The Difference Between Categories and Tags
What are WordPress Categories and Tags? What’s the difference between the two?
Knowing the difference can help you organize your site correctly.
Categories are meant for grouping and organizing your posts and other post types. You can also add categories to WooCommerce products and your portfolio (if theme supports a portfolio). Think of these as the general topics or the table of contents for your site. Categories are hierarchical, which means you can create sub-categories.
There’s no specific number of categories that you should have. But in most cases, you’ll want somewhere between 4 and 10 in order to properly categorize your posts and make your site and blog easier to browse.
Categories are broad terms like “Fashion”, “Recipes”, “DIY”, "Lifestyle". They’re the main, general topics that you write posts about. Don’t get too specific about your categories, like “Comfy Shirts” or "Tomatoes" – that’s what the tags are for!
You also have the option to create sub-categories which are helpful if you have a large category with a lot of posts that could be grouped into smaller sections. An example of this is “Recipes > Plant-Based, Dinners, Desserts, Meal Preps”, where Plant-Based, Dinners, Desserts, Meal Preps are the sub-categories.
If you have a ton of recipe posts that can be broken down into even smaller categories, you can add another sub-category to a sub-category. An example of this would be “Recipes > Plant-Based > Vegan Desserts”, where Vegan Desserts is the sub-category of Plant-Based. These subcategories of subcategories are filed under the subcategory AND the main category.
If you don’t give your post a category, WordPress will automatically assign it to the default category “Uncategorized”. It’s helpful to rename the Uncategorized category to something like “Other” or “Miscellaneous”. You can rename this category by going to Posts > Categories > Click ‘edit’ under Uncategorized > Rename the category.
Categories are also needed when using most kinds of Featured Posts plugins or post blocks. This is because they allow you to choose to display posts from a certain category or sub-category.
Learn how to add Categories to your posts here.
Tags are for describing the specific details of a blog post. They let you micro-categorize your content. Tags are not hierarchical like categories are.
For example, you might add “tomatoes” and “low sodium” as tags when writing a low sodium recipe that includes tomatoes as an ingredient. You can add as many tags as you want to a post.