I did it! I reduced 35 categories to only 10!
This process was a little scary. I shouldn’t have been that worried or afraid because I keep regular backups of my blog, so I could always fall back to that just in case… BUT STILL! There’s something terrifying about pressing the DELETE button.
In case you’re interested in restructuring your blog like I did, I’m going to walk through the steps I took. Not all of them will necessarily apply to everyone because I use certain features/codes on my blog that I also had to update, but you can just skip those bits.
Step 1: Create the new categories
Step 2: Add posts to the new categories
Next, I went through the categories I wanted to delete and added them to their new places. To do this, go to Posts » Categories, picked a category to work with, and click on the number of posts. This takes you to an archive of every post in that category (but on the admin side). Then you can use the WordPress bulk edit feature to quickly add every single post to a new category. Use the check boxes to select the posts, click the “Bulk Actions” dropdown menu and select “Edit”. Then, in the categories column, select the new category to add the posts to. Then click “Update”.
This will not remove the posts from any categories. You’re just adding them to a new one.
When I went through this process I also added a few new tags to my posts. For example, even though I was deleting the Bitchin’ Book Blog category, I still wanted those posts grouped together somehow. So I added a new Bitchin’ Book Blog tag to every post.
Step 3: Redirect the old archives to the new ones
A lot of people have linked to my archive posts—specifically the Bitchin’ Book Blog archives ( sample URL: https://www.nosegraze.com/category/bitchin-book-blog/ ). I didn’t want those archives to break when I deleted them (and they would break!). So in order to combat that, I set up 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones. Here are some examples:
- /category/bitchin-book-blog/ redirects to /tag/bitchin-book-blog/
- /category/bitchin-book-blog/moving-from-blogger-to-wordpress/ redirects to /tag/moving-from-blogger-to-wordpress/
- /category/discussions/ redirects to /tag/discussion/
- /category/excerpt/ redirects to /tag/book-excerpt/
You get the point. 😛 I can’t give a tutorial for exactly how I did this, since I did it through the server console and my site runs on Nginx instead of Apache. But if you’re looking to do this, you could try using a plugin like Simple 301 Redirects.
Step 4: Update the dynamic images & meta boxes
But then came the part that had me stumped for a minute. I use Advanced Custom Fields to create Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin style boxes in my admin area. I have a box for Reviews, a box for Blog Tours, and a box for Waiting on Wednesday posts. Then all the HTML gets formatted for me automatically.
Now here comes the tough part… Before this big switch over, I had the WoW boxes set to only display in the edit post area if the post was in the Waiting on Wednesday category. But I was about to delete that category, move those posts to the Books category and tag them with Waiting on Wednesday instead. This is when I realized that Advanced Custom Fields didn’t have an option to only make a box appear if it has a certain TAG.
Luckily, this wasn’t too hard to fix. I followed their custom location rules guide to create my own custom rules.
Perfect! Now the meta boxes only appear when the post has a certain tag.
Step 5: Delete the categories
Gosh, this part was scary. I don’t know why, but it just made me REALLY nervous. At this point, there is no going back. The toughest one was deleting that Bitchin’ Book Blog category. I’d had that one for so long.. basically the beginning of my blog. Even though the feature and that content isn’t going away, it still felt like a huge, monumental change.
BUT I DID IT!!
My blog is now super clean and only has 10 categories. I’m a happy girl. 🙂