Season 1 Episode 16: Organising posts with Categories and Tags

Standard

Categories are like box files you use to group documents together.

Tags are like index tags that you stick to documents so you can quickly find every document that’s relevant to a topic you care about.

Most WordPress posts will have one category (the default category is usually “Uncategorized”), and perhaps a number of Tags. There’s no hard-and fast rule to say what’s a category and what’s a tag, but in general, categories should be few and adding a new category is rare, while as your site adds more and more posts, you may often want to highlight new topics and help people find everything that’s relevant.

Some people think websites are like brochures. Perhaps that can be true in a sense of the pages of a website. But a website grows in breadth and depth as new content is added. Many posts should be social, so interesting to visitors they’ll want to share. And so posts should generally stay the same over time. The growing collection of posts is what makes your site engaging, relevant and fresh.

But how do you use posts within pages (or other posts)? I recommend adding the List Category Posts plugin. The idea is simple: display relevant, timely and interesting posts, based on criteria including categories and tags.

Once you have found, added and activated the plugin, you have a new shortcode available to use:

[catlist]

Remember, a WordPress shortcode is like a shoutout to a plugin, asking it to do its magic, right there inside another page or post. I have the plugin installed. So here’s an example, using a few parameters.

[catlist name="Episode" orderby=date order=asc numberposts=3]

I use the category “Episode” for shownotes connected to podcast episodes. Embedding this command means, “List Category Posts, please list the three oldest episodes.” Let’s see what happens:

That just gives (linked) episode titles. But it might be useful to preview the actual posts. Let’s try it!

[catlist name="Episode" orderby=date order=asc numberposts=3 excerpt=full]
  • Episode 1: Season 1 Introduction Here I’m setting out my stall for Season 1. In a few weeks I’ll take you (small) step by (small) step through creating a website that you’ll be happy with and that other people can find. You’ll sometimes need to come to this website to get quick access to information or additional resources. And you ...
  • Episode 2: Why go online? Reasons to go online may include: It’s trendy (it’s not) It would be great to have our Christmas events online (a website’s for life, not just for Christmas) We can forget about the printed sheet (who remembers to check a website every day?) …What’s yours? Reasons not to go online may include: It’s scary (you need to get out more) I don’t know how (it’s time ...
  • Episode 3: How to prove your charitable status and get free stuff Show Notes for Season 1, Episode 3 You can search the Charity Commission registered charity list here Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has a helpline for charities. Ring 0300 123 1073 8am-3pm, and if it’s a Gift Aid query, it’s number 4 on the first automated menu. Next episode

In the episode, I use a couple of examples. First, the category News is probably relevant to most churches, and it’s great for the home page (and other pages too perhaps) to include news stories. Second, suppose you start a Coffee Club. Perhaps you have information posts with the Info category. Add the Coffee-Club tag to relevant Info posts, then on the Coffee Club page you can link in all that content, which saves duplication and having to remember all the ages and posts to update when something changes.

List Category Posts is a powerful plugin, but I can’t ever remember all its parameters. Fortunately it has a really useful reference guide.

 

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