Our first goal as bloggers is to get people to our blog to read our posts. If you don’t have readers there is no point to your blog. Our second goal is to keep the readers reading. One way to do that is by giving your readers an easy way to find other posts that you have written. You can do that by adding plugins that show other posts, or by adding links to sneeze pages, but a very simple way to do this is by giving them categories to look in.
Why use Blog Categories?
Categories to a blog are like a table of contents to a book. They are there to help a reader easily find information. They also tell a reader what your blog is about. Once you have written your elevator pitch it’s a good idea to then look at your categories to see if they compliment the purpose of your blog. If they don’t then you probably want to update them. This actually happened to me. When I refocused on what the purpose of my blog was I found that my categories were all over the pace and weren’t helpful to my readers. Now when someone visits Rock-A-Bye Parents they can look at my categories and get a good feel about what information they’re going to find there. Many of my category pages make it into my top 10 most visited pages every day, so you can see that readers use them and you really want to have them.
How to use Blog Categories?
Every post you write has to be put into a category. If you don’t choose one then WordPress will automatically put it into an “uncategorized” category. If you’re staying focused on the purpose of your blog than every post you write should fit under a category.
There is no magic number of how many categories you should have, but you don’t want to go crazy and make a lot. If you have too many categories then they loose their purpose. Having a lot of categories also clutters up the top of your blog and it becomes hard for your reader to find what they’re looking for. You still want to have enough though. Most bloggers have anywhere from 5 to 10. Find what feels right for your blog.
Once you have your categories then you can add subcategories. Your categories should be broad so then the subcategories help narrow things down a little more. For example I have a category titled “Baby.” A lot of my posts are about babies, so then I have the subcategories of activities, books, tips, and toys.
How can Blog Categories Help SEO?
This is where the opinions of the blogging world differ. Some feel that you should only put a post in one category. It is felt that if it is listed under multiple categories then it will be seen as duplicate content by search engines and won’t rank as well. Others feel that the search engines don’t pay that much attention to the number categories and it’s better to put posts into all the categories where they fit because it will make things easier for your reader, and we certainly want that. I suppose in this case the final decision is up to you. Personally I think it’s fine to use multiple categories if it truly fits in more than one. Your post still only has one web address and that’s what matters when it comes to duplicate content. The problem with that comes when the exact same content is posted on more than one blog. To me what is important is having good category choices that fit the purpose of your blog. The search engines will notice these, and that will help them understand what your blog is about.
Categories are very important when it comes to making your blog user friendly. You want to have ones that help your reader understand the purpose of your blog, and you want them to be useful for your reader. If you remember to have ones that compliment your blog, and to not have too many, then they can be very useful.
How many categories do you have? Do you put posts under multiple categories?