How To Reorganize Your Blog Categories

If you’re anything like me, your blog’s category structure was evolved over time and got to be a bit of a mess. You write a new post and think, “Well, this doesn’t seem to fit anywhere, so I’ll just make a new category.” Next thing you know, you’ve got an unwieldy list of categories. Some are too general and are loaded with posts while others have barely anything to them. The solution is to reorganize. But, how?

If you’re anything like me, your blog’s category structure was evolved over time and got to be a bit of a mess.

You write a new post and think, “Well, this doesn’t seem to fit anywhere, so I’ll just make a new category.” Next thing you know, you’ve got an unwieldy list of categories. Some are too general and are loaded with posts while others have barely anything to them.

The solution is to reorganize. But, how?

Developing Your Category List

Before you start doing anything, you need to develop your list of categories. This step can take some time and thought, but is important.

Take a bird’s eye view of what you are writing by looking into your own archives. Also, consider your future plans for the content direction of your blog. Begin creating a list of categories which fit what you’re doing.

You may find you can keep some of the ones you have. You may need to create new ones.

At this point, just write them down.

My suggestion is to try to use a minimum number of categories. Large lists are unwieldy. Blog readers don’t really make much use of categories when searching your blog (in most cases). Plus, if you need a long list of categories, you might need to question the content direction of the blog. You may be trying to cover too much.

In most cases, you can thin your category list down to less than 10. There is no need to get extremely granular about your categories. It just makes everything more difficult.

Setting Up The New Category Structure

If there are any brand new categories in your new structure, add them now. If there are any existing ones that you simply want to rename, do that. If any of your categories have zero entries, delete them.

Next, you’ll need to reorganize existing posts into your new category structure. For this, I recommend using the Batch Categories plug-in for Wordpress. The plug-in is a little bit old, but still works.

Using the filter criteria in this plug-in, you can go through your existing posts and shuffle them into your new category structure as you see fit. It is pretty convenient, actually. For example, select a category you are going to delete to pull up all the posts in that category. Then, under “Actions”, you’ll choose the category you want to add things to. Below, check off the posts you want to move over and press the “Add Selected Posts” button. Then, to remove those same posts from the  old category location, you select the old category and hit “Remove Selected Posts”.

Batch Categories ‹ David Risley dot com — WordPress

Once you’re done shuffling posts, then of course go back and delete the old categories that are no longer part of your category tree.

Sometimes you may have posts which are assigned to multiple categories. Fixing that with the Batch Categories plug-in is possible, but tedious. Again, that plug-in is a bit old, so it lacks some of the conveniences. So, you may also find it easier in some cases to simply go to your post list, filter by category, then use the “Quick Edit” to shuffle individual posts.

Good luck with reorganizing categories. It isn’t exactly a fun procedure and can take up some time (depending on how many posts you have), but it can be well worth it when it comes to simplicity on your blog.

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Responses

  1. Interesting plugin and wise advice
    I have gotten to many catagories and need to re-organize the posts in them
    Will the plugin cause any permalink problems?
    If it will I shall stay as I am

  2. I took my sidebar widget class til I see how clean things up because I randomly did not want anyone I was there. I really need to get in gear on this though, because my target market and they want new bloggers / to a simple, organized fashion should be able to access information.

  3. I have a relatively more basic approach. This isn't for everyone, but I take a list of the posts I've done, place it in a pad, and then try to break the list down into categories. This however only works for posts having only one category

  4. for me I have everything broken into 5 categories, then I have 20 tags or as I call them topics. I use all in one seo to nofollow the categories and to follow the tags. Works good for me, and yes categories and tags can become a bit of a mess if you don't plan ahead.

  5. David, my RSS feed is listing posts that require a subscription.

    Do you really need to resort to that trick to get subscribers?

  6. For me, I just make categories depending on what I think are essential to getting to the end of the journey. I feel as if making sub categories and such topics are un-necessary and just clutter up your blog. If I felt that it was important enough, it wouldn't be a sub-category, now would it? I have about 7 categories, all of which are essential to blogging/websites.

  7. Fantastic Reference Post David, and really timely too. My blog is starting to fill quickly with content and I am finding the categories starting to get a little hectic. I will check this plugin out. Any tips on the URL? I create a post and put it in two or three categories, but how do I choose which one specifically will be in the URL?

  8. brilliant, david! i have too many categories in my blogs. i never thought of starting out with listing what categories i wanted to have to begin with! this would make my blogs more organized, and give readers a direction to go in — and a quick way to find what they are looking for! thanks for a great post! i will try it! 🙂 your information is always very valuable!
    krissy knox
    follow me on twitter:
    http://twitter.com/iamkrissy

  9. I'm not a big fan of multiple categories per post. For sheer simplicity, it seems to make much more sense to just to generalize a post into a single category or tag. This simplicity allows users to navigate through the hierarchy of your website easier (people like easy).

  10. Is it a good idea to also include the category in your permalink? Or does that not matter a lot?

    Brandon

  11. Was thinking about this a few weeks ago and wondered how I would pull it off. I want to have no more than 6 categories. thanks for this, man. 🙂

  12. Keeping categories to a relevant minimum is key to an organized user friendly blog. I only use six at the moment, but am often tempted to add so many more.

  13. Boy do I need this post. My categories built up willy nilly and no longer show any relationship to the direction of my blog. I didn't even want to think about fixing it. Now I see the path. Just need to schedule some time to do it.

  14. David, makes sense to me, I know your right. Guilty as charged, just checked and found 18 labels, sounds like a little compression is in order. I would have to say that this will narrow or should define my blog.
    Thank you.

  15. I'm a newer blogger and my categories are already a mess. I took the category widget off my sidebar til I clean things up because I didn't want anyone seeing how disorganized I was. I really need to get in gear on this though because my target market is newer bloggers and they want/need to be able to access information in an easy, organized fashion.

  16. I try to keep categories to a minimum, I have 4 right now. I prefer to use tags to “fine tune” the content. But even then I try to only use 2-3 tags per post, and one category (unless it is video, then I have that category added too).

    The way I see it, I can put everything I write about under one of 3 categories, it makes it simple and focused…

  17. Yeah, it's the small and painful parts I hate paying attention to.
    I don't even bother to categorize my old posts – the most important ones get featured on my best-of page.
    And my maximum is 3 categories – anything above that will just be confusing and complicated.
    It's not really that important to me.

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