Organizing Using Subcategories

Here is the hairy beast–applying our new structure to the actual blog, wrangling with WordPress’s categories and sub-categories.  Restructuring categories can be tedious but rewarding work.  Here are some tips and tricks.

The Horrible, Tedious Job of Reconfiguring Categories and Why It’s a Good Idea

OMG.  I started with fifteen unruly top level categories.  Now I want to have three top level categories and seventeen sub-categories.  Why three?   If I use three, then I can continue to use my existing theme–and have room for the start page I want to create.

In this theme (Entrepreneur) the top menu list has room for the “home” menu plus four other top level menu items.  With everything nested into three top categories, people can easily look at the latest content in those categories by clicking on the menu choices.  Three top categories means I can easily set up a menu system with fewer tears of frustration–and have room for a start here page too!

This will simplify the blog re-design considerably.

The other consideration: Search engine crawlers will like my site a bit better–and conceivably I can inch up in the SEO ranks.   The seventeen sub-categories nest under the big top categories –and it will be so much easier for me to be more consistent in how I bin (categorize) my posts.  Both audiences and search engines will appreciate this.

Blog Re-Organization. Yet Again.

I’m only in my third month of blog creation this go-round–but this has been by far the most fun blog yet, at least as fun as back in the Olden Days.  I have just concentrated on writing every day and developing my writer’s voice. Whatever interests me, I write about–and yes, some things seem to have dropped entirely off the table at times. But I will get back to them. The most important thing when beginning a blog is to learn to write consistently and regularly, every single day if you can. My current goal is to write SOMETHING, every day, for the first 100 days.

In the 77 days since I started this blog, I’ve published 83 posts.  

I couldn’t do this if I slavishly worked on an idea (like whether Tailwind is worth the money or emphatically not even worth the time) until I had some definitive answer.  This is a blog, not a book.  It’s an evolutionary writing experiment.  Sometimes it’s going to wander about and not make sense. It’s like a literary shaman’s quest.

Around day 45, I had to take stock and seriously reconfigure the blog THEN.  This post here takes us through how to edit categories.   I’m assuming that you know about how to configure your categories (and if you don’t, that post I just mentioned will get you set up on that).   SO here I am today, yet again, reconfiguring categories but this time with 83 posts (and over 20 posts sitting in the drafts folder).

Applying a New Structure

Having taken my time and carefully created a database to figure out a structure, I know what I want to do.  I am creating a structure where every post has a top-level category and at least one, no more than two, sub-categories.   Some of these categories are new, other categories are simple changes to existing categories.   All of them are going to involve a set of very repetitive choices to maneuver through the menus to where we work with categories.

Creating New Categories and Sub-Categories with the Category Editor

(1)  Go to Settings;
(2) Choose the “Writing” tab
(3) Pick Categories

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After you choose Categories, then you’ll get this–your categories and sub-categories, and the number of posts associated with that category.

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Adding a new category is the easiest thing to do.  It’s right up at the top.

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Next, you’ll get this screen.  You can just add the new category name.

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Adding a subcategory requires that you uncheck the “top level” checkmark (above) and select a parent category from the list. You can only choose one parent category for a sub-category. However, the parent categories can have any number of “child” sub-categories.

Editing Existing Categories

The next easiest fix is changing the name of a category.  If all the posts in an existing category are still okay but the name now needs to be different, then all we have to do is:

(a) Go to the category whose name is to be changed.
(b) Click on the three dots in a row.  This will change them to three dots on top of one another like so:

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(c) Choose Edit.

You can tell how many posts are associated with a category by the tiny number in a circle near the three dots. If that number is zero, then that category has no posts using it.

If a category has no posts, then the next easiest thing to do is to delete it.  You can just delete a category, but you run the risk of having that post have NO categories associated with it– which is not good.

If ALL of the posts in a category are being put under a new parent category, then we can edit the category to re-position it as a sub-category.

Editing the Categories in Existing Posts

The next easiest thing to do is to VIEW the posts and edit each and every one by assigning it to new categories (and sub-categories).  Pro-Tip: Start with those with the smallest numbers of posts FIRST. 

Starting with the largest-populated categories gets confusing and tiring.   There is no sense of progress.  Usually, those are the posts that have been assigned to the default category — and so I find I haven’t really thoughtfully considered how they should be binned ever.   But the smaller-numbered categories are usually EASIER to re-categorize. Things go a bit faster.

What I found is that by starting with recategorizing posts in small categories, I was able to re-bin them much more quickly.  And, since I had to uncheck the old category, it was easy to edit ALL the categories for that post and put the entire post in the right structure.   It’s just one way to do it.  Perhaps you might prefer to tackle the big default category first.

View Posts – Edit Post Categories

When you choose the “View Post” Option, you get the whole list of posts under that category (or sub-category).  Next, you edit those posts in that list–one a time.  It can go fast, it can go slow.

If you haven’t created a target category of sub-category yet, you can create them as you edit the post’s categories.  There can be a number of different mistakes possible there, such as misspelling categories,  or creating a top-level category when you meant to create a sub-category.    This is why I prefer to set up the new categories and sub-categories using the Category editor.  If I do it that way, then this whole editing process is nothing more than unticking the old boxes and ticking the new, correct boxes.

Every time you complete editing the categories of a post, you must update it.  THEN you have to start over, going to the Settings Menu, choosing the Writing tab, and initiating the Category editor.  For every single post. 

This is why I like to start with the smallest populated categories. Then I can delete the category when I hit zero posts.  As I delete all the little tiny-populated categories, this makes the task of editing each post easier and easier — as the number of extraneous, wrong categories that I need to choose from grows smaller and smaller.

Next: we can create a new menu set up. 

When I finished editing and rearranging all my posts, my top line (Primary) Menu was a bit screwed up.  It now looked like this:

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Nothing on the top level menu was correct except for the word “Home.”

We find the Menu system by customizing the theme.  But before we get into that, we need to go over the problem of “pages versus posts” — which we’ll go over in the next post.

More shortly!  ~ Lola




Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

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