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How Many Categories Does Your Blog Have?

Time for a little discussion question that emerged out of a conversation that I had with a new blogger recently.

How many categories does your blog have?

I’d also be interested to hear how people determined what categories to use and whether you can have too many categories (I was reading a blog the other day that had 60 and wondered whether there comes a time when there are too many).

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Comments

  1. Aaress says:

    129

    I’ve owned On the Baseline for almost two years and that’s two years worth of tennis tournaments sub-categorized by the year. Plus, that also includes quite a few players.

  2. EelKat says:

    [quote]engtech Says:
    March 19th, 2007 at 6:56 am
    700.

    Because wordpress doesn’t get the difference between categories/tags right. :)

    Realistically it’s around 20
    [/quote]

    I too, use WordPress, I love them, but yeah, they don’t know the differance between catagories and tags, so “officialy” my blog says that I have 428 categories!!!
    Actually I have 5 : Writing, Life, Movies, Animals, Sci-Fi; but WordPress doesn’t let me edit the widget so it says that :(

    ~EK

  3. Cat Laine says:

    16. I didn’t add them all at the same time, so some this aren’t categorized correctly. Schmoo. Some day, I will go back and sort that out.

  4. Dustin says:

    11 currently, but I am sure I will be adding at least one more next month and even more as needed in the future.

  5. Hii,
    My blog has 10 categories, Is it fruitful or disadvantage for my blog ?

    Thanks

    Best Regards,
    Eliena Andrews

  6. Robert says:

    I try to keep my category list to 4-6 across my 3 blogs. I’ve seen some blogs that have way too many and I the first impression I get is that they have way too many topics and the blog isn’t focused. When I have to occasional off-topic post, I’ll put it in a ‘misc’ category just so I don’t have a category for every single post I make.

  7. I’m a big fan of categories, and the more is the merrier. However, in one of my blogs (PetLvr) I did go too far and have MULTIPLE categories for every post. While I think it is okay to have a gabillion different categories – if the content warrants it – I’ve figured back in summer 2006 that it really is annoying to see 2-10 categories for every post (I use at least 2 maybe 3 at most). As a reader, when I see other people’s blogs that have 2-50 categories for the same post and I want to surf the sidebar’s categories and keep seeing the same posts over and over and well .. I tend to just surf elsewhere.

    But I had over 1000 posts when it started to annoy me and what do I do? Change the previous 1000 posts? I decided at that time to continue as is – and now, it’s almost 2400 posts and I still haven’t fixed it. But there is a good lining to this issue, since I’ve upgraded to wordpress 2.1 – the categories don’t work anymore and part of the blogroll, so the Tag Cloud is much more effective and visually with the UTW plugin – well, I hope people can find stuff on my sites and I can find stuff on other people’s sites who use the cloud as well.

  8. dandellion says:

    six categories. maybe I need one more, but I’m still not clear about it.
    categories gives me kind of navigation from sidebar and are tailored to give specific sound to the overall site. Parallel with them I do tagging, and number of tags is unlimited… they go just naturally, sorting themselves and connect posts…..

  9. I have 12, but until I counted them I thought I was well under 10. I think there’s a reason you should keep number of categories low – it’s quite common that one is checking the whole category and she should find there more than a couple of posts if you want her to stick to your blog.

  10. Michele says:

    My main blog, which is the oldest one, has the most categories (about 40 or so). Some of them are no longer active, others probably could be culled.

    With newer blogs I try to keep the number down.

    Michele

  11. MJ Ray says:

    5 major categories (RSS feeds and so on) containing a total of 10 to 12 pages. (My blog is page-per-topic rather than page-per-post.)

  12. James says:

    As few as possible.
    However, since the category becomes part of the URL for the post, if the post is important enough or different enough from other categories, I will add a category for SEO.
    I will also use subcategories for the same reason.

  13. John says:

    My blog has 47 categories. That is high, but my categories double as Technorati tags, so I try to keep them as specific as possible. I also think that specific tags make it easier for readers to find the information they are looking for. Fewer categories might make for a cleaner sidebar, but they are not good for information retrieval.

  14. Deb/NJ says:

    Two of my blogs are archived without categories, and when I added categories to them, it became overwhelming how many there could have been. I decided that all my blogs (blogger and wp) would have between 5-10 categories….rather than spreading them all out, i’m grouping them into basic groups.

