Hurdles to Blogging #14 – I don’t get why I need categories!
I am back with another addition to my Hurdles to Blogging series – find them, amongst others, in the Blogging Category section of my website.
I am amazed at the amount of bloggers who don’t take advantage of the function of categories. Firstly, let me assure you that categories are your best friend when it comes to writing a business blog. It is a great way to show off your expanse of expertise and often gives you ideas of what to write about next, as you offer another blog post with more information and more depth in each category.
Let me explain more about how categories are an important place to start when planning your business blog.
Before you start – brainstorm some topics
The obvious place to start is to do a big mind map of all the thing you know about your business. It is the absolute first thing I get my clients to do when I run a Blog Starter training. A simple ‘brain dump’ about everything and anything to do with their business, from location, to services, to future plans to ‘raison d’etre’! Many of these simple elements can turn in to perfectly good blog posts.
Grouping your blogs
If you have written a few blog posts already or have a list of topic ideas then see if they naturally start to group together. I would suggest you start with up to five groups. You can base them on a general topic area/services (like mine) or you may find that audience or style may work better for your blog. For example, a client of mine was a dance teacher. She wanted to write some blogs aimed at dancers, some blogs aimed at parents (of those she taught or could potentially teach) and some blogs written to share advice and resources for teachers – so she used ‘dancers’, ‘parents’ and ‘teachers’ as her categories. On some websites, you can also have subcategories.
Once you have decided on your categories, writing an introductory blog post for each is a great way to launch your blog if you are just starting out. If you have five or more categories, perhaps start with just three and then add the categories as you add the post. You don’t want empty categories after all.
Writnig an introductory blog will help you to identify future blog posts – it will be based around (or perhaps lead to)…it is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation…your tree diagram (see Hurdle to Blogging #12 where I have discussed this). Introductory blogs are also a great place to pack your keywords! Great for SEO and all completely natural!
Categorising future blog posts
Before you start any future blogs, consider which category you are writing for. This can really help to focus a particular blog post. You can add one blog to more than one category, but don’t add every blog to every category as this completely dilutes what you are trying to achieve. I would say two is ok, three max!
If you have a blog post that doesn’t fit a current category consider why this is and if it deserves a category in its own right, if it is a direction future blogs are likely to take. Furthermore, regularly assess the number of blogs in each category (WordPress helpfully gives you the number in brackets next to each category name) – if there is one category that has very few posts, consider deleting this category and re-categorising the blogs within it, or perhaps use this as a prompt to write more about this area.
Categories and SEO
Having categories are not just a useful functional filing tool, they are also fantastic for search engine optimisation (SEO).
Firstly, each category has a unique URL, so category titles should be short but also contain keywords, i.e. https://thecontentconsultancy.com/category/websites/ . This means blogs on one topic or for one audience appear in a list on their own page. This is really useful for sending people information and guidance too, i.e. you need help with blogging? Sure, here is are all of my recent blogs –* link to blog category *
Google and other search engines also like it when a website visitor stays longer on a site. So, secondly, categories are a great way to encourage people to browse your site for longer as they can see all that you are writing about and easily click on each one as they are displayed next to every blog post in most blog page templates.
Thirdly, interlinking is another powerful SEO tool and by putting blogs into categories you are automatically linking them to each other. More than that the content of your blog will likely mention topics or content from other blogs within your category which you can hyperlink to, within individual blog posts, meaning you include more interlinks. Your website should be a ‘web of links’ encouraging visitors to explore every corner of your site.
Want some further help with blogs and categorisation
One of my absolute favourite things to do is to run my Blog Starter training! So, please get in touch. I can offer the package via Zoom or Skype, as well in person. For information, feel free to email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org – just £50 for 2 hours of one-to-one training.