Probably one of the most undervalued features of WordPress are its category structure and commands. The category feature of WordPress can change a blog into a powerful CMS (Content Management System) tool.
One of our clients, Gotta Knit, didn’t want to use a real calendar for events since many of them are general, like “Fall 2008″, so we decided to use Posts and Categories instead. Though the process of maintaining these events are manual, it really works well for them.
We split the sidebar into different sections (go to www.Gottaknit.net to check it out). The sections marked, “Events”, “Classes” and “Trunk Show” are three different categories. Actually, they are sub-categories of the main category “Events & Classes”, which you’ll find in the Menu section on the top right.
When they want to create an Event, they just write a normal post and select the “Events” category. The Post automatically appears in the proper place in the sidebar. The same with creating “Classes” or “Trunk Shows”. You’ll also notice that the post does not appear on the home page. That is because we used the static front page option, which you’ll find under: Options – Reading – Front Page.
Since these are all sub-categories of the main category “Events & Classes”, when you click on the “Events & Classes” link in the Menu section you get a list of all the posts under all the sub-categories. Essentially allowing you to view all the Events, Classes and Trunk Shows on one page.
You’ll notice at the bottom of the “Events & Classes” page there’s a link marked “See our past Events and Classes”. This is another category. Once an event date passes, our client edits the Post, unchecks the current category, and then checks “Past Events and Classes”. The post is removed from it’s section (category) in the sidebar, and is added to the “Past Events and Classes” page.
NOTE: WordPress doesn’t do a very good job of displaying different categories separately in the sidebar. We used Scott Reilly’s “Customizable Post Listings” Plugin, which you can find here.
Hopefully this post will inspire you to be creative with WordPress Categories.