The purpose of creating categories and subcategories is to lay down an ordered hierarchy or framework that will not only help you, the merchant, to organize products to be sold within the store but also to help customers be able to find the products within your store they are shopping for.
Prior to building categories, carefully plan your site such that a shopper will easily know where to find the product they are looking for and any category names are named properly and provide the proper detail as to what the category contains.
If necessary, break down each category "group" into sub-categories and associate the products to the sub-categories as well, or another option is not to associate products to a parent category but only sub-categories. Top sellers could be associated to a parent category only, and the remaining products could be associated with sub-categories is yet another variation on how to use categories in your site design.
Note: Do not overuse categories for they can clutter your site and make navigation impossible to where a shopper may not find the product they came to your store to purchase. It is advised that you restrict the number of subcategories within a single category to 100 at the most. We suggest writing out your category and sub-category structure prior to adding them to your store so the store design is well thought out prior to implementing.
What we'll cover in this Article
Before Creating a category, you must determine what type of category you want to make.
7cart has 4 types of category links that you can make.
- Static Category - Static categories will only display the products the store admin has assigned to it.
- Dynamic Category - Dynamic categories allow you to select criteria for the products that you’d like to appear in that category. Example: By Price Range, Product Types, etc…
- Custom Link - This category type is used to direct the user to a custom defined link.
- Custom Page - Custom Page category types will direct the user to a custom page within the store, defined by the admin.
Right-clicking on a category shows a context menu that has multiple options. This is an alternate way to manage a category easily.
From this menu, you will select "Edit".
Editing the content for a Category is quite straight forward.
The different elements available are:
- Name: This is the name of the category that will be displayed throughout the site.
- Description: This is the HTML area where you can add additional rich-content to describe the category.
- Default Sort Order: This is the default sort order of the products in this category.
- Allow Sort Override: This option allows for a "sort-by" selection that the shopper can change.
- Display Template: This is the display template for your category.
- Icon: If this category is a sub category, the icon selected may show in the parent category.
- Banner: The image in this field will show at the top of the category page. Below the name.
- Pre-Content Column: Selects the Content Area above the category.
- Post-Content Column: Selects the Content Area below the category.
- Show Title: If selected, the category title will be shown.
- Hide Category: This option will hide the category name and link from the category menus. It does NOT disable the category completely.
SEO & Meta Data
- Rewrite Url To: This input rewrites the URL for the category to the specified text. For example: A standard URL for this page may look like "http://www.mystore.com/category/categoryname.aspx". A store admin could rewrite this URL to "http://www.mystore.com/categoryname.aspx" by entering "/categoryname.aspx" in the Rewrite URL field.
- Page Meta Title: The overwrite text for your Meta Title. This is the title of your category and will display at the very top of the users browser. This title will also be displayed in the search engine with normally a link to your page. The default value is the category name.
- Meta Description: Depending on the search engine, the Meta Description will normally be displayed along with the title of your page in an index. No more than 255 characters are supported therefore you want to keep this concise, compelling and to the point. Make sure this description makes sense as a reader may view this in the search engine before viewing your site. The description could determine if that user visits your site or moves on. Create sentences or even paragraphs to appropriately describe your category. Make sure the description reflects the contents in which it’s displayed. Some search engines will ignore sites with misleading content.
- Meta Keywords: Enter keywords that describe your category, separated by a comma. Make sure these keywords are specific to the mentioned item, normally in the form of synonyms or words specific to each item. Keywords can be used by search engines to index your document.
Anatomy of a Category
Here we illustrate what a category page can look like and what elements would show up when editing a category.
Page layout details
- Breadcrumbs - These illustrate where you are on the website.
- Category Title - Name of the category currently being viewed.
- Banner - The banner of the category.
- Description - The description text of the category.
- Sort Order - Allows the shopper to change the default sort order.
- Pager - Allows the shopper to navigate to additional pages of the category.
- Products - Displays the products that are returned in this particular category.
Category location names
Categories and Sub-categories are sometimes called "Root" or "Leaf" depending on their respective location and number of child categories are included.
- Root Categories - are the Top Level categories. They are never within another category.
- Sub-Categories - are categories that are within another category AND have a child category.
- Leaf Categories - are categories that do not have any subcategories (the end of the hierarchy).
Typically, you will want to place all of your products into Leaf Categories.
Product Selection - Static Category
If your category is a Static Category, this will be displayed. To add products to this category manually, you must click the button "Select Products".
This needs to be done AFTER the category has been given a name.
Adding Product to Static Category
To add products to the static category, simply (1). select the items from the right and (2). click the "Select Products" button.
Product Selection - Dynamic Categories
Under the "Select Criteria" area, click the "select" button to add the criteria for products appearing in this category.
Dynamic Category Dynamic categories allow you to select criteria for the products that you’d like to appear in that category. Example: By Price Range, Product Types, etc…
You can save your criteria for future use by adding a name in the “new filter” textbox and clicking the “save filter” button. Likewise you can load or delete saved filters by selecting the item in the “filters” drop down list.
You can learn more about Dynamic Categories and see an example of how to create one here on our YouTube channel.
Regenerating Dynamic Categories
Dynamic categories have a “regenerate” option that will reload the category, importing all newly added products that qualify under its criteria. You can also set the store up to automatically regenerate dynamic categories at an interval level under Configuration > Catalog > Category Settings.