How to Use WordPress Categories Creatively

I came across an unusual question this week:  The questioner wanted to know how to assign blog posts to specific pages that would be displaid in the blog menu.

Their blog is a cookery blog and they wanted to be able to write a post that would be (for example) an Italian recipe, and allow searchers to see and navigate to it through a menu item entitled ‘Italian Recipes’.

Here’s the answer I offered:  

As a first guess, based on my understanding from your email, here’s what I’d do:

With some themes (Thesis is one) you can select Categories to include in the Navigation Bar.  I believe that would meet your need.

But if we assume, for the moment, that your theme does not accommodate that, here’s how I would approach it:

I’d create a category called ‘Recipes’ and then make that the parent category for a series of sub-categories, one for each type of recipe: e.g. – Italian Recipes, French Recipes, etc.

Then I’d assign each post to the relevant sub-category – but only that sub-category.  i.e. One sub-category per post.  For the way I use tags and categories see this post.

Then I’d activate the categories widget but I’d give it a different title.  Something like ‘Recipes and Other Things’.  That would cater for posts and categories than are not recipe related.

If you only have recipes on your blog you can just call your Categories widget ‘Recipes’ and there’d be no need for the parent/child hierarchy in your categories.

Then I’d place the Categories widget near the top of your sidebar – in fact at the top would be good.

If you look at my blog I’ve done something similar, except that I haven’t used sub-categories.  I’ve called my Categories widget ‘See Articles On:’  (I gave them a link to my blog here – but that’s a bit superfluous at this point!).

Check in the sidebar next to my picture.

As long as you’ve got your front page set to ‘Latest Posts’ then your most recent post would appear first, followed by the post before that and so on.

That’s one way of doing it.

Another way would be to use a magazine style theme.

These allow you to assign certain categories to appear on the first page and they’ll display your most recent post in each category.

This would give your readers the list of different nationalities for which you have recipes but, in my view, would not be as good as using the categories widget as I’ve described above.

That’s because by using the categories widget your readers could click (for example) on French recipes and see all the French recipes, neatly listed.

As it turned out, using the categories widget and re-naming it solved the problem. One happier camper!

About the author: Martin has been working online since 2006 and focuses on two areas: 1) affiliate marketing and 2) designing and building websites based on WordPress. He has his own WordPress agency, and serves clients in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.

What do you think?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Karin H. Feb 13, 2009 @ 0:02

    See, that’s why I Love Typepad 😉

    Widgets like this are so easily added with their standard ‘widget’ categories and so easily made yourself if you want it just a bit different with typelist 😉 And no need to edit templates or ccs scripts.

    But then I’m biased with over 8 blog-sites made with Typepad for myself and several blog-sites made for other small businesses.

    Karin H (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

    Karin H.´s last blog post..Great quotes to get the week started

    • WealthyDragon Feb 13, 2009 @ 7:04

      Hi Karin,

      I must have written this post very badly if I’ve given the impression that what I’ve suggested is complicated..!!

      What I’ve described here is using straight, out of the box WordPress functionality. Renaming the categories widget is simply a case of typing the title you want into the title field.

      The most difficult part of this exercise was making sure I correctly understood what the questioner was trying to achieve!



  • Network Marketing Effectively Feb 13, 2009 @ 13:11

    I have recently started using wordpress to market niche products. I need all the help I can get. Thanks for the tips you explained really well!

    • WealthyDragon Feb 13, 2009 @ 14:09

      Hi John,

      Glad it was helpful, and I’m always happy to help with any other Wordpress questions. Use the contact page to ask any questions you have and I’ll reply to you as well as turn my replies into a post for the benefit of others.



  • Jane Blogs Mar 9, 2009 @ 9:49

    Your questioner might also be looking for a way to exclude particular categories from the main index.php of their blog.

    That does involve coding, and can be complicated. 😉

    Jane Blogs´s last blog post..How to NOT display a category on your blog

    • WealthyDragon Mar 9, 2009 @ 14:34

      Jane, hi,

      Hmmm – she wasn’t actually – what I described above solved her problem. But she may well be in the future 🙂



  • Jane Blogs Mar 9, 2009 @ 17:11

    lol… obviously the topic was on my mind today!

    Jane Blogs´s last blog post..How to add a signature to your blog posts

    • WealthyDragon Mar 9, 2009 @ 21:32

      As well it might be..!

      Your PHP skills are pretty good – mine are absolutely hopeless. There’s a lot of call for your skills, especially amongst the newer comers to Wordpress.



  • Cheryl Smith Apr 11, 2009 @ 22:13

    Great resource here and in the previous posts about the difference between categories & tags and how to use them both. Thanks!

    (btw, found you through someone on Twitter suggesting your blog as a resource. They were right!)

    Cheryl Smith´s last blog post..Women, Influence and Social Media

    • WealthyDragon Apr 12, 2009 @ 10:20

      Cheryl, hi,

      I’m delighted these posts were helpful and many thanks for your kind comments!

      Isn’t Twitter great..? I find posts and articles on there that I’d never otherwise see – and some of them are just brilliant!