10 Handy Plugins to Help You Do More with WordPress Categories
There’s no doubt categories are a useful feature of WordPress. By using the category taxonomy you can organize your content more efficiently on the backend of your site, while also making your posts easier to navigate on the front-end.
However, if you want to extend the WordPress category functionality and upgrade how they can be used, the mostly free plugins in this collection should be able to help you do so.
Whether you want to enable categories for pages, output a list of all the posts in a specific category, or create sticky posts within a category, you can do so with ease, plus a whole lot more, simply by installing one of the plugins below.
If you want more control over how this feature works and more options for how you can use it on your website, read on for our collection of the most useful WordPress category plugins available today.
As the name suggests, this free plugin allows you to apply tags and categories to pages in the same way that you can with pages.
This gives you the option of organizing your WordPress pages better and making them easier to navigate by your readers. If you do use this plugin, you can also combine it with some of the other plugins in this collection in order to display pages from specific categories as you would with posts.
Once the plugin is activated on your site, pages will now share the same categories and tags that posts have access to, allowing you to put both pages and posts into the same category.
There are no settings for Post Tags and Categories for Pages so just plug and pay.
If you want to display a list of posts from a specific category, or multiple categories, then this plugin is for you.
Simply inserting the appropriate shortcode into a WordPress post or page will display a list of posts which your readers can then click on to read.
The List Category Posts shortcode allows you to specify which category to source the posts from, how many posts to include in the list, and what data from the post to feature in the list. This last option allows you to display the post title, the author name, a post excerpt, and even the actual post content itself.
The plugin makes it relatively easy to customize the appearance of the list, thanks to its support for custom HTML and CSS. List Category Posts also includes a widget which can be used to display a custom list of posts in the sidebar and other widgetized areas of your WordPress theme.
This free plugin is really well supported in terms of online documentation and activity on the WordPress.org forums, helping to make this a great option for anyone who needs to output a list of posts from one or more categories.
This free plugin allows you to display the most recent posts from one or more categories in the sidebar and other widgetized areas of your website.
The Recent Posts Widget Extended can do a lot more than this, but for those looking for a way to display posts from specific categories in their sidebar, it’s a great choice.
One of the reasons that makes this free plugin so great is that the Recent Posts Extended widget that it adds to your website gives you lots of control over how that list of posts is displayed. These settings cover displaying thumbnails, post excerpts, the publication date, and more. You can also add your own custom HTML and CSS directly to the widget to personalize it further.
While the Category Post Widget plugin is a popular alternative, it can only display posts from one specific category at a time. Recent Posts Widget Extended on other hand is the better choice thanks to its ability to display posts from multiple categories (and tags) in one list, as well as its superior controls over how the list looks. This is in addition to its support for custom post types and custom taxonomies, as well as its compatibility with the Genesis Framework.
While this plugin and its widget does a lot more than just displaying a list of categories in your sidebar, it’s still the best choice for doing just that.
WordPress gives you the opportunity to mark a post as sticky, so that it is always displayed at the top of the list of most recent posts.
However, by installing the free Category Sticky Post plugin you can now make one post from an individual category sticky. The end result of this is that when the list of posts from that category is displayed, that sticky post will be right at the top. The plugin also gives you the option of adding some light formatting to the sticky post to make it stand out from the rest of the posts in that category.
If you have important posts in a category you would like to make more prominent, this simple but effective plugin can really help you out.
Ultimate Category Excluder allows you to exclude certain categories from the homepage, category and other archive pages, feeds, and internal search results on your website.
This means that if you’ve got your WordPress website configured to show the latest blog posts on the homepage, any posts in one of the categories excluded from the homepage won’t be displayed there.
Perhaps you are posting content that won’t be of immediate value to your readers and therefore doesn’t deserve prominence on the homepage, or even your category archive listing pages. This could include advertorials, product reviews, or other content that you still want to make available, but not as easily accessible of some of your other types of posts.
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If you’ve got content and categories on your site that are less interesting than some of the other posts, Ultimate Category Excluder gives you a solution for managing their visibility.
Got your categories and tags in a muddle? Inherited a site that was doing it wrong? Fear not as the free Categories to Tags Converter plugin allows you convert these two types of taxonomies in either direction.
After activating the plugin, the convertor can be accessed from the WordPress Tools menu. From there you can select individual categories to convert into tags and vice versa. When you make the conversion, the new category or tag will automatically be applied to the same posts as it was in its former state, saving you the job of manually applying it to the relevant posts.
This simple plugin does the job and could save you a lot of time should you ever need to convert and categories or tags.
This plugin gives you a category-focused solution for dealing with posts that haven’t been assigned a featured image.
As well as giving you the ability to set a featured image that is automatically applied to any post where the author has not done so themselves, it also allows you to set a default featured image at the category level.
After activating the plugin, the Edit Category screen is upgraded to include a field for setting the category’s featured image by either uploading an image or selecting one from the media library. The only slight downside of this plugin is that you can’t assign a featured image when creating a new category – only when editing them.
If you want to ensure that a post will always have a featured image when it goes live, even if the author hasn’t uploaded one, or you just want a automated way to apply the same featured image to all posts from a specific category, the free Category Featured Images gives you that ability.
If you want to ensure posts on your website don’t get assigned to more than one category, this plugin enforces that rule to ensure you don’t forget, and your co-authors don’t make this mistake.
After activating the Only One Category plugin, the check boxes that are used to select multiple categories are replaced by radio buttons. This means you can only ever select one category for each post.
While you can set a global default category that is automatically assigned to a post when it’s created, this free plugin gives you the option of setting at least one default category for each individual user on your site.
If you are working with a writer to produce posts on a certain topic, you can set the default category for that user to one that matches the type of content they are publishing. While the user can override the settings, this plugin at least reduces the chances of them forgetting to choose one from the available options.
Slightly different than the other plugins featured so far, this option from WPMU DEV gives you the ability to categorise the sites in your Multisite network, in a similar way to how posts are categorised.
The site categories can then be published in a number of ways, making it easier for visitors to find the different sites in your network. The lists can be displayed in posts or pages, as well as in sidebars using the included widget.
Site categories can have their own descriptions and custom icons, and they can also be nested just like regular WordPress post categories. When users create a new site on your network, you can give them the ability to choose which of the existing categories their site belongs to.
If you are managing a Multisite network then this plugin’s ability to allow you to categorise your sites could be of real use to you.
Hopefully at least one of the plugins on this list will be able to improve the way you work with categories in WordPress.
If you have any questions about this topic, or know of any other useful WordPress category plugins, please share them in the comments below.