Organizing your posts in WordPress

Let’s be honest: WordPress looks deceptively simple. You install WordPress, log in, see a section for posts, add a new one, and the post editor looks pretty similar to any other word processor you’ve used. You type out your thoughts, maybe bold some text, add a few links, and hit the big blue publish button. Done.

Let’s say you do that twice a week every week for a year. Now you’ve got a website with more than a hundred posts to browse! Things can get messy really quickly. And if they’re messy for you, imagine what it’s like to visit your website for the first time. Can new people find more of the content they love? Can you keep track of what you’ve done in the past so you can reference it in the future? Let’s talk about a few ways you can keep your posts organized in WordPress, whether you’re on post number one or one hundred.

Organizing your posts in WordPress from elembee.com

Use categories and tags properly

Categories and tags are a big point of a confusion for a lot of bloggers. Their use tends to go from one extreme to the other, with either everything filed under “Uncategorized,” or with 20 tags on each post.

Think of your blog as a book, and categories are your chapters, while tags are the index. Categories are the things you want to be known for. Tags can help you get more specific or establish a relationship between posts in different categories (for example, I’ve written about email marketing as it relates to both blogging and business, so I have a tag for that).

Categories are also unique in that you can create parent and child categories. TomboyKC uses this functionality really well. When you first visit their site, you’ll notice that they have 5 main categories. Click on the personal style category, and you’ll see posts categorized for each of the co-founders, Lynsey and Katie. To accomplish this, they have separate categories for Lynsey and Katie under the parent category of personal style. This is a great way to get more specific with your organization while still allowing posts to show up under broader categories.

Merge similar tags with few posts

As your blog grows and changes over time, you may find tags or categories that no longer have any use, need to be renamed, or can be merged with similar tags or categories. Or you may find that what was once a tag needs to become a category. Enter the Term Management Tools plugin. Upon installation, it adds extra functionality to the bulk actions for categories and tags, allowing you to do any of these tasks quickly and easily.

Visualize your posts on a calendar

When you need to reference an old post, the WordPress search functionality is only reliable if you can remember an exact phrase from your post. But usually you can remember when you wrote the post. That’s why I like the Editorial Calendar plugin. It shows all published and scheduled posts in a calendar so you can easily find what you’re looking for, see at a glance what’s coming up, and even create drafts directly in the calendar.

I also swear by CoSchedule (referral link) — in addition to your WordPress posts, it allows you to schedule social media directly from the calendar and also attach it to posts. That way if you decide to publish a post later than planned, your associated social media is rescheduled along with it.

How do you keep your posts organized in WordPress?

P.S. Want more WordPress tips? Check out my ebook Make WordPress Work.

4 Comments

  1. Chrystina wrote:

    It took me 2.5+ years to figure out tags and categories. People kept telling me I had too many and then one day it just sort of clicked and I did a complete reorganization of my site. I did a mini series on how to start a blog a few months ago because some friends had been asking and part 2 was all about thinking about organization, categories and tags – it also shows how I currently break things down (and how there’s definitely still room for clean-up): http://chrystinanoel.com/2015/02/26/how-to-start-a-blog-part-2/.

    Posted 6.2.15
    • Great post, thanks for sharing!

      Posted 6.22.15
  2. iHanna wrote:

    I love using wordpress and tags +categories is so much FUN to play with!

    Posted 7.15.15

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