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, check out our collection of the most useful WordPress category plugins available today:

List Category Posts
Recent Posts Widget Extended
Ultimate Category Excluder
Site Categories

List Category Posts

If you want to display a list of posts from a specific category or multiple categories, then the List Category Posts 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.

Recent Posts Widget Extended

The Recent Posts Widget Extended is a free plugin that 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.

Ultimate Category Excluder

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.

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.

Site Categories

Slightly different than the other plugins featured so far, our retired Site Categories from WPMU DEV give you the ability to categorize the sites in your Multisite network, in a similar way to how posts are categorized.

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 to their site belongs to.

If you are managing a Multisite network then this plugin’s ability to allow you to categorize your sites could be of real use to you.

That’s a Wrap

Hopefully at least one of the plugins on this list will be able to improve the way you work with categories in WordPress.

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