I have a secret to tell you.

Well, it’s not really a secret, but it is to the hundreds of bloggers and biz owners who don’t realize that using categories in their blog can actually drive more traffic to their site.

Categorizing your blog posts will also help you rank higher in a Google search. Did you know that? Having said that, if you have everything filed under ‘Uncategorized’, I encourage you to change the name of that category.

I’ll show you how, but first, let’s take a look at how categories in your blog posts will get you more traffic, shall we? Because I’m pretty sure more traffic is what you want.

{do I need categories?}

First of all, you don’t need categories. But they certainly will help. When I first started blogging, I didn’t have any. It seemed confusing and I wasn’t in the mood to figure it out. 

Then I started to notice I was writing for a few different groups:

  • Business Owners
  • Aspiring Writers
  • Aspiring Authors
  • Creatives

categorize blog post

 

 

 

What if a business owner came to my site and wanted to read my posts on how to be an author? Or an aspiring freelance writer wanted to learn how to find paid writing gigs?

Would they leave if they couldn’t find those posts quickly enough?

I did a little reading and discovered that I was doing myself a huge disservice by not breaking my blog posts down into categories. According to Yoast.com, breaking my information down into categories gives Google a break when searching keywords, and prevents individual pages from competing with each other.

All of this was further confirmed after a discussion with a social media marketer and web designer, Melissa Ward of New Ward Development(She’s a smart cookie.)

For example, instead of Google looking all over my site for the keywords ‘aspiring writers,’ it zeros in on my Aspiring Writers archives first. Those archives should be the first result a search engine pulls up. That means those archives act as your most important landing pages.

{how many categories should I have?}

If you want to add categories to your site, it is recommended that you don’t add any more than eight. At the very least, have three.

I have four. I’m good with four.

To make those categories easy to find, I have them in two locations:
 – On my menu bar as a drop down.
 – As the first widget in my sidebar.

Make sure when you break down your blog posts into three or more categories, that the title of the category isn’t too long, and that the title relates to all the posts under that category.


categorize blog posts

Will categorizing my posts move them all around?
No. Not at all. They will continue to appear in the order in which they were originally published. All you’re doing by categorizing is giving your visitors a second option to find content in a neat and orderly fashion.

{okay, so how do I do it?}

If you want to break your posts down into categories, it’s not that difficult to do. It happens in three basic steps:

Step One
Go to Posts in your dashboard.
Click on Categories.
On the left side of the page, see Add New Categories.
Name
the category, Slug it the same as the name, and create a description that includes the name of your new category.

Do this same process with each of your categories.

categorizing your blog posts

Step Two
Go to Posts in your dashboard.
Go to All Posts.
Click Edit on the post you want to add to a category.
On the right side of each individual post, you’ll see your new categories listed.
Click on the category that best relates to your post.

Do this same process with every blog post you have published.

When I did it, I had about 60 blog posts already published. I don’t think it took me more than an hour to go through each post and categorize it.

Step Three
If you want your categories to appear as a drop down menu under Blog (or whatever you call your blog page.):
Go to Appearance and click on Menus.
See the box titled Menu Structure.
Drag the blocks titled Category under your page called Blog (or, again, whatever you call your blog page.)

 

{in a word…}

If you don’t plan on using categories and all of your posts are listed under ‘uncategorized,’ do yourself a huge favor and change that to something related to your blog. If you blog about clean eating, call your ‘uncategorized’ category ‘clean eating.’

Remember, too, creating categories makes it easier for visitors to find exactly what they want. If they can find stuff easily on your site, you can bet when it comes to looking for more information in the future, they’ll be back to see you.

 

Joleene Moody is a former television reporter and anchor turned freelance writer, blogger, and speaker, based in Central New York.
(No, not New York City. Not even close. 🙂
 )
Learn more at www.joleenemoody.com

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