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Using Category Pages to Organize Content

Category pages are a great way to organize content: set ’em up and forget ’em. WordPress’ll do the rest.

Photo by Manchester City Library. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Like many bloggers, your post topics vary: sometimes you post memoirs. Sometimes poems, sometimes recipes replete with fun food photography. Sometimes you post drawings or free-writes from the daily writing prompt or entries into the weekly photo challenge.

Further reading:

As a blogger, you might struggle with how to organize these seemingly disparate interests on your site, as your posts accumulate in a lively stream of thought and creativity. Category pages to the rescue!

Reasons to organize

There are as many reasons to organize your posts as there are bloggers on the planet. Here are just a few scenarios:

  1. You want to be able to return to certain posts again and again simply by clicking on a menu item on your blog. For instance: you’d like to collect all your entries to the weekly photo challenge on a single page.
  2. You’ve discovered that your recipes are a big hit with your readers and draw the most traffic of all your posts. As a service, you’d like to offer your readers a way to see only your recipes without having to start another blog.
  3. You like to write about books and you want to be able to go back and see which books you read each year.
  4. You like to publish inspirational quotes and want a way to find them fast, for times when your muse is out on its unionized coffee break.

Category pages are your friend

Here’s some more information on working with custom menus.

In each of these scenarios, creating a category page allows you to display posts that share a category on the same page, whether they’re photo challenges, recipes, books-by-year, motivational quotes, or anything you wish.

Let’s use the photo challenge scenario and walk through how to create a category page. (The steps would be the same for each scenario.)

Note: it’s important that you’ve assigned the same category to each of the posts you wish to display. When we create the category page, WordPress will grab and display all the posts that share the category you choose. You might have to go back through your posts and ensure that the posts you wish to display share a category.

Prefer the classic dashboard? Here’s how to set up a category page:

  • Go to My Site(s) → WP-Admin → Appearance → Menus.
  • Select Categories → View all.
  • Check the box next to the category you’d like to add and click Add to menu, then Save menu.

To set up a category page, go to Menus and click on the plus icon. From the items on the left, click on Category, then from among your categories, click on Photo Challenges. Click on Add item:

selectmenufromcategory

Click on Save, and voilà, that’s all there is to it. You can now access all your photo challenge entries from your main menu:

categorypagemenuitems

For more information, check out the category pages support document.

What’s more, category pages keep on giving. Post a new photo challenge entry, recipe, book review or quote in the same category, and that post will appear on your category page, as if by magic, no further work needed on your part.

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  1. Hello, i know this is not related in this post but i really like to ask something.. there is a problem… my reader is not the same as others… the look isn’t the same as i see in some photos. why is that? please reply 😦

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  2. This is great, thanks! Is it possible to have posts on a category page appear in chronological order but still have them appear in reverse-chron order on the home page?

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    1. You can’t change the order of posts on a category page, though you can create a new page and use the [display-posts] shortcode to show a list of post titles that share the same category in chronological order on that page.

      Here’s a sample of the shortcode you’d use to show a list of post titles that share a category of “Photo Challenges” in chronological order on your new page:

      [display-posts category="photo-challenges" order="ASC"]

      Note the order argument takes a parameter of "ASC" which stands for ascending. The default order is descending order.

      Here’s a bit more information on the display posts shortcode and the various options it supports.

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  3. Verrrrry helpful and useful info! I utilize categories for the very reasons you mentioned and it has helped me tremendously in organizing my blog and my posts. Still a work in progress though.

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  4. This is a really helpful info for me 😀 . I’ve started blogging just awhile back. Are there any other important or useful things that i should know? Could you please help me out? 🙂

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  5. Really really needed this; thank you. Understanding how categories work and creating menus in this context is definitely not intuitive for me. All traceable back to the Parent Category of ‘Hopelessly Disorganized’. Perhaps I can now improve in this one thing! 🙂

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  6. Thanks for the great advice! I started using categories recently and I think it really helps my blog. It is also easier for me to share groups of posts with readers or even go back and find old posts I have made.

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