One thing that can make or break your navigation is you categories. When you first create your blog you should draw out a road map for your categories. If you do this they will not get out of hand. But even if you didn’t start out with a category map you can still tame your categories.
How many Categories?
You should try and have between 5 to 10 top categories for your blog. More than this and they become too overwhelming for your reader. You want to use this great tool to help your readers navigate your site. If you give them too many choices they will get overwhelmed.
Limiting your categories will also help make sure you are keeping within your niche. If you don’t have a category that fits your post are you writing off topic. Though you know my feelings about niche blogging. If you are a niche-less blogger, limiting your categories will help make sure your readers can navigate to what they are most interested in reading about.
You can have sub categories also. I don’t expect if you are writing a food blog to not want break down so your readers can read by meal of the day, ingredients, season. But make sure you create a tiered road map for your readers.
Craft Blog: Paper Crafts, Crocheting & Knitting, Sewing, Home Crafts, Kid Crafts
Food Blog: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sides, Desserts, Snacks, Beverages, Holiday (create subcategories)
Parenting Blog: Pregnancy, Baby, Toddler, Preschooler, Grade School, Middle School, High School
Beauty Blog: Fashion, Accessories, Makeup, Hair, Trends
Tag or Category or Subcategory?
As you are creating your road map for your blog now is the time to start thinking about the differences between categories, sub categories, and tags.
A category is a main theme that you share throughout your blog. You may post a article in a category about once a week or more. (Food Blog Example: Holiday)
A subcategory is related to it’s parent category but is a bit more specific. You may write an article in a sub category about once a month. (Food Blog Example: Holiday>Christmas)
A tag is a word that if someone was searching for something very specific. You may write about it once in a while, very rarely. (Food Blog Example: Cranberries)
Make your Categories Make Sense
It used to be popular on blogs to make your categories cute and fun names like Made with Love. But “Made with Love” could be anything and it will not help your new readers to know what they are going to read under this category. Make sure that if someone is new to your blog they would be able to instantly recognize what they could read under each category.
Great Examples of Category Use
Mashable is a great example of how to map out your categories and how to use subcategories.
1st Web Designer shares how you can create a visual category menu to help guide your readers where they want to go.
Your Homework & Free Printable PDF
Now it is time for you to site back and brainstorm your blogs categories and sub categories. If you are just starting your blog now is the time to really plan out your blog.
If you have a preexisting blog it will be a little harder and take a little work to move some things around, but I promise the end result will be worth it!
Are your categories organized? How do you feel about the navigation of your blog?