This post is for people that know how to add pages and posts. If you don’t know how to add a page or a post, read my starter WordPress tutorial that I wrote a few years ago and come back here.

Let’s imagine that you bought a cookbook and the recipes are in random order. You would have trouble finding the recipe for the chicken dinner that you’ve been craving. If you have published a few hundred blog posts, and you aren’t organizing them with categories and tags, it would be difficult for your visitors to find what they need.

In WordPress, categories and tags are ways of organizing your content so that it is more easily found.

  • Categories: Use categories to broadly group your posts. Think of your categories like chapters in a cookbook: appetizers, main courses, side dishes, desserts. Sub-categories can be defined to further describe your post. You could break down your main courses by chicken, beef, pork, fish, shellfish, and vegetarian. You’re not limited to just one category. If you have a main dish that has beef and fish, you could select the beef and fish categories. Categories can be displayed in a navigation menu just like a page would.
  • Tags: Use tags as another way to group your posts. Tags give you another way of organizing your content. Think of tags like the index of a book. Like categories, more than one tag can be added, but unlike categories, tags can only have one level. You could choose to group your recipes by the way they are cooked (baked, sautéed, boiled, fried, steamed, etc), you could group them by origin (Chinese, French, American, Italian, Indian, etc), and you can indicate if the dish has cheese on it. You can show tags in a widget section.

A Sample Post with Categories and Tags

wp-categories-tagsLet’s say I wanted to add a lasagna recipe as a blog post. Before publishing the post, I need to select the appropriate categories and tags.

If you look at the image to the right, you’ll see that I selected the Main Courses category and the Beef subcategory because lasagna falls under both of those. If it was an appetizer, I would check that box as well. If you don’t have the category, you could add one by clicking the Add New Category link.

I wanted to further define the recipe, so I added the Italian, baked, and cheese tags. If you are creating tags, be sure to click the Add button for each new tag. You can create as many tags as you see fit.

If you have questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section.