Hello and welcome to this easy-to-understand (hopefully) series of articles on blogging for beginners. This article is all about menus, categories and subcategories. Please note that you can also find this series of articles on blogging for beginners as a Kindle eBook. I personally think that if you are looking for help to learn how to blog, then downloading the ebook will make your life a lot easier. It’s also incredibly cheap (or maybe even free if you happen to find it on a promo day!) so click on the image below.
We mentioned internal linking in the last article and I want to talk about it in more detail in the next article. However, even though this article is mainly about categories and subcategories, I still want you to have internal linking in the back of your mind.
This is because part of the biggest problem with internal linking is not having enough posts to link to, especially when your website is new. While this is certainly annoying and can’t be easily solved, by having a plan for your menus, categories and subcategories you can at least prepare for it. So, for this exercise, and to hopefully make things clearer, I am going to take travel blogging as an example.
Menus and Categories
So, you are someone who spends your life travelling. Maybe you have retired and want to write down your experiences of travelling around Europe or America in your camper van. You also want to start writing a travel blog to show people photos of all the wonderful places you have been to.
That’s great but there is no point starting without a plan. In fact, we have already talked about outlines for your posts. Think of this as an outline for your entire website.
The first thing you want to do is think about the structure of your blog. This is important because it will determine the main menu of your site. The aim of your menu is to make it easy for people to navigate around your site, which means it needs to be predictable.
So, let’s imagine you want your travel blog to be primarily about Europe. In this case, you may want the categories of your menu to be divided into European regions, for example, Northern Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and so on.
What we meant by being predictable is that your website visitors would expect Northern Europe to include Finland, Sweden, Norway, and so on. Obviously, you would not include Spain or Bulgaria in Northern Europe. Of course, there aren’t exactly rules for this either. Would you include Iceland? Probably not but you might.
Now, let’s talk about another reason why you need to think about the structure of your main menu. Let’s think about our travel blog again.
Categories and Subcategories
In your travel blog, you probably wouldn’t want your main menu categories to be countries because you have a limited amount of space in your menu. I know it sounds strange to say that there is limited space when talking about websites, which, in theory, have unlimited space, but there are times when thinking about space is important.
This is especially true when thinking about menus. If you look at any website, you will almost always see that the main menu only uses one line. That is because if more than one line is used, it looks very cluttered and becomes difficult to read. Back to our travel blog.
Instead of using European countries as our main categories, we could start with the regions in Europe. Then, we could then put countries (as subcategories) under the main categories. For instance, if we took Northern Europe as an example of a category, we would then have Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden as subcategories.
Mind you, with eight countries that might not look great either so you may want to create two bigger subcategories of Scandinavia and Baltic States. That would then mean that Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland would be subcategories of Scandinavia and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania would be subcategories of the Baltic States.
Remember, the above is just an example. In fact, until I looked at the map above, I wouldn’t have included the UK and Ireland in Northern Europe, so there are no real rules. And there is definitely no Internet Menu Police ready to jump on your website just because you left the UK and Ireland out. Do whatever makes you happy or, maybe more importantly, whatever will make your visitors happy.
Planning for Better Internal Linking
As I already said, the above is only an example as the menu structure of your blog depends on what you’re aiming for. For instance, your travel blog might be based on activities rather than countries. It could even be based on some form of language. Countries that speak good English compared to countries that don’t, for example. Not sure where England would come in though. Hahaha, only joking English people.
Wrapping It All Up
And there you have it. I’m not saying that those are good ideas by the way. The main point is that you need to think about categories and subcategories before you do anything else. And by thinking about categories, you can plan your internal linking better, which is what we are going to talk about in the next chapter.