You walk into a library (farfetched to some nowadays but stay with me) in search of a book on dogs. As you walk through the stacks of the nonfiction section, you see Computer Science, Religion, Language, History. No dogs. You venture over to a nearby librarian busy with reshelving and ask where to find that dog book you’re after. Glancing up from the world of the Dewey Decimal System, she points you in the direction of a lesser-known section of the stacks. When you arrive, you see a simple sign – “Uncategorized.”As you thumb through the books, there appears to be little organizational rhyme or reason, a collection of misfit books with wide-ranging subjects. The likelihood of finding what you’re looking for is something of a crapshoot and you’ll almost certainly get frustrated in the process.
If you’re using the category “Uncategorized” on your blog, this scenario, while perhaps a little exaggerated, can serve as a metaphor for the experience you’re providing to some of your readers. Below is why and how to stop using “Uncategorized” on your blog.
Why You Should Stop Using “Uncategorized”
The two biggest reasons you should avoid using “Uncategorized” are fairly straightforward:
- It makes you seem careless, resulting in your blog appearing unprofessional
- It doesn’t help your readers find the content they’re looking for
When you have blog posts listed as “Uncategorized,” it simply looks like you forgot to classify the post. Realistically, that’s the purpose of having the default category “Uncategorized” exist in the first place. It’s meant as a catchall in case you forget to classify the post. But remember, blog categories are meant to be useful to your readers. Having a blog post classified as “Uncategorized” is about as unhelpful as it gets.
The Solution: Rename Your Default Post Category
It’s possible from time to time something is going to slip through the cracks. It happens to us all. If you change the default category on your blog, you can at least avoid a situation where a post winds up with the category “Uncategorized.”
What you ultimately name your default post category is largely up to personal preference. No matter what, chances are it’ll be overly broad and not very helpful to your readers from a navigation standpoint. But it won’t look like you flat out forgot to do something, which can help with the overall level of professionalism your blog conveys. Some options include “Miscellaneous,” “General” and “Other.” To help your readers navigate the content of your blog, try to avoid classifying posts in this catchall category as much as possible.
How To Change Your Default Post Category in WordPress
If you’re using WordPress, changing the name of your default post category is pretty easy. It’s worth noting two things before diving in. First, changing your default post category is best done prior to launching your blog. If you already have a bunch of “Uncategorized” posts, it’s a good idea to consult your website administrator before following these steps. Second, we’re using WordPress 3.3.1 for these instructions.
To change your default post category in WordPress, do the following:
- Log in to your website’s backend
- Hover over “Posts” in the left sidebar and click “Categories” in the flyout menu
- Hover over “Uncategorized” and click the “Edit” link that appears below the category name
- Type your new default category (with a capital letter) in the Name field
- Type your new default category (with a lowercase letter) in the Slug field. If using multiple words, separate each word with a hyphen.
- Click the blue “Update” button at the bottom of the page
That’s it. None of your future blog posts will find their way into the abyss of “Uncategorized” classification.
What do you think? Do you ever use the “Uncategorized” category to search for content on the blogs you visit? What do you suggest using as a default category? We’d love to hear from you.