Categories Are More Than Just a List10
The purpose of categorising posts is to organise your content. You group similar posts into sections, allowing readers to easily find all the posts on a certain topic. However, categories are more than just a list in the sidebar.
How Are Categories Ordered in a New Blog?
When a blog is new, naturally it will have fewer posts. Therefore, posts are grouped into rather broad categories. For instance; this post is currently categorised into the “Blog Usability,” category. Usability in itself is a huge topic, encompassing many sub-sections. As the blog is still new though, there is no need to break into these sub-sections.
Small blogs have a small number of categories.
As Your Blog Grows, Your Categories Grow
Over time, you post more and more, and the blog becomes larger and larger. However, because your blog is virtual, viewable only on a screen, you don’t see that.
Forget about the computer, and think about each post as a written document, and your blog as a filing cabinet. In the beginning, it may be suitable for you to use a separate drawer for each category, however, each page you add is filling up the cabinet. What do you do when there are so many pages that finding a certain one takes forever? You divide up the drawer. You take all of the pages in that drawer, and categories those, e.g. by name, by date or by topic.
Why should blogs be any different?
When a particular category is swollen with posts, you need to sub-divide that category into mini-categories. Otherwise, the category will be so bloated that finding information on a certain topic is too difficult to do, and the category loses its purpose.
How To Show Subcategories
You need to change your default list of categories, into a list with more structure. A great example of this is the category list at the Hong Kiat technology blog, which uses the following visual cues:
- Indented subcategories – This is the most effective technique. Your first level of categories literally come first, with the second level being in a second column. Furthermore, the relationship between categories is easy to see, as the children of a certain category are displayed beneath that category.
- Faded names on subcategories – This highlights the difference, and prominence, of the two types of category.
- Subcategories appear on the same button as the parent category – This further highlights the relationship between child categories and their parents.
Is Tagging the Answer?
Tagging has taken off hugely in blogging, without doubt. Tags are used to describe a post in just a few words, and these words can then be searched upon to find all posts which have been tagged as such. But are they the solution to finding content on blogs? What is your opinion?
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