A Category in WordPress is one of the four default taxonomies available in WordPress. It is a way to group posts and articles together and to organize them in sections.

Using categories to assemble your posts in sections will help you structure your website in a more organized fashion and make information readily available to your visitors.

Let’s say you have a website deals in benefits of fruits with hundreds of posts. A visitor, only interested to know about Apple’s benefits for example doesn’t have any way to sort out your posts accordingly. This is where organizing your posts in categories will help your visitors.

All posts assigned to their respective categories will make information available to your visitors instantly.

category example

By default all posts go to WordPress default post category if you will not mention any category explicitly.

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How to create category in WordPress?

You can create or add a new category in WordPress in two ways.

  • From WordPress admin dashboard Posts category section.
  • You can also create a new category while making a post.

Creating categories from WordPress admin panel is the recommended way as it is a centralized location to add or edit all categories.

  • From your WordPress dashboard go to Posts > Categories.

wordpress categories menu

  • From the Categories screen, fill in category Name and press Add New Category button at the bottom.

category name in wordpress

The category name is the only required field. Slug, Parent Category and Description are all optional. The name you specified will become the category base URL in the post’s URL link.

  • All categories will be listed on the same page as you add them.

wordpress category list

Writing category description is a good practice for your own future reference but it will not add any SEO value to your blog which is a general misconception.

The other way to add a category in WordPress is directly from the post page. Click Add New Category link, add a name and press Add New Category button.

add category from post

Creating categories from the post page is not a recommended method as it might be confusing for WordPress beginners.

Always use a keyword as a category name which will not only represents your posts better but also a good SEO practice.

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What is parent child category?

Categories can maintain a hierarchy which means there could be parent child relationship within them. For example a parent category “Apple” can have multiple child categories like “Red Apples”, “‘Green Apples” and so on.

  • While creating a category, you can define the Parent Category from the drop-down list. Clicking Add New Category button will make the newly created category the child of the parent category hence implementing a category hierarchy.

wordpress parent category

How to delete categories?

Categories can be updated, edited or deleted from the same Categories page.

Hover your mouse on a category name which will reveal a small menu underneath, click Delete from the menu to delete the category.

delete wordpress category

A deleted category will be gone permanently. You can’t undo or restore a category in WordPress.

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Any posts associated with the deleted category will be re-assigned to default category.

You can also bulk delete categories in WordPress by checking all the categories you want to delete and select Delete from Bulk Actions drop-down menu at the top.

How to change default category?

All posts in WordPress need to be under at least one category. This is how WordPress structure works. Default post category works as a place holder for all posts for which you don’t assign any category.

In the categories list, you can see a category Uncategorized already defined as the default category. You can’t even delete it unless or until you assign another category as a default category.

  • From the WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Writing. Change Default Post Category to your own category.

wordpress default category

  • Now you can delete Uncategorized category from the categories list.

How to assign category to a post?

All the categories you have defined will be available on the posts page now. A category can be assigned to a post while writing a new post.

  • While writing a new post, simply select the checkbox for the category you want to assign the post to. You can Publish the post now.

assign category to wordpress post

Although you can assign a post to multiple categories but it’s not advisable because it can results in post duplication which can be penalized by search engines like Google.

Please note, there is no way to assign categories to pages in WordPress.

How to display posts in a category?

Posts under a category can be sorted for display on the front-end. Create category link buttons in your navigation menu to list posts in a blog style. You can create a separate menu item for each category.

wordpress category menu

How the posts will be displayed depends upon the theme you are using.

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For more information on category menus, see our article how to create a menu in WordPress. The detailed article will let you add categories to main menu step-by-step.

Category Permalink Settings

Permalinks are the URLs of your posts. A category name can be used in a permalink for all of your posts using a custom URL.

  • From your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Permalinks and enable Custom Structure.

wordpress permalink settings

  • You can use %category% structure tag to define a permalink based on the category of a post.

For more detailed information on permalinks, see our article Easy Guide to WordPress Permalink Settings.

Convert Categories into Tags

Although very rarely but you may require to convert WordPress categories to tags.

  • From your WordPress dashboard, go to Tools > Import. Click Install Now under Categories and Tags Converter.

categories to tags importer

  • On the Convert Categories to Tags screen, enable checkbox for the categories you want to convert and press the button at the bottom.

wordpress categories to tags

We hope you have found this article useful to create and use categories in WordPress. If you still have any questions do let us know using the comments section below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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