  15. Ashish Mohta says:

    I have around 30 with only 160 posts.The only reason is you have to think fo future.You cant just stick to one category and keep filling it till you have enough post.You need to keep growing and fit to specific category to make it richer.Sometimes you might like to drop some and move some to other.It depends how you look into long term

  16. Malin says:

    I only have 7 categories. I actually cleaned them up yesterday from about 12 or so. It’s cluttering my sidebar ;P There is always a search function to use if you want to digg deeper than the main categories…

  17. Rhea says:

    I definitely think ‘less is more’ when it comes to categories. You have to have a few broad ones and leave it at that.

  18. Mike Panic says:

    My main blog’s name is Randomn3ss.com, it covers a lot of topics and there are several people that are writing for it in addition to myself. Everyone covers different topics, so currently there are 70 categories listed. Most articles published end up in at least two, some as many as 6 categories.

  19. Dave says:

    I have 9 categories setup on mine, but all of them are activated yet. I believe that too many categories takes away from a site.

  20. 13 on mine, but I think that’s okay for the type of blog – a personal musings blog where I’m still working out what I want to write about, and where the categories are related to what the rest of the website is about (the blog is only a part of it).

    Even on a personal site with “diversity” as a theme, I think there is merit in not appearing too unfocused, so hopefully I won’t go much over 13.

  21. reptile says:

    14 categories… I believe it’s a good number .

  22. Raghu says:

    That a clear and basic post – but good one to start off.

    After reading Darren’s blog, I just made a posting on the 3 steps to get resolved before posting on your blog – Go here for reading that post

    http://www.raghucs.com/2007/03/19/3-steps-before-you-make-a-blog-posting/

  23. I have 9, but that’s very relative. If it’s a personal blog and you can write on 100 different topics, then why not?

  24. Jim Duncan says:

    About 40; when I started just over two years ago, I thought I needed a category for everything – as it turns out, only about 20 categories have more than 50 posts, and only about 10 have more than 100 posts.

  25. I think categories should be defined according to your site structure. You can include a post in a couple different categories to get the chance to have more exposure but only if it is really related to the topic.

  26. Mephala says:

    I keep mine to 4: parenting, finance and investments, technology and the Internet, and life and health.

  27. ilker says:

    Like David Wilkinson, I have 18 categories as well.. funny, I too had to go check before writing here. So little we know about our own blogs =)

  28. Matt Wardman says:

    For a personal/political blog I am happy with maybe 20-25, or a few more if they are hierarchical.

    Far more tags, though.

    Matt

  29. I have been wondering about this exact same issue for the past two weeks. I know that selecting the names of your categories is important for SEO, but I also see some of the most successful blogs only have a few broad categories.

    I’m inclined to believe that if you have a highly specialized blog, where the focus is on a sub category of a sub category, you will probably only need 5 to 10 categories. My blog, CultureFeast, is the opposite. I write about everything under the sun.

    My solution is to try to keep main categories down to 20 at the most and add precise subcategories as I go. I don’t add a subcategory for every new blog, but I ask myself, “Am I likely to write about this topic enough to make it a subcategory?” That tells me whether the main category will work.

    When dealing with subcategories, the only other issue you face is presentation. I’m currently using the Cutline theme for WordPress because I’m a writer, not a designer. The theme allows for a unique page called “Archives”, which is simply a page with links to each month of posts and also links to each category and subcategory. The downside is that the presentation is lacking. In bulleted format, the subcategories make the page look sloppy. As I get around to it, I will toy with the design and try to find a way to make the presentation of categories and subcategories more appealing.

  30. Andrew says:

    I just deleted about 40 categories added on an ad-hoc basis over the past few years. I have come to the conclusion that categories are practically useless so will be following a different methodology shortly.

  31. i have hundreds of categories

    i use it like tags, and i limit the tags that WordPress show in sidebar

  32. Jacob Share says:

    10. I didn’t want the list to get out of hand, so I kept the names general enough that I should always be covered. Ask me how many tags…that’s a whole different story :)

  33. Rob O. says:

    I was anxiously awaiting the Blogger labels and have nearly 30 labels on 2Dolphins now. And sure enough, when I began adding labels, I searched (in vain) all over to try to find some kind of guide. I ended up just winging it.

    I was mostly interested in having these for the sake of navigation and/or categorization because our posts are scattered across a diverse range of topics.

    I wonder what, if any, role the Blogger labels play in the SEO value of our pages… Do these make any difference at all with regards to how Google et al view our site?

  34. LamaZone says:

    about 60 actually, but, as mentioned above, that is due to the fact that this version of WP does not allow me to use tags.
    it works for me.

  35. jamjammo says:

    I have 6 main categories with no more than 15 subs.
    I run a magazine styled site.

