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Category Pages

This guide will walk you through how to create category pages for your blog, to display groupings of similar posts on pages other than your front page.

You can do this in three simple steps:

  1. Assign the same category to all of the posts you want to appear on a given page.
  2. Create a custom menu in Appearance → Menus.
  3. Using the “Categories” module to the left of the Appearance → Menus screen, add the categories you want to appear as pages to your menu, and drag to arrange them.

Need more detail? Read on.

When you think of a blog, you probably think of a simple, single-page website with a reverse-chronological list of posts on the front page. Indeed, this is the default structure for WordPress.com blogs. But blogging has gotten much fancier since the early days — now it’s not unusual to see blogs that are more like websites, with multiple pages organized in a menu across the top of the site.

Menu

Sometimes these pages contain some bit of information that doesn’t change, such as directions to a business. Other times, the pages contain a collection of posts grouped by a particular subject.

For example, say you have a magazine-type blog, and you want to have a page for all your book reviews and another page for all of your music reviews. On WordPress.com, it’s not possible to assign one post to appear on Book Reviews and another on Music Reviews. You can still achieve that effect, however, by using category pages. This article will walk you through how to do this using categories and a custom menu.

Step 1. Organize your posts into categories.

Categories are a tool for grouping similar kinds of posts. They help your readers navigate your site. Categories are meant to be used more broadly than their cousins, tags. For example, say you wrote a book review of To Kill a Mockingbird. You might add it to the category “Book Reviews” and tag it with “Harper Lee,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Southern literature,” etc.

This is why categories work better for grouping your posts into different pages. First, decide how many pages you want, what you want them to be called, and which posts you want to appear on which page. Then, for every post you want to appear on your “Book Reviews” page, edit the post and add the “Book Reviews” category to it. Do the same thing for your other pages. Once all of your posts are properly categorized, it’s time to set up your menu.

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Step 2. Create a custom menu.

Most WordPress.com themes display your pages in a menu across the top of your front page by default. This default menu doesn’t give you as many options as our custom menu feature, however. With custom menus, you can easily move the order of your menu pages around, nest them under each other to create sub-menus, create menu tabs that link to a different page or site altogether, and create category pages.

To set up your custom menu, go to Appearance → Menus in your dashboard. Fill out a name for your menu (the name won’t show anywhere, so you can just call it “Menu”) and check the box by “Primary Menu” as shown:

Name menu

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Step 3. Add the category pages to your menu.

Expand the “Categories” module to the left of your menu, select the categories you want to turn into pages, and click “Add to Menu”:

Add Categories

Once you’ve added the categories, you can click and drag them into the order you want them to appear on your site (top-to-bottom is left-to-right). Then, remember to click Save Menu!

Save menu

Note that you can also name your category pages something different than the actual category – they don’t have to match. To do that, click the little gray arrow to expand the category item, and edit the navigation label field:

navigation label

And you’re done! Check out how your new category pages look. Now whenever you add a new book review to your blog, just add that post to the Book Reviews category and it will show up on the Book Reviews page automatically.

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More About Category Pages

Your category page shows an archive of all posts in that category, so when someone clicks your “Book Reviews” page, they’ll see all of your posts in the Book Reviews category. How that archive displays on the page varies depending on what theme you are using. Most themes show full posts on the page, but some show only an excerpt and the reader must click through to the single-post page to view the whole thing. If your theme shows full posts and you would rather only show excerpts, you can use the More tag on your individual posts.

Finally, note that any post appearing on your category pages will also appear on your regular posts page – whether that is your front page or another page.

If you don’t want posts displaying on any page other than their designated category pages, you can set up a static front page and not designate any page for your posts page. Remember to add your static home page to your custom menu.

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Other Options with Category Pages

You can customize the URL for your category page to change the chronological order using this guide. If you would like to use a customized URL in your menu instead of the default category page, please refer to Step 2: Create a Custom Menu in this guide. However, instead of adding a category page, you’ll want to add a link using the customized URL you created (for more information on how to add a link to a custom menu, please see these instructions).

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