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

Categories are meant for grouping and organizing your posts. 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 5 and 10 in order to properly categorize your posts and make your site easier to browse.

Categories are broad terms like “Fashion”, “Recipes”, “DIY”. They’re the main, general topics that you write posts about. Don’t get too specific about your categories, like “Spinach” – 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 intoeven smallercategories, 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 sub categories of sub categories are filed under the sub category 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. You can choose to display posts from a certain category or sub category.

Tags

Tags are for describing the specific details of a blog post. They let you micro-categorize your content. Tags are not hierarchical.

For example, you might add “spinach” and “low sodium” as tags when writing a low sodium recipe that includes spinach as an ingredient.