WordPress Post Categories

Post categories allow you to organize and file your posts into a hierarchical structure. So categories can have sub-categories within them. For example, in a cookbook, you may have categories like meats, salads, or breads; and within breads, you may have subcategories of loaves, rolls, and muffins. Categories have a structure (whereas tags do not, or example).

The post category is technically something called a taxonomy. And each Category is technically a “term.”  “Breads” is a term; “loaves” is a term. This becomes relevant when you begin introducing your own custom taxonomies into your WordPress website.

  • WordPress generates a post category page (or, archive page) which displays all of the posts assigned to each post category. So, the “breads” archive page displays all the posts in the breads category. You can also customize your WordPress themes to put an archive output anywhere you choose.
  • On the frontend, the name of your post category is often displayed on each individual posts as a link to view the post category archive.

Post Categories Screen (backend)

You can view and manage all of your post categories in the backend by navigating to “Posts” > “Categories.” In the right column of this screen you will see a list of all the post categories that have already been created.

In the left column of the work area, you will see the option to create a new post category. To add a new category, follow these steps:

  1. Enter a name for your post category. This will automatically generate a slug for the post category (which can be changed below).
  2. Normally, you can simply leave the slug field empty as it is generated by the name when you publish the category. But you can enter your own slug if you choose, which can be useful if your category name is especially long.
  3. Parent Category – Post categories are hierarchical, which means that they can be organized by creating subcategories nested within a parent category. For example, if “rolls” is a subcategory of “breads,” then “breads” is the parent category in that relationship.
  4. Description – Depending on your WordPress theme, the description field may or may not be displayed on the post category archive view. Usually, the description will display below the title and before the loop.
  5. Click “Add New Category” to complete the creation of your post category.

If you have lots of categories, you can use the search field in the upper right corner of the work area to search for a specific post category.

To edit an existing post category, hover over the category name and click “Edit.” This will enable you to edit all of the settings of the post category.

Alternative Methods for Adding Categories

You may also create Post Categories from the Quick Edit interface of the Posts Screen and from the Post Editor.

You can also add a category when you’re drafting a new post. Select “Categories” from the list of settings under the “Document” tab of your post settings. Click on “Add new category” below the list of existing categories. Then enter the name, choose the parent category (if any), and click the “Add new category” button. 

Categories Widget

WordPress is installed with a built-in categories widget. This widget can be inserted in any widget area to display a list of all your post categories. The widget allows you to display the post categories as a hierarchical list or as a dropdown select box. When selected, the link will take you to the post category archive page.

Post Category Archive Pages

For each post category term, WordPress will generate a page that presents the list of posts assigned to that category. WordPress calls this list of posts a loop. The layout and functionality of this page is determined by your WordPress theme. 

Learn more about archive templates: https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/basics/template-hierarchy/

Further Reading: https://wordpress.org/support/article/posts-categories-screen/

If you prefer remote hands from a friendly Valice support professional to assist you, we have membership plans for that. Or if you just want one-time help, click here to schedule a session.