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Blog Exercises: Category Cross-Pollination

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.In these Blog Exercises, I am faced with a category quandary.

For the most part, these are blogging tips, so they should go into my Blogging Tips category as well as Blog Exercises category, right?

Maybe right.

These Blog Exercises are meant to have some form of order, though they may be done in any order, they are still a collection of posts related to each other, a body of work, if you will.

Yet they are blogging tips. They are helpful advice that every blogger needs to consider to improve their blogging skills.

Do I put every Blog Exercise post into the Blogging Tips category, too? Or should I constrain myself to putting Blog Exercises into its own category? Or should I decide that some Blog Exercise posts are worthy of including in Blogging Tips as well, mixing and matching, category cross-pollinating my posts?

This seems like a simple exercise, but it is one that we all face when we publish a post. Where do we put it so people can find it.

I have some self-guidelines for category cross-pollination.

  1. If it serves the audience seeking that specific category of content, put it there.
  2. If it is directly related to its category, and only lightly related to another, do not cross-pollinate. Rely on tags for micro-categorization.

It still can be a test of your organizational skills to decide where to put what and when.

The decision is also a moving target. I recently changed the category name of Blog Challenges to Blog Exercises, finding that a more appropriate category title for the content within it. I’m rethinking all my categories on , developed long before tags and other forms of categorization were around. I went from 8 categories to 46. Now I seem to have to boil these down to a precious 5-10 categories. It’s hard work to figure out where to put your posts from the past as well as the future.

This isn’t just an exercise for those new to blogging and planning their blog. This is a non-stop re-evaluation for all bloggers, no matter how long they have been blogging.

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.Your Blog Exercise today is to go through your posts and re-evaluate where you put them in the past as well as the future.

In Blog Exercise: Category Brainstorming, the first of the Blog Exercises, you were to take a serious look at your categories on your blog and re-evaluate their validity and appropriateness to your blogging purpose and subject matter.

Today, re-visit that exercise and go through your categories and do some cleaning. Just like with flowers and plants, proper pollination is critical to their survival. So it is with the organization of your content in categories.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.


  1. Posted February 12, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    It is hard for me to minimize cross-categorization. I continue to work on it. I do use tags, but then I think I use too many tags (but not as many as some blog posts I see). Thanks for the great articles.

    • Posted February 13, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Odds are you are using more categories than you need rather than too many tags. Tag clouds are usually limited to the most popular 25 tags (most posts in that tag), while categories have no such limits. I wouldn’t worry about too many tags unless you are using them inappropriately, like tagging full sentences or topics unrelated to the content for spammy SEO techniques, which I know you wouldn’t do. 😀

      Why is it hard for you to minimize category cross-pollination? Your thoughts might help others learn more.

  2. Posted April 21, 2015 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    You are an awesome ‘go to’ Lorelle. Thanks for all the info you create here. I am STILL – always and forever doing these categories and tags sorting! Keep having to come back and re- read your info.
    One small thing: I am looking at my tags and there are many with only one post. Sometimes they are very random, so I am deleting those. Not sure how to ask what I want to here!
    Do we tag a post knowing it will be the only one with THAT tag? (not categ) eg: A name of a painting or artist.
    Or best to leave it for the title or content? I am asking both regarding readers and SEO.
    I IMAGINE tagging ONE post a tag is OK, but it can really make the tags so many. Than again – as your example of the book with the index at the back – there may only be one recipe that uses sea-weed… they still gonna have to put it in aren’t they?
    As you say – it is so ongoing! 😉 Trying to keep it SIMPLE and varied all at the same time for both readers AND myself!
    At least I have categ down to 8 with some subs (and to expand subs)
    Not TOO sure on the names – but for organisation purposes they will do for now and as I think of best fits I shall change them.
    Any suggestions an what one would do with those random ‘social nick-nack blog posts’? I am leaning to naming them ‘social’! Alternatively I could just remove them and not do them anymore – but they are such fun and add a bit of character that suits the type of blog I have. (I THINK!)
    Ok – enough – too many questions all at once. Really just wanted to say thanks.

    • Posted April 26, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Good question. A tag has nothing to do with the number of posts. Tag for the content. Think of tags as index words, the words someone will use to find that post. 1-15 tags is a good range. LOL! You may only have one tag or many. Depends upon the index words you need to identify for that post.

      Categories are dependent upon the number of posts. My rule of thumb for a site about 1 year old is a tag requires a minimum of 25 posts (10 if younger) to qualify as a category, but there are some major conditions to that. If you are going to blog on that category topic for the next five years, great. If this is a one time event, an article series, current or topical event, then maybe it will never see the light of a category day.

      You can have millions of tags and only 5 categories. The tag cloud may be set to the most popular 75, 50, 25, or 5, whatever you wish.

      Names are critical. I will be covering more on this in my WordPress School as naming categories is a challenge for most people.

      Random posts are often categorized per their topic or relative topic (in Cats even though you are talking about dogs – with mention that you normally like cats but this post is about a dog 😀 ) or tossed if you honestly can’t find a topic for them. Generalized category names tend to be Off-Topic, Random Thoughts, News, Current Events, Life in General, My Life, and other fairly useless and ignored categories.

      What I mean by the latter is that once they move off the front page or your visitor’s vision, rarely will people click on those category names as the content isn’t focused nor helpful to their life or interest unless you make it so. A category called My Life is great if your site is biographical and these are stories about your life and how you live it, but you have to sell it to your readers.

      I understand completely how difficult this is. I’ve done my own battles with categories with myself and clients for two decades plus. It is always a work in progress. Keep progressing. 😀

      • Posted April 26, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Thank you so much for taking time to respond as such 😀
        I guess the end story is: Onward plod and march where-ever possible?!
        Makes sense about the tags. Completely… so now – I can build them all up again! Geeeeees. LOL! (being true to my moniker at the moment hey)

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