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A guide to category structures

Getting the right structure to your categories is a vitally important part of creating your categories. If you only have five or ten categories then the article below probably isn't relevant to you. But the more categories you have, the more relevant this will be.

There are a few important things that you must remember:

• Categories can't contain both products and other categories, its one or the other
• If a category contains other categories it is said to be a 'parent category'
• A category that has a parent category is said to be a 'subcategory'
• A category can be both a parent category and sub-category
• A category can have more than one parent
• A product can be in more than one category

You can imagine a category structure to be similar to a tree.

The trunk of the tree could be thought of as your website's home page.

From the trunk you have larger branches (these could be thought of as parent categories).

From the larger branches you get to smaller branches (these could be thought of as subcategories).

From the smaller branches you get to the leaves (products).

Only the smallest branches have leaves.

Example: Argos

Consider Argos, a company that sells a very wide range of products.

  1. From the home page you first choose your main category, e.g. 'Homeware'.
  2. Then what room of the house are you interested in, e.g. 'Bedroom'.
  3. Then what do you want for the bedroom, e.g. 'Bedding'.
  4. Then what type of bedding, e.g. 'Duvets'.
  5. Only then do you get to the products you are looking for.

Planning your category structure

Its important to plan a particularly large category structure on a diagram or spreadsheet, before adding your categories to your site, or you may get lost or confused.

How you plan your category structure is up to you and remember that your category structure can be constantly evolving and improving.

A few things that you should remember when planning your category structure.

• A category can have more than one parent category (e.g. 'Bedroom Furniture' would fit in 'Bedroom' and 'Furniture')
• Categories should contain either products or categories, not both

When planning your category structure keep in mind that:

1. Not everyone is used to navigating websites or buying online, so plan your site for the least computer savvy users

2. Not everyone will be familiar with the products that you sell, so try and keep your categories simple

We Can Help!

If you get stuck or need assistance with category structures then please contact us and we'll be happy to help you.