What is a Category in WordPress + How to Create & Use (2019 Guide)

Have you ever needed to use a category in WordPress, but you didn’t know when and where to use one? Do you know the category application in a WordPress site? As you know, WordPress has a posts section that you can use for making a blog page. However, these posts can be organized based on different types of categories. Using the categories, make your website more disciplined and useful. Hence, users can access your data more precisely and effectively. As these are the basics of a standard UX design.


What are the categories in WordPress?

WordPress allows you to categorize your posts and post types by its categories. A category is a type of WordPress taxonomies, by which you can sort your contents by their subject and relationship. Moreover, you can write some descriptions of each category to display them on the archive page of each of them. The description of a category allows you to offer more information about a content grouping. For example:

  • If you are sorting a list of books, by use of the category description feature, you can explain more about those books and their contents to the users. Hence, more engagement will be formed between you and the visitors.
categories are used to sort posts in WordPress
You Can Sort Your Data Using Categories In WordPress


What are child and parent categories in WordPress

As mentioned, categories in WordPress are hierarchical taxonomies; meaning that you can arrange them based on a parent-child relationship. Therefore, each basic category can have multi children to address. Hence, the contents can be organized more precisely. As an example:

  • Imagine you are writing about recent media news, and you are targeting the film industry. The movie can be your parent category, while horror, sci-fi, comedy movies will be your sub-categories or child categories.

You can define your child categories while you are writing a post or in the Quick Edit section of the All Posts section. Just pick a parent category, and the further categories will be your child ones.

How to add categories in WordPress

In a recent publication, we showed you how to add categories by different methods. However, we give you a summary of that to make this article more comprehensive.

Now you know what a category is, when and where you can use it, it’s time to add some to your website.

  • You can add a category through the Posts option in the WordPress admin dashboard. In the Categories sub-menu, you are able to add a new group, slug, description, and parent/child relationship.
Create Your First Category
Create Your First Category


  • The other alternative way is to go to Posts >> Add New, and on the right side of the window, there is a meta box that allows you to add a new category and its hierarchical arrangement. However, you cannot write any description in this method. Although, you could assign a description to the category in Posts >> Categories menu by clicking Edit below each prebuilt one.
Using Categories in posts
Using Categories in Add New/Edit Post Window


  • And the last one is by heading to Posts >> All Posts and selecting Quick Edit below each written post. Obviously, this method is useful for posts that have been already published or saved in draft.
Assigning A Category To a Post
Assigning A Category To a Post Through Quick Edit Section


How to use categories in WordPress

As mentioned above, there are two ways to assign categories to the posts. First, when you are editing a post or creating one, there is a meta box on the right side of the window named Categories. If you have already created a related category, you can easily check one or more than one. Moreover, you can build a new category to assign to the post, and even you can create a hierarchical relationship between posts by arranging the parent/child relationship.

Secondly, if you have already created a post, you can directly head to All Posts menu. Then, in the posts list for a post click Quick Edit. Next, you can assign as many categories as you want to the post.


How to display categories in WordPress

Based on your theme design, category lists may be displayed in different places. Such as above single post in a blog, in archive pages, etc. However, if you want to display Category in WordPress in the sidebar or footer of your site, you should manage them in the Widget section of the admin dashboard. So, head to Appearance >> Widgets and drag/drop the Categories box from Available Widgets to Footer or Sidebar section. Or, you can define its place to be displayed by clicking the arrow and choose one of Sidebar, Footer 1, or Footer 2 positions. Therefore, all of your categories will be shown in sidebar or footer, except for those posts that don’t have a category.

Selecting categories in widget of WordPress
Selecting Categories in WordPress Widgets Section


Moreover, if you want to add the categories to the navigation menu, you could edit your menu from Appearance >> Menus section. Add your categories in the Categories box, and drag/drop them in the Menu structure box. Hence, you can behave with them like the way you do with other items in the navigation menu. I have written a more detailed description here.

Creating category menu to be shown in different page
You Can Have Menus For Displaying Posts Categories


How to convert Category in WordPress to tags and vice versa?

Both category and tags are prebuilt WordPress taxonomies. With them, you can make your content more disciplined and organized. However, you should know how, when, and where to use tags and Category in WordPress. Sometimes you may want to convert one to the other for any reason. To do so, go to Tools >> Import in the admin dashboard and click Categories and Tags Converter to install it. Once the importer is installed completely, click Run Importer. Now, you can easily select from prebuilt categories and tags to convert to each other.

How To Convert Tags And Categories
How To Convert Tags And Categories



In this article, we described what is a category in WordPress. We showed how, when, and where you could use categories while writing a post. Moreover, we focused on the hierarchical feature of category in WordPress as a type of taxonomies and how to create child categories for a parent one. In conclusion, I showed the way of displaying categories in the footer or sidebar of the site, and even in the navigation menu.

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