Categories and News Departments

Have you seen the WordPress.com front page lately? Everyone gets to see the updated design but English readers get a special treat: News Departments. Learn how we decide which posts to feature and how you can get your link and your pretty face on the front page.

The links on the old front page are based on our blog popularity rankings, which you can browse in dozens of languages at Blogs of the Day. Using the same system to rank the posts found in certain categories, we now keep lists of the hottest posts in these departments:

  • Business
  • Cars
  • Entertainment
  • Family
  • Health
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Science
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • Travel
  • Video
  • World

Honestly, the lists are still quite weak because although many of you write about these topics, you probably have your own system of categories. For now, we haphazardly grab posts from related categories to try to fill out the lists. That’s why you can see posts in the Sports department that didn’t get posted in the Sports category, for example. We may phase out this logic when more bloggers post directly into these departments.

To get featured, you must:

  1. upload an avatar if you haven’t already,
  2. use the categories above when you blog on relevant topics, and
  3. attract lots of readers to your posts.

Please do not:

  • use inappropriate titles or avatars,
  • post gratuitous profanity or nudity,
  • put a post in irrelevant categories, or
  • put a post in a lot of categories (ten is a lot)

…unless you want to be excluded from the News Departments. We aren’t about to censor what you publish but we will decide what not to feature on the front page. If you do want to be excluded, please just ask us. It’s no problem.

Lots of people have posted screenshots of the front page and their traffic graphs the first time they see themselves featured. That’s a nice trophy but the best part about being on the front page is that you can attract even more readers who might be interested in your blog. All they will see is your avatar and your post title. Before you upload a new avatar or write a post title, consider you audience and what will attract them.

We have plans to do a lot more than just prettying up the English front page. Other languages will follow. New departments may appear. A lot of work has already gone into the construction of a new place where you can browse fresh, hot content in any department you like but we need your help. We need more posts in each department to make it really work. So remember these global categories.

There’s one more thing. Soon we will publish longer lists of posts with excerpts much like BOTD Top Posts. We have been grabbing excerpts from the post content but we would prefer to let you write your own teasers. You will find an Optional Excerpt field below the Content area on the post writing page. We will use up to 40 words or 200 characters from your Optional Excerpt. No formatting or HTML tags will be allowed so just try to attract readers with a sentence or two. If you leave it blank we’ll use the post content instead. Good luck!


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Andy Skelton

99 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Nita

    Andy, thanks. what you guys are doing is just great and quite motivating.

  2. dinsan

    This is really cool. Earlier, there used to be some stars who reached because of some good posts and remained on the top with less important posts. This system will help upcoming bloggers :)

    need to study more about this now

  3. malevi4

    waiting for other languages…

  4. Javier Aroche

    Excellent ;)

    Now, when we gonna have it on Spanish? xDDDD

  5. Brian

    I do like the new home page and the changing offerings, but none of the selected categories are ones that I tag my posts with.

  6. Alina

    That’s great, but I think Environment deserves it’s own category… All my posts are in that category… Does that mean I’ll never get featured now?

  7. Stephen Rees

    What I really like (aside from being the first to post a comment) is that the top stories are not static. I tried the technology links and each time I returned to the “top posts” there was a new technology story. Now that is cool.

  8. Trent

    Interesting stuff Andy!

  9. Erwin

    Thanks for the tips!

  10. neath

    How about Art and Photography as categories? I am sure that would help a lot of people out – like me, heh!

  11. tampurobert

    Wow, i should try to do my best.

  12. joynmsu

    Cool. Also, I think it would be useful to add a “culture” or “arts” category.

  13. Vincent

    Wouldn’t it be possible to somehow utilize the community to group blog categories into these global categories? For example, a post in the “linux” category would be able to appear under “Technology”. I wouldn’t like to create yet another category and apply it to every single post just because it is a global category, because all my posts fit in Technology anyway.

  14. goldcoaster

    Excellent. Looks like I need to make some new categories in my blog.

  15. familyforest

    Thanks for all the useful information on how to get listed on the front page.

