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WordPress Categories Tips for Beginners

WordPress Categories let you organise your content into categories. Why would you want to do that?

Well, visitors interested in a particular topic can browse the category for other articles to read. People may not be interested in all the topics you discuss so categorizing your content provides visitors an easy way to find what they are looking for.

Table of Contents

WordPress Primary Category

The Primary, or default, category in WordPress cannot be deleted. Categories in WordPress are required. If you don’t assign a category then it will be assigned to the “uncategorized” category.

From the Settings menu in the admin section of WordPress select the Writing sub menu. You will see a page with a “Writing Settings” section. From here you can select from the dropdown the default category to use for your posts.

default post category - wordpress
Set the default category for posts

Tip: Delete Uncategorized category in WordPress

Okay, we said above that this category cannot be deleted but it can be renamed. If you don’t like the Uncategorized name change it to something more suitable for your website.

You can do this from the Category admin page. Click on edit for the Uncategorized category and give it a new name.

Tip: List categories with post count in WordPress

The standard block editor with WordPress can be used to display a list of categories in your content. First, select the category widget from the block editor by selecting the + symbol in your editor.

You can filter the list of blocks by starting to type the name you are looking for. Select the Categories widget as shown below:

WordPress block editor
WordPress block editor

Once you have placed this widget on your page you will see the list of categories for your website. You can select the Block tab on the right hand sidebar to further customize the widget.

Customize the Categories widget
Customize the Categories widget

Here is a live view of that widget below:

Tip: Delete categories in WordPress

You can delete a category from the WordPress Category admin page:

WordPress Category admin page - category options

Deleting a category does not delete any posts. Here is the explanation from WordPress on deleting a category:

“Deleting a category does not delete the posts in that category. Instead, posts that were only assigned to the deleted category are set to the default category Uncategorized. The default category cannot be deleted.”

WordPress Category admin page

Can you filter categories in WordPress without a plugin?

It depends. You can remove or hide a category from a menu by using the WordPress menu admin page shown below.

hide unwanted categorizes
Hide unwanted categories – WordPress menu admin page

From the Menu Structure section expand a category you don’t want to show and press the Remove link. You have to remember to click the “Save Menu” button for the change to take effect.

For other elements, such as the Categories widget, you don’t get an option to exclude a category.

Tip: Bulk Delete categories in WordPress

You can bulk delete categories in WordPress from the Posts -> Categories admin page.

To bulk delete categories:

  1. Select categories you want to delete using the checkboxes next to the category name
  2. Click the “Bulk actions” drop down and select Delete
  3. Press the “Apply” button

WordPress categories widgets and plugins

WordPress comes with a category editor already. Why would you want a plugin then?

Well, the editor is basic and doesn’t let you change much about how categories are displayed. For instance, you can’t style the category page much using the standard editor.


TaxoPress provides comprehensive management of Categories (and Tags). Mass edit categories, merge, edit, rename – all operations related to Categories can be done easily with this plugin.

taxpress wordpress plugin
TaxoPress WordPress plugin

There is a free version of this plugin you can use and a pro version with extra features and better support.

Features supported by TaxoPress:

  • Related Posts
  • Tag Clouds
  • Auto Links
  • Suggest Terms
  • Mass editing
  • Add, Edit, Rename, Merge Terms
  • Delete unused Terms

This plugin is good if you have a large number of categories and need help organising them.

Plugin page:

Subscribe to Category

Subscribe to Category WordPress plugin
Subscribe to Category plugin

It does exactly what it says. Visitors can receive an email for future posts you publish for one or more categories. The sign up widget is shown below.

sign up widget
Sign up widget

A visitor can sign up for all new content you publish or perhaps they are only interested in some of the categories. They can also unsubscribe to future posts from this widget.

Rather than set up a mailing list and figure out how to segment your list by interests you could use this plugin instead. You instantly get different mailing lists for each of your categories.

A quick and free way of informing readers about your new posts without the complexity of having to set up and configure mailing lists.

Plugin page:

Post Categories Image with Slider and Grid

This plugin allows you to display categories in a grid or slider control. The plugin is compatible with all page builders including the default WordPress Gutenburg editor. The Pro version of the plugin has over 10+ designs and is highly customizable. Actively developed and up to date for the latest WordPress version.

To display a category grid use the shortcode [ pci-cat-grid ] or [ pci-cat-slider ] in your editor of choice.

Post Categories Image with Slider and Grid Features
Plugin Features

A featured image can be uploaded for each category which is great when displaying categories in the grid or slider control. See the image below to see what the category grid looks like.

Post Categories Image Grid display
Post Categories Image Grid display

Plugin page:

Final Thoughts

The WordPress admin section gives you admin and management features for categories but they are limited. No category images, no grid or sliders.

By making use of WordPress plugins you can increase the usefulness of categories and display them in more attractive manner.

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