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What Are Categories In WordPress? A User-Friendly Guide

By: Frederic

WordPress categories thumbnail

In the world of website management, the art of organization holds an indispensable role, and nowhere is this more evident than within WordPress. As the internet’s premier content management system, WordPress caters to a vast array of users, from bloggers and small business owners to major corporations. At the heart of this platform’s efficiency lies a seemingly straightforward yet profoundly influential concept: WordPress categories.

What are WordPress Categories?

At its core, WordPress categories are like labels for your content. They help you organize your posts into different groups based on their topics. Think of them as virtual folders where you can store similar articles, pages, or any content you create on your WordPress website.

Why Do WordPress Categories Matter?

WordPress categories are not just virtual folders or fancy labels; they’re the backbone of a well-organized and user-friendly website. Here’s why they matter:

  1. Easier Navigation: Categories make it simple for your visitors to explore your website. By clicking on a category, they can find related content, making it easier to discover articles that interest them.
  2. Better Content Management: For you, the content creator, categories help keep things organized. They act like a filing system, so you can quickly find and manage your work.
  3. Search Engine Friendliness: Search engines like Google appreciate well-organized content. When your content is neatly categorized, it can improve your website’s visibility in search results.

As we move through this guide, we’ll explore WordPress categories in more detail and give you practical advice on how to use them effectively to enhance your website’s organization and user experience. Let’s continue our journey into the world of WordPress categories.

How to Create Categories in WordPress

Let’s explore how to create and manage WordPress categories for your website:

Step 1: Navigate to Categories Under the “Posts” tab in the left-hand menu, click “Categories.”

Step 2: Create a New Category

  • Fill in the category name.
  • Optionally, customize the URL-friendly slug.
  • Create a hierarchical structure if needed.
  • Add a category description (optional).
  • Click “Add New Category.”
Add new category

Step 3: Assign Categories to Posts

  • When creating or editing a post, check the boxes next to the relevant categories.
  • Click “Update” or “Publish” to save your changes.
Assign categories

Step 4: Manage Categories

  • Edit, delete, or organize categories from the “Categories” section.

Please note that depending on the structure of your permalink, there could be changes to the URL. If you want to learn more, read our article on WordPress Permalinks.

Edit categories

How To Create Child Categories

Child categories are, in essence, subcategories that fall under a parent category. They provide a way to further classify and categorize content in a more granular manner. Think of parent categories as broader topics and child categories as specific subtopics or sub-themes related to the parent.

  1. Access the Category Section: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to “Posts” in the left-hand menu. Click on “Categories.”
  2. Set a Parent Category: While adding or editing a category, you have the option to assign a “Parent Category.” This designates the new category as a child of the chosen parent category.
  3. Adding Subcategories: After designating a parent category, any category you create subsequently can be linked as a child of the selected parent. This creates a hierarchical structure.
Add child category

Display and assign Categories in WordPress

Organizing and displaying categories on your WordPress website enhances user navigation and content discovery. In this guide, we’ll provide a step-by-step process for displaying categories in your posts, widgets, and navigation menus.

Displaying Categories on Posts with Blocks:

In this section, we’ll explore a simple method for displaying categories on your WordPress posts using blocks. Follow these quick steps to make your content categorization a breeze:

  1. Access the Post Editor: In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Posts” and select “All Posts”
  2. Block selection: In the default Gutenberg editor, you can choose between two blocks: ‘Categories’ and ‘Categories List’.
    • Categories: Display the assigned taxonomy to the post.
    • Categories List: Display a list of all categories on your website.
  3. Add block: Add the block you have chosen and place it in your post.
  4. Update or Publish: Make sure to click the “Update” or “Publish” button to save your changes.
Add block category

Displaying Categories in Widgets:

Widgets offer a convenient way to showcase your content categories. They can be placed in the middle of the post or in the sidebar. Follow these quick steps to enhance your site’s navigation:

