The Beginners Guide To WooCommerce: Product Categories, Tags & Attributes
An online store is one of the most common online venture. Whether it is a new brand or an existing brick-and-mortar store, an eCommerce platform adds significant value and prestige to the brand.
When establishing an online store, the business has a number of options for eCommerce platforms. A very popular choice is the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress with an estimated 26.5% market share. For eCommerce ventures, WooCommerce offers easy and simple development and deployment of the online store(s). In all instances, optimized WooCommerce Hosting greatly improves the odds of success of the store.
One of the most important challenges that all WooCommerce store owners and administrators face is how to reach wider audience to increase customer base? This question lies at the heart of the success of the store.
There are several ways of marketing an online store. Traditional tactics include special discount offers and targeted advertisements. The problem is that all these well-known traditional tactics do not perform well in this age of search engines. To be successful in digital world, stores should follow several effective guidelines for performing well in SERP.
For WooCommerce stores, optimizing the structure of the store is an important way of enhancing search engine rankings. In this tutorial, I will explain what categories, tags and attributes are, and how these elements could be utilized for better SERP positions. These elements could be accessed from the WordPress Admin Dashboard > Products.
All products of similar characteristics are grouped under respective categories.
For example, in a WordPress blog, all technology related blogs are grouped under the category Technology. In the same way, imagine that you have a category, Shirts on your WooCommerce store. In this scenario, all the shirts, regardless of the color, size or design will be grouped under the category Shirts.
WooCommerce allows you to create and manage categories to properly classify the entire inventory. From the left pane in WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Products > Categories. A screen resembling the following screenshot will appear:
Let me explain several important fields on this screen.
- Name: This is the name of the category that will be visible to the visitors.
- Slug: This is the SEO friendly name that will be used in the URL structure of the category page.
- Parent: You can create sub-categories in WooCommerce. If you have a category named Shirts, you might want to create a sub-category named Polo Shirts. In this case, Shirts is the parent category of Polo Shirts.
- Description: This field contains the description of the category. It is not displayed by default. However some themes display the description on the page.
- Display Type: With this option, you can choose how your category will be displayed. There are four ways to display a category, Default, Products, Subcategory or Both.
- Thumbnail: You can set a thumbnail for your product category.
Once you have created a category, it is easy to add a product and check whether the category has been set up correctly.
To add a product to a category, go to WordPress Admin Dashboard > Products > Add Product
Fill in the details of your product. On the right side, you can see the option to choose a category for this product.
In this panel, you can create as many categories as you require.
In WordPress, using tags is a great way of making sure that the blogs are discoverable by search engines. Proper usage of tags ensure that the blogs rank high in SERP. Similarly, the use of tags in WooCommerce is an important way of getting good rankings in search engines.
To set tags for a product, navigate to Products > Tags.
You can now add a new tag in the following panel.
Once done, add a new product to the store. A list of available tags is available on the right panel. If it is a long list, just start typing the tag and the list will offer appropriate suggestions.
Many store owners often add a long list of tags for every product. I would recommend that the store owners should use the most pertinent tags for the product. In the case where the tag is not in the list, you could easily create a new tag by clicking the Add button.
In this screenshot, you could see the categories and tags assigned to a product.
Attributes define additional information about a product. A very common example of attributes is the list of specifications of a device displayed at the online store.
Let’s continue the example of the shirt. Imagine that the shirt inventory has the following attributes:
Color: Green, Red
Size: S, M, L, XL
I will now add these attributes to the product. From WordPress Admin Dashboard, go to Products > Attributes. A screen similar to the following screenshot will appear.
In this example, I have added an attribute Color.
Some important fields in this form are.
- Name: This is the name of the attribute.
- Slug: The SEO friendly name that is used in the URL.
- Enable Archive: Enable it, if you want this attribute to have product archives in the store.
- Type: There are two options – Select: It will display a drop-down menu for already created tags. Text: In this, the user has to manually input the name of the attribute.
- Default Sort Order: You can sort the tags according to Custom Order, Name, Name (Numeric) and Term ID.
Once an attribute has been added, it will be displayed in the right side panel. There are two ways of setting attributes. You could either click the Settings icon for a newly created attribute or add it to the product page directly.
Click on Settings.
A new form will appear. Fill in the fields and add the name of the color. In this example, I will add Green.
Go back to attributes and you will see that the color Green has been added successfully to color attribute.
Now, you can assign this attribute to one or more products. Go to add product or edit an existing product. Set the attribute and its terms by following the steps below.
Click Add, and it will open another text field to set terms. Because I had added the term Green, It will appear in the drop-down menu.
The second way is to add the term directly clicking the Add New button
You could see that the color Red has been set up for this product.
In order to verify that the term Red has been added to the list of Color attribute, navigate to attributes and confirm that Red has been added successfully.
You can also add attribute(s) directly from the Product tab. I will now add another attribute Size and set the term S, M, L, XL from the Product page directly. Here is how to do this.
P.S: To add multiple terms at once, use the pipe separator (|).
Go back to attributes and you will see that the newly added attribute is not in the list.
This omission is the result of the difference between the two methods of adding attributes.
If you add attribute from Products > Attributes, it is permanently available for assigning to all products. However, if you add attribute directly, it will be set for that particular product only.
Now that everything has been set up correctly, here is the product with a category, tag, attributes and terms.
This tutorial offers an in-depth look at categories, tags and attributes and how to use these elements correctly. If you have a question about these elements or would like to add to the discussion, leave a comment below. I love to answer all the queries.