Understanding WordPress category pages and how they relate to the Business Directory categories

What are WordPress category pages?

Whether you are using your blog posts to share local news, association news or highlight member activities, once you have more than a few blog posts on your site, you may want to start grouping similar types of posts together to make them more organized for your readers. WordPress gives you a built-in category system to help with this.

If you are regularly posting member news, community updates, awards, emerging issues, etc, ideally you are using blog posts as opposed to pages. WordPress blog posts are specifically designed for creating and sharing content on a regular basis and then organizing your content using categories. 

Whether you are using your blog posts to share association news or highlight member activities or both, once you have more than a few blog posts on your site, you will see that it can be helpful to group similar types of posts together to make it easier to find. WordPress gives you a built-in category system to help with this.

For example, an association might have several types of posts: 

  • Member news
  • Emerging Issues
  • Community Development
  • Education
  • Awards & Recognition
  • Workforce
  • Technology

Grouping posts together by category or or post type helps visitors quickly see what topics you are posting about and makes it easier to navigate your site to find the topics they are interested in.

Create a new blog post

Before you can categorize anything, you will need to create some individual blog posts. 
Go to Posts >> Add New to get started.

Notice that each time you create a new blog post, a unique URL is created.

single post, no category

Once you have published your post, you can click on the URL to view your post.

unique url for WordPress category pages
WordPress post layout

To share your posts with your website visitors, you could link to each URL separately from your site’s menu.

add WordPress posts to menu

However, if you had to add the URL for every blog post to your site’s menu, that would get overwhelming pretty quickly.

Display WordPress Category Page

On the other hand, if you group your posts by category, you can share a whole set of posts, based on the topic (category) your reader is interested in. The more content your site has, the more important it becomes to stay organized so that your visitors can easily find what they are looking for on your site.

For example, if you were to add several posts to the category ‘Grand Openings’,

WordPress post category

By assigning a category to your blog (or news) posts, WordPress will let you show all of the posts in your Grand Opening category on one page.  Plus, every time you add a new post to this category, it will automatically show up on your Grand Opening category page.

WordPress category page

NOTE: Category pages pick up their formatting from your theme. The easiest way to change the layout of your blog or blog category pages is to use a post block plugin.

Add a WordPress category page to your menu

WordPress not only creates a unique URL for each post, but for each category as well. Category URL’s will look something like this: https://yoursite.com/category/grand-openings

Because each category has its own URL, you can add some or all of your blog categories to your site’s navigation.

  • Go to Appearance >> Menus.
  • Click on categories .
  • Select categories.
  • Then click on ‘Add to Menu’.  
Add WordPress category to site menu
Hint: Don’t forget to save your changes!  

How to edit WordPress & Business Directory categories

You can create as many categories as you need to organize your content. WordPress stores your categories for you and keeps a count of the number of posts in each one.

  • To view or update your post categories go to Posts >> Categories.
  • To view or update your Business Directory categories go to Businesses >> Categories.
WordPress category pages post count

Here you can add a new category, edit an existing category, or click on the category count to view all posts in that category.

Formatting WordPress category pages

The layout of your category pages is determined by your theme. One way to change the layout of your category pages is to edit the /category/ page template. However, editing the /category/page template from within the WordPress dashboard is not recommended for two reasons, 

  1. Because you will need to know php code in order to do this.
  2. Because any changes you make will be lost when the theme is updated.

Note that it is also possible to create your own template within a child theme and then customize the template. WPBeginner.com offers a great tutorial on this process here: How to create category templates in WordPress, by WPbeginner.com (external link)

A much easier option is to simply create a new page from your site’s dashboard and then use a post block plugin to create your own layout, limiting the posts displayed on the page by a specific category. 

Formatting Business Directory category pages

Each listing in your Chamber Dashboard Business Directory is a custom post type. Using Business Categories, you can group similar directory listings together making it much easier for visitors to navigate your site.

Rather than having to scroll thru every listing in your directory, visitors can simply click on a link to see only the listings in the category that they are interested in.

See how to add a category filter or category quick links to your Directory.

Chamber Dashboard business directory category search page

If you are using the Chamber Beautiful theme (external link) or the Chamber Inspired theme (external link), your category pages are already designed to look gorgeous.

See Live Demo of Directory Search page layout (external link)