Reorganizing the blog’s categories (again)

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A year ago, I gave the blog’s categories its first major reorganization since I started up the self-hosted version of the blog in 2010.

Since then, however, a few more things have changed, and I thought it was time to organize the categories further. You’ll see I reduced the number of categories back to (basically) what they were before. I didn’t really have enough posts in the “TV,” “Other Media,” and “Movies” categories to justify their existence, so they’ve been re-merged back into one “Media” category, with the TV/movie categories turned into tags. (The fact I stopped writing my weekly box office posts also reduced the point of a movies category.)

For comics, I’ve kept the idea of subcategories, given the sheer number of posts. However, they’ve been reorganized into: “DC Comics,” “Marvel,” “Independent,” “Comic Strips,” and “Comics News/Trivia.” The “Independent” category basically includes all non-Big Two related companies. “Comics News/Trivia” I admit is still a bit vague, as there’ll be some overlap with the individual companies’ subcategories. But it’ll hold the posts related to covering comics news aspects like monthly sales figures, as well as some trivia posts that cover multiple comic categories/subcategories.

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  1. Oooo. five categories. That’s a nice number. As a writer, I like to think that people actually USE the categories. That people click on the category he/she is interested. But really, categories probably serve more just to tell people what you write about. Limiting the categories down helps people to better digest the scope of what you cover.

    And you make a really good point about how some of your older categories, you didn’t write as much about, so you merged them together. However, with the purpose of your site being your own personal brand, I’m not sure people are that concerned about the frequency of what you write about. People are probably more interested in the range of topics that define you as a person. (oh, that’s scary, defining a person… maybe not the best words to use, but there is some truth to that).

    Now if this website was a magazine website, then yes, you would need to have the frequency to back up the categories. People would expect daily or weekly articles in the TV section. But for a personal brand, the categories work differently. I could be wrong on this, as these are just embryonic thoughts.

    The other thing that makes a difference in how categories are used on a site, is how they are presented. If it’s just a simple list in a navbar, then categories are really more for the “here’s what I write about”. However, if the categories are presented as a unique section on the site, where each category page is nicely designed, then I would expect the posts to be updated more frequency. The social media guy for the Chicago Tribune has his own site where he presents the categories very prominently, like a magazine: I love the style of presentation; however, you can quickly see that the posts in each category aren’t updated that frequently, so it gives me the impression that the site isn’t updated that often.

    So with your categories being in simple list, non-magazine style, I wouldn’t worry too much about having a longer list. But as psychologists say, lists shouldn’t be longer than seven items. Seven is the number of items our brains can pretty much handle at once–hence why phone numbers have only seven digits. I break that rule on my site with 14 categories. At some point I’ll work to narrow them down. Maybe I shouldn’t aim for seven, instead maybe I should go more simple and do five like yours.

    This past weekend, I moved my twin brother’s website over to Wordpress, and categorized his posts. He has four: Art, design, tech, and uncategorized. It feels pretty good to pretty much have just three categories. It makes those three really strong. Maybe I’ll aim for three on mine!

    1. I think it’s best to keep the number of categories down and rely more on tags (and maybe subcategories) as necessary. Various articles I looked up about blogging/WordPress didn’t seem to have a specific recommended number of categories, so I suppose it depends on your needs. In my case, I needed enough categories to cover my blog’s main topics, as well as a single catch-all (“Miscellaneous”) for things like website update news, etc. I divided the comics category into subcategories a year ago to deal better with the large number of comics posts. Everything else I have tags for, though some of those probably need some pruning as well (tags with only 1-2 items, near-duplicates, etc.).

      Yes, it’s a self-run blog, but I’ve been trying to step up the frequency of posts to daily or near-daily, in a bid to boost traffic/avoid long stretches between posts. Not that that makes thinking of blog topics easy.

      As for phone numbers, some countries do have phone numbers longer than seven digits!

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