    Also, I like the fact that the items in the different new categories change because what catches someone elses eye may not be what is of interest to me but than the next item might be the one that does!

  16. Ujwala

    Great idea! How about a News department for Art? Mostly what I blog about. Thank you.

  17. therealdonquixote

    Man, I’ve been meaning to have a better tags/catagories setup, but this is going to take forever to re-cat all my posts. I’d dlotz myself if anyone came up with a way to automate the process.

  18. Andy

    therealdonquixote: You don’t have to re-categorize your posts. Nothing older than a few days is likely to appear on the lists anyway. Just keep these categories in mind for new posts.

  19. .:Marianis World:.

    Great, but in spanish when???

  20. intlxpatr

    I love it that you guys are always finding ways to make yourself better. You spend more time DOING than you spend patting yourself on the back – a rare trait! And it helps us to find the blogs we like, too.

  21. Zachary

    Ah wonderful. Something that would allow the raw diamonds to shine within the dirt. This would showcase the upcoming bloggers without letting the old ones rest too long on their laurels.

  22. Santosh

    great job.. but do include some more categories..

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  24. ann

    food? please?

  25. raincoaster

    I don’t like the filtering that a static category list automatically causes. For one thing, you’ll cause people to flood those categories, and for another it means that popular topics which simply haven’t occurred to staff will be completely overlooked, no matter how many people are blogging on them.

  26. abarclay12

    Nice. I hope I make blog of the day in the future. My friends outside the asylum are pulling for me.

  27. Jangari

    I second the call for a culture category. None of what a mostly write about fits neatly into any of those categories, except for science, but it’s occasionally a stretch to call linguistics a science.

  28. Kunal

    would love it if you have a link like “more news” … that way I could browse more interesting things in Sports…. and would there be more refinement.. like in Sports – Football, Tennis etc?

  29. swftoys

    Great! How about a department for toys?

  30. Chris Lang

    Great! But I agree with Alina – a category for “environment” would be cool.

  31. Kaz

    I agree. All my posts are about Family. It would be silly for me to tag every single post with that. It serves your news categories, but it doesn’t serve my readers.

    What about a way to apply a global tag to your entire blog? Just allow people to pick one (or maybe two) to apply to all blog posts…

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  33. koloplus

    I really like the project WordPress, it’s simple and helpfull.

    Thanks a lot

  34. Kim Clune

    Thanks, gang! Great setup. Let me just add, I too think enviroment and art would make great additions to this global list.

  35. teliczan

    I’d love to see an Arts category added too. And thanks for the tips!

  36. Roads

    Sorry to differ here, since the development of WordPress.com has been outstanding, and change and innovation are always good. For all of that, I’m not sure about this approach.

    One of the most captivating things about blogs is surely that the best of them really don’t fit conventional news categories. They fill unique niches which aren’t represented in other locations.

    In classic new media-speak, blogs represent the ‘long tail’ of information supply. Their feedback across different strands of ideas and opinion is one of the most captivating aspects of the whole blog revolution – typically blogs are interesting exactly because they do cover information in less predictable and more exciting ways. Blog browsing is a cross-category activity and that is one of its key attractions.

    The new WP.com entry page and this request to re-tag blogs to fit pre-defined categories is an interesting attempt to classify the huge scope of information here. But in other respects you could also see it as an unhelpful move which tries to fit round and intriguingly faceted pegs (blogs) into square and boring holes (news-style categories).

    So I’d like to say thanks for all the other great ideas, but sadly I’m not convinced that this one really is the way to go.

  37. munggur

    great idea. it would be a nice place to get and read the good blog. just click the category. good job and thank you, WP!

  38. ilovemypublicist

    Thanks! I think I love you.

  39. kylydia

    I haven’t read all of the comments, so someone may have suggested it, but…what about adding these global categories as built-in defaults to our categories list?

  40. cschwartz

    Neat. However, don’t you think that “cars” fit in well with “technology” so there would be room for a category such as “nature” or “environment”?

