Today’s episode is all about organizing your blog to make a bigger impact–on both your readers and Google.
Why categories are important
Imagine walking into your kitchen, opening a cupboard and finding a pizza pan, a couple plates and a salad fork. Each door just had random things behind it. They might be really nice, high quality things, but what are the odds you’re actually going to use them in that state?
Not likely, right? Your blog is the same. If it’s a disorganized mess, your readers aren’t going to stick around long.
You probably have dozens, if not hundreds of blog posts. If they’re not organized in a logical way readers are going to get frustrated and not be able to find what they need. Categories are what keep your blog organized.
Categories help both your readers and search engines to understand what you blog about, and they also encourage your visitors to stick around see all the great content you’ve already created.
Before you start choosing blog categories, get your foundation right.
A couple episodes ago, we talked about figuring out how you help your readers. If you didn’t listen to that yet, you should go check that out because it will really provide a good foundation for choosing your categories.
There are advanced ways to choose your categories based on SEO alone, and that’s great, but I highly recommend having your foundational categories in place first.
Remember that even Google wants you to put your readers first above SEO.
Your blog exists to help people. Even if you blog to make money, if your blog doesn’t help its readers in some way, it will cease to exist.
Okay, on to how to choose your blog categories…
Start with remembering how you help your readers overall, get to the heart of why they come to you. And from there, think about all the ways you can help them. If you’re a fashion blogger, your readers are going to want outfit inspiration, but how to style clothes would probably be really helpful to them too right? Each of those would be categories.
If you’re a food blogger, of course, you can have categories like Main Dishes, Desserts, Drinks, but don’t forget to think about other ways your readers might need help, like basic how-to posts, whether they’re for cooking or entertaining, meal planning…whatever your people might need help with.
So those would be some of your basic categories to get started with.
Now choose your subcategories
In that mess of a kitchen we talked about earlier, it wouldn’t be enough to just say “Okay, silverware and pots go in the lower cabinets, and dinnerware goes in the uppers” right? They still each need their own space.
This is where we drill down further and get into sub-categories. Sub-categories are obviously the smaller categories within the bigger, overarching categories.
So for our fashion blogger’s outfit inspiration category, to further organize that, she might break them down into seasons, or events, or both. The seasons and events would be sub-categories under outfit inspiration (technically called the parent category now).
See how much easier it would be for readers to find things?
For food bloggers, it’s great to have categories for your different courses (especially if you want to have a nice clickable recipe index people can search through), but don’t forget to go beyond that. Think back to how you can help your readers, and make sure you have categories for those topics too.
For example: say you’re a gluten-free food blogger. Put yourself in the shoes of a few people that might visit your blog. This one is easy for me because I’m allergic to gluten. What are some things that would really help me? Posts on substitutions–what to use in place of wheat and when, a round-up/comparison of the gluten-free breads. Things like that could fit into a category called Gluten-Free 101.
You get the idea: go back to your target market and help them any way you can–become their go-to.
Once you have a good foundational structure for your categories, then you can do more advanced keyword research to try to figure out which categories you can add that will help with SEO. But always ask yourself if it is something that your specific readers would want you to teach them about. Otherwise, you’re just blogging for Google, which will only last until the next algorithm change.
I have a free workbook you can download that will help you map out your new category structure. It is geared towards food bloggers, but it will work for any type of blog.
Just fill out the form here and you’ll get the workbook in your inbox:
Having your categories strategically planned will also help you to keep a good variety and balance when writing new blog posts.
And if you need to know how to create and edit those categories and subcategories, check out this post.
Pin it so you can come back to it later!
(And to help your blogging friends out too.)