  36. i8pikachu says:

    I use categories sort of like tags. Amazon uses them too but calls them “nodes”. The key is not to look at categories as a way to list everything but as a system to help organize your content on a larger level. You don’t have to actually display a link to every category but often you’ll find that it comes in handy when you want to direct someone to all your articles related to “Madagascar primates”.

  37. I actually give this a lot of thought before posting.

    At the moment I have 7 categories. I really do prefer to keep the number low, but who knows, the number will most likely grow slightly. Must say though, as others have said : “Less is more.”

    Regards

  38. Well I have **cough** 47 categories.

    The question “but why so many?” has an interesting reason.
    I will try to explain if you bear with me.

    I have a social tagging start-up and I try to use tags more than usual in order to get some inspiration and understanding on the mental process of tagging. I have read dozens of articles on folksonomy and taxonomy but I believe you cannot truely grasp a concept until you learn to live with it.

    So I begin to live inside a tag-based world. I tag my scribbles, I tag notes that I jot down to a sheet of paper, I tag my calendar events,
    I even use a tag-based file system instead of using folders like everyone else.

    And I massively tag my blog entries.

    When I write a blog post. I attach as much tags (categories) to it as I can without even thinking a similar tag (category) exists.

    This results in several major categories (tags) with more than 10 posts and minor categories with one or two posts.

    Currently my blog is in a state between chaos and order — getting closer to an “ordered” state at each blog post I write.
    (or to rephrase my blog seems chaotic from outside, but there is an order in that chaos :) )

    Best.

  39. I write an astrology blog, so I display the twelve categories of all the zodiac signs at the top. This helps readers navigate to the topic they’re interested in. I also tag all posts ‘astrology’ for Technorati.

  40. something like 60.

    But I don’t think that my blog is the one you were reading :)

    Maybe they’re too much, but I display them as a nice category cloud (I wrote the plugin for wordpress 2.1 by myself…) and I find them nice and usable… should I drop the ones I use less? or should I hide them from my category cloud?

  41. Mary-Ann says:

    I have a motorsport blog and I just have “news”, “photos”, “videos” because I did have lots of different categories and it just got out of hand. Should I categorise by region? By championship? Type of post? All of the above?

    So I ended up deleting them all and using tags (UTW) to define posts more specifically.

  42. I had about 27 originally but in the process of my current redesign of the site I am narrowing it down to 7. I think the less the better. Readers can always use the site search to find something more specific.

  43. Matt Wardman says:

    I’ve had a more detailed look at categories on my blog.

    And now I feel a cull coming on …

    Matt

  44. At last count, 400 or so on my personal blog. I have another blog that has well over 1,000 categories.

  45. Frucomerci says:

    I have just started my blog but I have already 10!
    I think are enough! I don’t want to have more,
    Regards

  46. Steupz says:

    nearly 200

  47. Abid says:

    Could somebody tell me how to put a category on my blog? I use Blogger.com, i am new to blogging, any help appreciated.

    Thank you!

  48. moonburst says:

    At present I have 5, I will be adding another 5 in the upcoming weeks. They are general subjects but will be refined in the upcoming weeks as to what categories articles are supposed to fall under. 60 categories? Wow, maybe that’s a little bit too much.

    @ Mr. Abid, I have a tutorial on my blog that shows you how to do just that and is made for new bloggers!

  49. Eren says:

    Hi there,
    Well I believe the ideal is to have main categories and you can make several sub-categories under each main one if there is too much content.
    When you start out your blog you may not have many sub-categories but as time moves on there may be a need to create subcategories to organize things better.
    I would say don’t go over 10 main categories. Even if that means bunching a few of your categories into a more broad one.
    Studies have shown that the most categories that one looks at is 7 so going 3 overboard would be my limit.
    I do think that the page that the main categories are though should be optimized for the keyword phrase related to it.
    Right now i am mapping out my site so i have been trying to bunch the categories together so that things are easier to find.
    The advice of not creating an entire category for a topic that has a little amount of content is great:-)
    For that we need to think ahead before creating the site or blog-site as to what will we be writing most about.
    Many people don’t analyze before they build and then get into a disorganized mess when the site is made.
    This is why I have taken quite some time studying and analyzing before i actually build- so I don’t regret my categories- and decisions later on.
    Blessings,
    Eren

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  1. [...] There was a conversation last week on ProBlogger about the appropriate number of categories. The 92 responses gave figures ranging from 6 to more than 100 and explored the rationale for this decision, which was for a blog where posts were categorised by location. [...]