly and based solely on the post that was written.
Unlike tags, categories can be hierarchical meaning they can have a parent/child relationship with one another. A single broad parent category can have several, more specific subcategories. Tags cannot be hierarchical and have no relationship to one another.
How do I manage WordPress categories?
Categories can be created, edited, and deleted in multiple ways within WordPress.
Creating a Category
Categories can be created in one of two ways.
Method 1: Categories Screen
Hover over “Posts” in the left panel of the dashboard then select “Categories.” On this screen, enter your category details in the left column then click the “Add New Category” button. You will see your new category appear in the right column.
Method 2: Post Editor
While you are editing a post, find the “Categories” section in the right panel. Click the arrow to open the section if it is closed. Click the “Add New Category” link. Fill in the category name and parent category (if applicable) then click the “Add New Category” button. You will see your new category appear in the list.
Editing a Category
Existing categories can be edited in two ways depending on the details that need to be edited. If you are only modifying the category name and/or slug you can use Method 2.
Method 1: Category Editor
Hover over “Posts” in the left admin panel then click “Categories.” Hover over the category you’d like to edit in the right column then click the “Edit” link. On the category editor screen, make your desired changes then click “Update.”
Method 2: Categories Screen
Hover over “Posts” in the left panel of the dashboard then click “Categories.” Hover over the category you’d like to edit in the right column then click the “Quick Edit” link. Update the category name and/or slug then click the “Update Category” option.
When a category is created and stored in the WordPress database it is given an ID number. This ID number is used to connect a post to a category. Therefore, even if a category name and/or slug is changed, the connection between the category item and its posts remains.
Deleting a Category
Deleting categories happens in much the same way they are edited.
Method 1: Categories Screen
Hover over “Posts” in the left panel of the dashboard then click “Categories.” Hover over the category you’d like to delete then click “Delete.”
Method 2: Category Editor
Hover over “Posts” in the left panel of the dashboard then click “Categories.” Hover over the category you’d like to delete then click “Edit.” Scroll to the bottom of the category editor and click “Delete.”
How do I assign a category to a WordPress post?
Method 1: Post Editor
When creating or editing a post, go to the “Categories” section of the right panel. Open the section if necessary and select the appropriate category(ies) by checking the box(es).
Method 2: Posts Screen
On the screen with all of the posts (click “Posts” in the left panel of the dashboard), hover over a post and click “Quick Edit.” Check the boxes next to the appropriate category(ies) then click the “Update” button.
Categories can also be assigned in bulk (to many posts at once) in this way. On the posts screen, check the box next to every applicable post. Next, select “Edit” in the “Bulk actions” dropdown then click “Apply.” Select the category(ies) that you’d like to apply to the selected posts then click “Update.”
What else can I do with WordPress categories?
You’ll also notice on the categories screen that you can search your categories. If you have a lot of categories this is certainly quicker than paging through to find the one you’re looking for.
Categories are an incredibly useful tool for managing and reading blogs. Readers can use categories to drill down to the posts that are most interesting to them. At the same time, WordPress admins can easily view and edit posts within the same category. Categories should be determined strategically to be of the most use to everyone.