  41. landdgrantblog

    Thank you for the suggestions. Being naive I was unaware or the Categories specifics. Your listing gave me an opportunity to add Scicne and Health as my Categories.

    Lou

  42. Maninas

    Please add the food category! :)

  43. Sankar Viruthachalam

    This is interesting stuff. Hope I learn to leverage it more… :)

  44. briosafreak

    Hmmm I’m not sure about this either, let’s see how this works out.

    Since I have a gaming blog that means I should tag everything into entertainmant? Videogaming should have it’s own category IMO

  45. abu ameerah

    wonderful! thanks…

  46. QuoinMonkey

    While I am enjoying the cleaner look of the Front Page, I’m afraid I’m in agreement with raincoaster and Roads. With these limited categories, many compelling, dynamic blogs will never make it to the front page. And your categories completely ignore writing and the arts, the two kinds of blogs I pay the most attention to.

    I know you are all working hard behind the scenes. And it’s much appreciated. But the great thing about WordPress is that it’s not as mainstream as all the rest of blog world. Let’s pay attention to writing, and the arts, and daring to be different – and keep it that way. I’m happy not to fit the everyday mold.

  47. Peter

    I would like to second an idea that someone brought up above: the ability to tag your entire blog in this way. I am a single issue blogger (I blog only philosophy), and hence it would be silly to tag everything philosophy. Which brings me to my second point: there is no category for philosophy to fit into (no, philosophy does not fall under religion, that is a common misconception, although the two do overlap on occasion). Also missing is a mathematics / logic category. Perhaps all of these miscelanious categories (which few people blog about) could fall under something like “abstract thought” or “rational inquiry” or “applied reasoning” or something like that, but better sounding.

  48. salahudin

    attracting lots of readers… er.. how many readers? we get about 400 hits per day on average. i’m guessing that won’t cut it .. lol

  49. Matthew

    I’ll second many people here. My entire blog is a music blog, so unless you come up with a way to tag the entire thing, then nothing I write is going to quite fit in here, despite the fact that I often write about news stories within the music and entertainment fields, as well as about the music business itself.

    These tags are far too general to be useful to me, as well as most blogs I read on a regular basis. I love the idea though, so it should be easy to tweak the categories and make it work.

  50. John Campbell Rees

    Don’t you think a global catagory “Food” would be a good idea.

  51. peeecha

    cool

  52. therealpotato

    cool… how about ‘food’?

  53. valorizing labour

    While I agree with Roads above, the new Departments feature is a great improvement on what came before…

    However, the lack of specificity in people’s self-descriptions of their blogs and blog posts (I am a bad offender here) means that a department like “politics” can be rather meaningless.

    So what about a blog entry from a random category, picked by whim or fancy by the WordPress team from the bewildering number of tags that might be circulating on any given day?

  54. typingisnotactivism

    I agree with the sum of this thread so far — “great idea and user-focused development as always. Good one WP, but I think that environment and art are two very necessary, relevant and justified categories which appear to have been omitted.”

  55. Jana Bouc

    How about ART as a category?

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  57. rindolphus

    I third that environment category motion!!

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  59. quotes

    Where would Education fit?

    It is back to school time, after all.

  60. Andrew

    Why these particular categories? What about Uncategorized? :)

  61. Robert Leedy

    Here’s my vote added to the many folks above who also want an Arts or Culture department added. If you take a look at the present departments listed above, you will notice that they almost mirror the sections of any Sunday newspaper – but only one section is missing: Arts & Culture! No, we do not want to be dumped into Entertainment! As an artist, I do not like having to categorize myself in Entertainment as I have to do on YouTube…

    Nice work though, Andy, on the front page. It looks good.

  62. feartheseeds

    First, raincoaster and Roads are right, as is this will probably do more harm than the planned good. You’ve got a million blogs on this thing, you have to figure at least 100,000 of us are going to release each post we write into the wild under each and every default category you can think of…

    Second, why not have the featured blog in each category on the WP Front Page as you’ve got now, but with a hotlink to… lets say, a list of Ten More — but random.

