If you’re anything like me, your blog’s category structure was evolved over time and got to be a bit of a mess.
You write a new post and think, “Well, this doesn’t seem to fit anywhere, so I’ll just make a new category.” Next thing you know, you’ve got an unwieldy list of categories. Some are too general and are loaded with posts while others have barely anything to them.
The solution is to reorganize. But, how?
Developing Your Category List
Before you start doing anything, you need to develop your list of categories. This step can take some time and thought, but is important.
Take a bird’s eye view of what you are writing by looking into your own archives. Also, consider your future plans for the content direction of your blog. Begin creating a list of categories which fit what you’re doing.
You may find you can keep some of the ones you have. You may need to create new ones.
At this point, just write them down.
My suggestion is to try to use a minimum number of categories. Large lists are unwieldy. Blog readers don’t really make much use of categories when searching your blog (in most cases). Plus, if you need a long list of categories, you might need to question the content direction of the blog. You may be trying to cover too much.
In most cases, you can thin your category list down to less than 10. There is no need to get extremely granular about your categories. It just makes everything more difficult.
Setting Up The New Category Structure
If there are any brand new categories in your new structure, add them now. If there are any existing ones that you simply want to rename, do that. If any of your categories have zero entries, delete them.
Next, you’ll need to reorganize existing posts into your new category structure. For this, I recommend using the Batch Categories plug-in for WordPress. The plug-in is a little bit old, but still works.
Using the filter criteria in this plug-in, you can go through your existing posts and shuffle them into your new category structure as you see fit. It is pretty convenient, actually. For example, select a category you are going to delete to pull up all the posts in that category. Then, under “Actions”, you’ll choose the category you want to add things to. Below, check off the posts you want to move over and press the “Add Selected Posts” button. Then, to remove those same posts from the old category location, you select the old category and hit “Remove Selected Posts”.
Once you’re done shuffling posts, then of course go back and delete the old categories that are no longer part of your category tree.
Sometimes you may have posts which are assigned to multiple categories. Fixing that with the Batch Categories plug-in is possible, but tedious. Again, that plug-in is a bit old, so it lacks some of the conveniences. So, you may also find it easier in some cases to simply go to your post list, filter by category, then use the “Quick Edit” to shuffle individual posts.
Good luck with reorganizing categories. It isn’t exactly a fun procedure and can take up some time (depending on how many posts you have), but it can be well worth it when it comes to simplicity on your blog.