How to Update Categories and Tags

In this 5 Minute Fix, I'm going to show you how to update your categories and tags properly.



So if you are using self-hosted Wordpress, you can navigate to “Posts” and you can either go to “categories” or “tags” first. So let’s just start with categories. Now for site structure purposes, you need to limit your main categories to no more than five. You can see that some of mine have hyphens in front of them, which means those are subcategories. If you're not familiar with how to create a subcategory, you simply add the name of your category and you choose a parent. So as you can see I have “DIY and Crafts” as a parent category and these are subcategories of that. So when you're navigating your categories anytime you see a hyphen that means that there is a parent involved.

If you ever decide that you want to delete your categories or rename them it's really easy to do. You can rename them by doing a quick edit and you can even change the slug here. The slug is what appears in the URL so you can change that if you want that to be more optimized for SEO. If you decide that you want to delete a category or combine a couple of categories, there's a quick and easy way to do that.

Let's say for example I want to get rid of “cookies and bars” and “cakes and cupcakes” and just add them all to “desserts”. So the easiest way to do this is to go to the category that you want to delete first and click on the number on the right-hand side. This number tells you how many posts are in that category or subcategory. I like to go in and select all of the posts that are in that category and do a bulk edit, making sure that I go in and check the box that I want to add them to, so I'm going to put all of these into “desserts”. And we're just going to click “update” and it's going to take just a few minutes because there are several posts that have to be updated.

You can see that all of these posts are now in the “desserts” category, so I can then go back to my categories list and I can go to my “cookies and bars” sub category and just delete it because I have already added those posts to the “dessert” category.

In this 5 Minute Fix, I'm going to show you how to update your categories and tags properly.
In this 5 Minute Fix, I'm going to show you how to update your categories and tags properly.

So that's how you update your categories. Now if you want to update your tags you do that very similarly. As you can see there is a huge number of tags. You should not have a ton of tags. Back in the day, people thought the tags were meant to describe your content when in reality tags are meant to link content together. So if you do a series on your blog you might want to create a tag that links all those posts together, or if you have, say 4 or 5 different categories and you write something holiday-related in each of those categories, the name of the holiday could be a tag that links all of that content together.

This particular blog is going to need a lot of cleanup in the tags category. So the way that I like to clean this up is, I click on the word “count”, and it shows me if there are any tags that have zero posts in them - it puts them in order from least to greatest. So really what I do is just go delete tags that have zero posts in them.

This is also a problem when you have a lot of contributors to your website. Typically your contributors are going to go in and they're going to create a whole bunch of different tags. We’re going to go in and delete all the tags with zero posts in them. And then you just repeat this process.

So when you get to the tags that have a lot of content, these are the ones you go through and decide if you want to keep or just update. So obviously “Christmas” is a good tag to have. I might have Christmas content in a home decor post, I might also have some DIY & Craft content, and probably some stuff in my home tour that’s related to Christmas. So the “Christmas” tag can tie all of that content together.

“Home Decor” [tag] is redundant in my case because I have a “home decor” category. So that’s how you go in and strategically update or delete your tags, and going forward you want to make sure you are only using categories and tags you already have. Be very strategic about how you use categories and tags. This is going to help with your site structure, it’s going to help your users navigate your site a lot easier, and it’s going to boost your overall SEO.