WordPress offers two powerful ways to organize your site content. We suggest setting up a system / approach for doing this from the start. There is no one “right” way to organize your blog, and you can always modify and change as you use it more.

But if you start using categories and tags, you will end up with better ways to find and share blog posts later.

Starting With Categories

Think of categories as large buckets of topics you might organize your blog under (although nothing stops you from creating many buckets). When you create categories ahead of time, they become available as check boxes when you author.

Let’s start. In your WordPress dashboard, look under the Posts menu for Categories.

Change The Default Category Name

WordPress comes pre-built with a default category; if you do not select any categories when you write, this is how it will be categorized, with the lovely name “Uncategorized”.

Do not accept default! If you hover over the category name, look for the Edit link.


Such a boring category name, let’s edit it.

Say hello to the Category editing screen. It does explain itself well.

Change the Name field to represent how you want it seen on your site. It can be long, if you like flowery names. The slug is how that name will be represented when it is used to construct a web address for the category, so these should be shorter (and lower case).

And as the screen says, the Description field may or may not be used depending on the Theme your blog uses, but it makes sense to write it just in case.

Add Categories

You may organize your categories by theme, or maybe by ones that match your teaching topics, or general ones such as “Resources”, “Ideas”, or even “Odds and Ends”. You can add them later.

For Ontario Extend Participants we suggest to adding a category structure that reflects the project themes of Attributes of a 21st Century Educator.

Start by going back to the main Category listing in your Dashboard. We can add new categories using the fields on the left side. Add the first one Attributes and any description you like for this category.

You may notice the slug field is left blank – if it is not entered, WordPress will create it for you by changing what ever you typed in the first field into lower case (and converting any spaces to a “-“).

Click Add New Category and notice it appear on the right side list.

That’s all it takes to create top level buckets of organizers for your blog. Feel free to add a few more that you might think are useful, perhaps based on the Venn Diagram activity we did earlier.

You can edit or delete categories at any time. But let’s add some interesting refinement — child categories.

Adding Child Categories

The WordPress Category structure can be hierarchical, like an outline. We will see how that works soon, but trust us for now.

Return to the Category listing, and Add Teacher For Learning for the first child category. The key step here is to select from the Parent menu, the Attributes category you created earlier.

When this Category is saved, you should notice that it appears beneath the parent Attributes category on the left side. You have birthed a child category!

You may notice that after adding a child category, WordPress is smart enough to keep the same Parent listed from the menu.

Add these additional child categories:

  • Collaborator Sharing and enhancing one’s own educational approaches through collaborations within, across and between disciplines.
  • Curator A producer and consumer of appropriate educational resources through sharing and development.
  • Scholar An awareness and appreciation of effective, research-based, discipline- appropriate pedagogical approaches.
  • Technologist Fluency using learning technology in educationally effective ways.
  • Experimenter An openness to try, reflect & learn from new approaches, pedagogy and technologies to support student learning.

By putting your posts into categories as you write, your blog will automatically create a link that you can see everything written in say the Scholar category. And by adding a post to a child category, it is automatically included in the parent, so the link for Attributes will show everything added to it’s child categories.

What About Tags?

It can be confusing! WordPress offers an additional means to organize– by free form tags added to your posts. You could certainly organize your entire blog in Categories only, or just tags. Or a mixture.

We will see them in use when we are writing more posts.

Our suggesting is to keep your Categories as broad organizers, ones you can see using often. Tags can be used as more descriptors that may cut across Categories, or ones used less frequently. Almost like adjectives. You might tag for different courses you teach, or different media, or just to mark as “important” or “for fred” “cool stuff”, “MAT234” (course section). Tags can be useful for cutting across categories

Tagging requires some memory of what you have used before, although you will notice WordPress will suggest tags when you start typing them. We suggest being rather generous with tags, use a lot of them! Later, when we look ad widgets, we will see how to add a tag cloud to our blog.

Back Organizing

What if you have a blog, but everything is categorized as “Uncategorized” and bear no tags? The WordPress listing for posts offers a useful way to bulk add tags and categories. Once you have added new categories as above, use the check boxes on the left to select posts you want to edit together (you can also use the search tools to find posts).

From the Bulk menu in the top left, select Edit and click Apply. In the Bulk Edit window, you can check boxes to add categories to all selected posts, and also enter in the tags area, as many tags you would like to add to all posts.

Note that you can use Bulk Edit to add Categories and Tags, but you cannot remove them! You will notice a few other settings you can change for all selected items (turning of comments, setting to draft).

With Categories and Tags, You Get Predictable URLs

That slug name when you edited Categories is handy. If the Mad Scientists at Extend Labs, blogging at http://thoughts.extendlabs.ca created a category called Big Crazy Ideas and set the slug name to ideas, then the link to all posts in that category is:

http://thoughts.extendlabs.ca/category/ideas

Likewise, everything they tagged as explosive is easily linked to on their blog as

http://thoughts.extendlabs.ca/tag/explosive

That’s where tags and categories get really useful; these are always dynamic links that will show all items organized that way, and newest ones first. Like on the Ontario Extend Domains site, we have a link to the latest news — https://extend-domains.ecampusontario.ca/category/news/. And because this site is syndicating in blog posts from participants in the project, we can see links to everyone’s posts that used the Open Education tag https://extend-domains.ecampusontario.ca/tag/open-education/.

You can find the links to these by going to your Dashboard, and looking under Posts for the links to Categories or Tags. From the list of either, if you hover over a title, the View link takes you to the public URL for that Category or Tag

Set up a tag/category structure on your blog, and make sure some posts use it, and submit one of those URLs


See Also:

Example for "Organizing Your WordPress Site With Categories and Tags":
http://cogdogblog.com/category/wp/

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2 Responses Completed for this Activity

  • Organizing posts (Lisa Koster, @lkoster)

    Since I had used WordPress in the past, I was very familiar with the use of categories.   I used the categories to create the menu of topics – so each page showed the posts relating to that category (instead of typing in https://proflisak.wordpress.com/category/interesting-reading/, visitors could click on the link in the menu and get the same… Read more »

  • Getting it together (Irene Stewart, @IrenequStewart)

    I checked my previous work on the Large Coffee with Four Creams blog as I had made some categories and used some tags. The Web address shared for this activity links to blog posts with the tag “risktaking” so that you can get a sense of how this works on my site. For the categories,… Read more »

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