I think having categories are really important for business blogs. The date is all well and good, as is a list of the latest posts, but people want to know what you have been talking about and what your areas of expertise are, once you have been blogging for a little while. The quickest way to illustrate that is to have a list of categories, within which each individual post sits. It will instantly illustrate all of the areas that you cover.
You will see these listed on the right-hand side of my blog on a laptop view (or at the bottom of the page on a smaller device, such as a mobile phone). I have eight categories and the number in brackets specifies how many blogs are in each category. You can choose to put a blog in to more than one category.
So apart from being a quick topic list of what you are writing about, why is having categories useful?
Helps organisation and navigation
If you blog regularly, it will soon become more and more difficult to find specific blog posts. Whilst there is usually some level of search functionality, putting your posts in to categories offers your readers another way to easily find what they are looking for. It also give them a sense of the purpose of your blog and what you are trying to cover, as well as how your blog posts ‘group’ together. If you write a series or a number of successive posts (to be read one after the other), it ensures they are neatly placed together if you create a category just for those posts, as well as being in date order.
A category heading is another search optimisation tool. A category is essentially another hyperlink, another internal link and another ‘page’ for your website. If you click on a category heading it pulls all of the blogs in that category on to one page, and gives it its own URL – so the category heading also appears in another website address – another place search engine ‘bots’ are looking for keywords.
Your categories are very likely to align with your keywords. They will be what your business is about after all.
Helps appeal to different audiences
I think it is really important that you identify your audience and write consistently. However, I also appreciate for some business blogs you might want to speak to ‘specific’ audiences depending on the topic, for example, suppliers versus clients or trainees (if you run workshops) versus customers (those who buy products from you).
Categories offer a simple way to help readers identify this. For example, you could have a category called ‘For Suppliers’, ‘For Trainees’. This is another things to consider. Categories don’t have to be concrete nouns, simply about things you do. They can be anything suitable for your blog topics and your business. You can also create a kind of subcategory, such as ‘For Trainees – Training Materials’ and then ‘For Trainees – Course Information’.
Category titles are very flexible!
Helps you evaluate what your readers like best
I am a big advocate of evaluating your blog and seeing which posts work well for your business. This is not just all about statistics, i.e. page views, comments and likes. It is also about what helps to convert sales and what gets your clients talking about your blog – either directly to you, on social media or between themselves (not sure how you find this out…so just ask!). Evaluating just post-by-post can make it difficult to assess, however, if you have categories then you can make a more meaningful assessment. Which category seems to work best or have the most interest?
Helps Inspire Future Blog Posts
As well as evaluation and what is working well for your business, simply looking at the numbers in the brackets next to your categories will help show you how balanced your blog is across the different categories. If one category is a little ‘lighter’ than the others then consider writing for those categories! Simple!
Categorise and re-categorise your posts
As with a lot of digital publishing, nothing has to stay ‘concrete’ and the same. So figure out what you think your categories should be, start ‘filling’ them with blog posts, but then, if there is one that doesn’t seem to be used very often or two categories that can be combined in to one, then you can easily do so.
If you want help categorising your blog posts on a WordPress site, let me know.