WordPress offers two powerful ways to organize your site content. We suggest setting up a system / approach for doing this from the start.

There is no one “right” way to organize your blog, and you can always modify and change as you use it more.

Starting With Categories

Think of categories as large buckets of topics you might organize your blog under (although nothing stops you from creating many buckets). When you create categories ahead of time, they become available as check boxes when you author.

Let’s start. In your WordPress dashboard, look under the Posts menu for Categories.

Change The Default Category Name

WordPress comes pre-built with a default category; if you do not select any categories when you write, this is how it will be categorized, with the lovely name “Uncategorized”. Do not accept default! If you hover over the category name, look for the Edit link.

Such a boring category name, let’s edit it.

Say hello to the Category editing screen. It does explain itself well.

Change the Name field to represent how you want it seen on your site. It can be long if you like flowery names. The slug is how that name will be represented when it is used to construct a web address for the category, so these should be shorter (and lower case).

And is the screen says, the Description field may or may not be used depending on the Theme your blog uses, but it makes sense to write it just in case.

Add Categories

You may organize your categories by theme, or maybe by ones that match your teaching topics, or general ones such as “Resources”, “Ideas”, or even “Odds and Ends”. You can add them later.

But for now, we are going to ask each Ontario Extend Participant to add a category structure that reflects the project themes of Attributes of a 21st Century Educator. The reason, as we will see later, is that having the same categories will allow this site to group blog posts from different writers who use the same category (e.g. so we can see all posts people have written related to “Experimenter”.

Start by going back to the main Category listing. We can add new categories using the fields on the left side. Add the first one Attributes and any description you like for this category.

You may notice the slug field is left blank – if it is not entered, WordPress will create it for you by changing what ever you typed in the first field into lower case (and converting any spaces to a “-“).

Click Add New Category and notice it appear on the right side list.

That’s all it takes to create top level buckets of organizers for your blog. Feel free to add a few more that you might think are useful, perhaps based on the Venn Diagram activity we did earlier.

You can edit or delete categories at any time. But let’s add some interesting refinement, —
child categories.

Adding Child Categories

The WordPress Category structure can be hierarchical, like an outline. We will see how that works soon, but trust us for now.

Return to the Category listing, and Add Teacher For Learning for the first child category. The key step here is to select from the Parent menu, the Attributes category you created earlier.

When this Category is saved, you should notice that it appears beneath the parent Attributes category on the left side. You have birthed a child category!

You may notice that after adding a child category, WordPress is smart enough to keep the same Parent listed from the menu.

Add these additional child categories:

  • Collaborator Sharing and enhancing one’s own educational approaches through collaborations within, across and between disciplines.
  • Curator A producer and consumer of appropriate educational resources through sharing and development.
  • Scholar An awareness and appreciation of effective, research-based, discipline- appropriate pedagogical approaches.
  • Technologist Fluency using learning technology in educationally effective ways.
  • Experimenter An openness to try, reflect & learn from new approaches, pedagogy and technologies to support student learning.

By putting your posts into categories as you write, your blog will automatically create a link that you can see everything written in say the Scholar category. And by adding a post to a child category, it is automatically included in the parent, so the link for Attributes will show everything added to it’s child categories.

What About Tags?

It can be confusing! WordPress offers an additional means to organize by free form adding tags to your posts. You could certainly organize your entire blog in Categories only, or just tags.

We will see them in use when we (soon) start writing posts.

Our suggesting is to keep your Categories as broad organizers, ones you can see using often. Tags can be used as more descriptors that may cut across Categories, or ones used less frequently. You might tag for different courses you teach, or different media, or just to mark as “important” or “for fred”.

See Also:

Extending with WordPress Guide

Featured Image: Paint flickr photo by Thomas Hawk shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license