Seeking Help And Advice On Categories

I'm working on launching a new look for my site with the help of the VIVAshop theme and in doing so I've started to work on reorganizing my categories. I'm needing some advice.

Here's what I've got. Currently I have a “Christian biography” category with 63 items. (I have a number of large categories like that and no sub-categories whatsoever.) It seems like it would be useful to have a main category of “Biographies and Memoirs” and then several subcategories:

Biographies and Memoirs

[indent=1]Missionary Biographies[/indent]


[indent=1]Biographical Sketches (Multiple short sketches in one book)[/indent]

Some wouldn't fall into any of the subcategories. So would I put the Missionary Biographies, Memoirs, and Biography Sketches ONLY in their respective categories, or would I put them in those categories PLUS the main category of Biographies and Memoirs?

And what about the books that don't fit into any of the existing subcategories? Should I put them in a fourth, generically named category (for example, General Biographies)?

What I'm a bit concerned about is the way megamenu on the VIVAshop template is set up, one could easily miss the fact that “Biographies and Memoirs” is a category in its own right.

If you want to see what I mean, go to:

VIVAshop Ultimate - The #1 selling theme for CS-Cart

then under “All Departments” hover over “Wines.” From there it looks like the only choices to make are “Red Wine,” “White Wine” and “Sparkling Wine.” Whereas, However, on the flyout menu, the word “Wines” is also clickable and seems to take a person to a main category of Wines. It also appears that all the produces in “Red Wine,” “White Wine” and “Sparkling Wine.” are also in the “Wines” category.

If you can give me some clarity on what you think is the best way to do this, or just leave some feedback on how YOU do it on your store, I'd appreciate your input.

Thanks in advance.

Simply put…only use sub categories that have seo weight to them, ie does anyone search for general biography…probably not. All categories and titles should be what people are using to search for. Sure site search is different but I'd be tempted to leave as is unless you have good seo reasons for category names.

OK thanks for that John. But assuming that I can find names that have good seo weight, what would your answer be to the overall question of how to arrange the categories?

I put them in an everything else category usually, and sometimes utilise the secondary category function.

v3 was the first version that started to display products that were in sub-categories when the parent category was selected from the menu. Prior to that you had to put the products into both the parent and the sub.

So, since v3, I've only put my products into the sub-category and not included them in the parent - it was redundant.

Building a logical sub-category tree is difficult. You really have to know your industry and industry jargon/terminology. IMO, a well built category tree gives the customer guidance and helps them find what they are looking for. It “departmentalizes” your products.

When I have products that don't fit into the sub-categories, but do fit into the parent, I have added a “miscellaneous” sub-category.

John's comments on creating sub-categories that are SEO relevant is a good one - and their names should come naturally from your industry.

You can move products to new categories in bulk by selecting the checkbox for the product, choosing Edit Selected, Unselect all, then select Categories, then click the Modify selected button. When I am moving all the products selected to a new sub-category I click the “Apply values to all the selected products” link. Just put a check in the Categories checkbox and pick your new sub-category (one or more) and click the Apply button. It applies the change to every product on the list.

I use this addon to make life easier:


I have a tweak for it so the full category path is displayed in that Bulk Edit list too.

Also dont forget you ar edealing with 2 issues here. Internal site navigation for ease of your customer s and search engine search for seo. Now in reality…if Google doesnt see it then internal search only works for customers who know where you are or used you before to come along and check your site. The depth and way Google indexes sites and product pages now is miles more in depth than ever before so chances are if your book is listed and ranked then the customer will land directly on the correct page or category anyway.

We are also finding nowadays that Google has crawled a specific product page, that is the exact landing page is what the customer wants and either he/she buys it right away or hops off somewhere else to buy. This method isnt what you always necessarily want as we also want our customers to browse around and see our other somewhat related types of product, in the hope of an upsell or at least a memory of what else we do. In that respect category/sub category pages and/or internal blocks etc are used as much as poss.