  63. Matt

    feartheseeds, people who abuse the system won’t be included. You can add a thousand categories to every post, that doesn’t mean we’re going to use them.

  64. Lolly

    Cool! You guys are great!

  65. ionatan

    Thanks! Is goog for me.

  66. srikiran

    great job.. but do include some more categories..

  67. miss6974

    Not what I expected but this is good.

  68. feartheseeds

    Dude, as long as you’ve got a way to filter past those posts with thousands of categories, to find the ones worth showing off… hey, maybe it’s a job for an intern willing to work for a sandwich.

  69. bookofvoices

    I also have my doubts about the pre-fab categories. I would like to see the power of the community used more effectively. Perhaps you could list the top 20 most-used non-trivial categories (excluding ones like “other” and perhaps others to be noted by the community), and then the top posts that use them? If there must be a hierarchy, perhaps we could do it communally, too.

  70. nishugoyal

    nice work !

  71. Maltesh Ashrit

    Gr8

  72. Bob Skilnik

    Food & Drink

  73. vivek

    Thanks for featuring me. Linking to me was real motivating!

  74. freebornman

    Nice one guys!!

  75. Raindreamer

    Me and my friends blog about dating and relationships and I don’t feel like it fells under the family, sorry. I mean: relationships is broader than family – but of course you can have both. So could we get either relationships or dating?

  76. Raindreamer

    And the relationships is better than dating – as it can include also work related relationships, friendships etc.

  77. Richmond

    There should be something related to Health.

  78. The Pump Handle

    Another vote for “Environment” and “Food” categories.

  79. ellaella

    Thank you for the food category! I’m getting hits right now because of it — and many, many thanks for that. Keep up the innovations, WP.

  80. huglifeinc

    new to the community, but great work!

  81. perplexityshe

    Interesting and useful reading :-).

    That you put down a lot of work is much appreciated by the users of WordPress. WordPress is hard to top. Thank you for wp!

    /Lola

  82. askbusinesscoach

    As someone in technology, I very much appreciate the attention to the details and want to thank you for making this community a great place to blog!

  83. Lizzie Moogle

    Can we have a current events one? Because the only one where my posts about that seem to go is ‘World’ and thats a very broad subject matter. I think anyway.

  84. Avatar DJ Flux

    As many other wrote before, I do not like pre-fab categories. Why, I talk about music and the category I have created is called The Ear, I talk about art (paintings, sculpture, etc.) and the category is named The Eye… You get the trend.

    Still, I would also have added Art, Music, Literature and so on.

  85. aprilsims

    thank you

  86. desertviking

    I am pretty new to this, but you guys have created an incredibly easy to use forum. I love this place! I would like to see you put an energy category in, though. It is the single most important domestic issue of our generation, and I am sure it would be attract a lot of commentary.

  87. Black News Magazine.Com's Blog

    I trying to make a point,I get all my news from the wire,its all real news just like word press,how ever I dont see a place for African Americans,there is a real void on line for our news,can you make all minority’s feel even more welcome,Thank you guys are great,no really

  88. coolbeans

    I would like to be able to click on the department heading and see the posts that are rotating on the front page.

    I’d like to see an Education category, too.

  89. alnor

    Wow! I am waiting for your future feature!!! More power!

  90. James Hofheins

    I made it the other day.

    You like me.

    You really like me!

    (Apologies to Julia Roberts)

  91. raincoaster

    Hey, what about randomly cycling through all the tags, or at least SOME of them? That way you wouldn’t have such a feedback loop, as everyone tags their posts with those same categories so they don’t get automatically excluded from contention. So sure, have the #1 most popular category on top if you want, maybe #2 and #3 as well, but have the rest be randomly selected.

    So it would list top posts in Entertainment, Sports, Politics, Badgers, Aquacize, and Cretaceous. Tomorrow; Entertainment, Sports, Politics, Holistic Living, Camping, and Gravy.

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  99. Alice

    I’m slowly getting used to it. I’ve been able to do most everything I could before. Thanks for working so hard to bring cool things for all of us.

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