  1. Access Widgets: In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Appearance” and select “Widgets.”
  2. Add Categories Widget: Look for the “Categories” widget in the available widgets section.
  3. Configure Widget: Click on the widget to configure its settings. You can choose the title, how to display the categories, and more.
  4. Save Changes: Click the “Save” or “Update” button to apply the widget to your site.
Add category widget

Displaying Categories in Navigation Menus:

We’ll show you how to seamlessly integrate categories into your website’s navigation menus. By following these simple steps, you can enhance user experience and facilitate intuitive content discovery. Let’s get started:

  1. Access Menus: In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Appearance” and select “Menus.”
  2. Select a Menu or Create One: Choose an existing menu or create a new one.
  3. Add Categories: In the left column, expand the “Categories” section.
  4. Check Categories: Check the categories you want to add to your menu.
  5. Add to Menu: Click the “Add to Menu” button to include the selected categories in your menu structure.
  6. Reposition Categories: You can drag and drop the categories to arrange them within your menu.
  7. Save Menu: Click the “Save Menu” button to save your changes.
Add menu category

How Many Categories Should You Have?

The ideal number of categories for your WordPress website typically ranges from 5 to 10. This balance provides diversity without overwhelming your visitors. It ensures your content is well-organized and easy to navigate. Consider using subcategories if you cover a wide range of topics.

Core Differences Between Categories and Tags

This list outlines the key differences between categories and tags in WordPress.


  • Hierarchy: Categories are hierarchical, allowing structured content organization.
  • Broad: They are used for general content topics and primary navigation.
  • SEO Impact: Categories can positively impact SEO with their structured approach.


  • Non-Hierarchy: Tags are non-hierarchical, offering flexible content labeling.
  • Specific: Tags are for specific details and user convenience.
  • SEO Impact: Tags have a smaller SEO role compared to categories.

If you want to learn more about tags and how to use them, read our article titled “What Are Tags in WordPress?

FAQ Section

Why are Categories Essential in WordPress?

Categories in WordPress play a pivotal role in organizing your content. They enhance user navigation and make your website more accessible.

Proper categorization also contributes to improved SEO by making your content more discoverable by search engines.

How to Create Categories in WordPress?

To create a category in WordPress, access your dashboard, navigate to the “Posts” section, and click on “Categories.” Fill in the category details and click “Add New Category.”

What Are Child Categories in WordPress?

Child categories are subcategories that create a hierarchical structure. For instance, you can have a parent category “Travel” with child categories “Europe” and “Asia.” This adds an extra layer of organization to your content.

How Do I Add a New Category to My Post?

When creating or editing a post, you can add a category by checking the box next to the relevant category in the post editor. This assigns the post to the chosen category.

How to Display Categories on My Website?

You can display categories on your website using widgets or blocks. In the WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Widgets” in the “Appearance” section. Add the “Categories” widget to display category lists. Alternatively, use blocks within your post or page content to showcase categories.

what’s the difference between WordPress categories and tags?

– Hierarchy: Categories are hierarchical, allowing structured content organization.
– Broad: They are used for general content topics and primary navigation.
– SEO Impact: Categories can positively impact SEO with their structured approach.

– Non-Hierarchy: Tags are non-hierarchical, offering flexible content labeling.
– Specific: Tags are for specific details and user convenience.
– SEO Impact: Tags have a smaller SEO role compared to categories.

Mastering WordPress Categories: Elevating Your Website

In our exploration of WordPress categories, we’ve unlocked the key to a well-organized, user-friendly, and SEO-optimized website. Categories serve as the labels that give your content structure and meaning, benefiting both visitors and content creators.

We’ve covered the basics of what WordPress categories are and how they’re essential for site navigation, content management, and SEO. We’ve provided step-by-step guidance on setting up categories, creating hierarchies, and displaying them on your site. Utilizing categories in post URLs further enhances navigation and SEO.

If you found this article interesting, don’t miss our article about website maintenance. Discover the importance of keeping your website healthy and the costs it incurs in 2023. Read our article on Website Maintenance.