Producing interesting content may be the key task for all bloggers but figuring out the infrastructure and the categorization of content cannot be forgotten. In most cases this is something you will decide when launching your blog and will not need to worry too much about it afterwards. The issue is that most newbie bloggers get overwhelmed with the different options and don’t realise the importance of getting it all right. Let’s take a look at different features of your site infrastructure and possibilities you have in regards to categorizing your content.
Domain name – The obvious one is the domain name. It is the main part of your site and will be the part of your blog that most visitors notice first be it on search engine result pages or in their social media feeds. I’ve already covered the three methods you can choose from when selecting a domain name.
Permalinks – Permalinks are the individual URL’s of your blog posts. These are permanent and should never change hence the name permalink. There are many different formats to choose from and this decision is best taken shortly after installing WordPress before you publish any of the content. To do this go into “Settings” then “Permalinks”. These are the default options you have in WordPress:
- Default: http://howtomakemyblog.com/?p=123
- Day and name: http://howtomakemyblog.com/2013/07/28/sample-post/
- Month and name: http://howtomakemyblog.com/2013/07/sample-post/
- Numeric: http://howtomakemyblog.com/archives/123
- Post name: http://howtomakemyblog.com/sample-post/
I would recommend not to use the “Default” setting as that only has the page ID number and doesn’t feature any keywords from your post headline which makes it harder to rank in search engines. Which option you go for really depends on what you want your URL’s to look like. On my blog I choose the custom options of /%category%/%postname%/ to show both my category name and the post name in my URL’s. On some recent projects I started I removed /%category%/ and was just left with the post name. I find that using post name only makes it much cleaner, shorter and simpler.
Navigation menu – Navigation menu is one of the key things for your visitors. If they are new to your blog the navigation could help lead them to more information about your content, to more information about you and the other authors, to the archives of your blog and to your most popular content. I have chosen to put my navigation prominently under the header image and currently the main page I link to is my about page where I have information about me and about the blog.
Categories – Categories allow you to easily group your post topics to allow your users to find your content easier. WordPress by default uses category “Uncategorized” which I am not a fan of so I make sure to remove it as soon as I install a new blog. You can remove categories and add new categories by going to “Posts” and then “Categories”. If you go into “Settings” and then “Writing” in your WordPress interface you can select a new “Default Post Category” as well as otherwise all posts will by default go into “Uncategorized”. I focus on categories on my blog and link to category pages from individual posts. Some bloggers would for example link to category pages from the navigation menu or from the sidebar as well.
Tags – Many bloggers wonder what the difference between tags and categories is. Tags are similar to categories but they are generally used to describe your blog content in more detail so when you want to describe the post in more specific terms you use tags instead of or in addition to a category. Most WordPress designs allow you to easily select if you want to show category and tags in your posts so do consider what is the way you want to present your content. I have chosen to use categories only so you don’t see tags on my blog. Again some bloggers would link to their tag pages from their navigation or from the sidebar.
Which of the above you choose to use on your blog and how much importance your place on each will depend on your needs. On my blogs I have for example decided not to focus on tags as I haven’t seen many benefits of doing so, but depending on the variety and topics of your content you may want to do that to allow your users to find your content easier. Important things to get right are definitely the domain name, permalinks and a good way of leading visitors deeper to your content by using navigation menu and sidebar.