Quick Tip: Perform a category audit on your website

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Bloggers seems to straddle the line between journalist and librarian. This week, cater to the librarian side.

Categories and tags are the standard way of organizing content on WordPress websites. But if we’re not careful, our methods can run out of control and stop being useful. Let’s regain our focus and spend some time cleaning up our categories and tags.

First, delete the taxonomical clutter

How many categories do you have on your blog?

Open up your categories and tags, and start by looking at post counts. The easiest way to find which categories and tags are needed least is to find those with a post count of zero. Delete them.

Then look for categories and tags with post counts less than ten. Can any of them be combined? The easiest way to combine two categories or tags into one is to first search for them on the Edit Posts screen, and Bulk Edit them to re-assign the tags and/or categories. Then delete the category or tag you’re getting rid of.

Rethinking your approach to classification

There are plenty of ideas on how to use these taxonomies. In most cases, though, categories should be used as mile-high classifications.

On WPCandy, we have a few taxonomies in place. Categories on this site are our top-level content types: news, opinion, features, etc. Think sections in a newspaper.

Along with tags, we also employ the custom taxonomies “People”, “Companies”, “Events”, and “Places”. This way we can treat the main post tags as topics and not for everything under the sun.

How do you use categories and tags?

I found my own inspiration for approaching content categorization from Stijn Debrouwere’s column from earlier this year. How do you use categories and tags on your website? What works for you?