Category selections on a product determine where it lives on the website. Every product is required to have at least one set of categories selected.

You have control over where your product lives on the website - within reason. A benefit of the site is that it's easy to make a product visible in multiple categories without having to manually link or copy the item. You can select the relevant categories directly in Plone and the product will display in each of those categories on the website.

This can also be a detriment, though, when too many categories that are not fully relevant have been applied to a product. The category ends up with hundreds of products, which dilutes its purpose and makes it difficult for the user to find the products that are truly relevant.

Definition of Categories

Categories refer to the website's Information Architecture and determine where a product lives in the navigation of the website.

There are three levels of categories. Think of them as topics that get more refined as you dig into each level.

Level 1 is the broadest topic, and Level 3 the most specific, but they relate to each other.

A product is required to have at least one set of categories applied (one each of Level 1, 2, and 3), but can contain multiple when relevant.

Best Practices to selecting Categories

Step 1 - Start with one Category set

Start with one set of the most relevant Category Level 1, 2, and 3. Your product should clearly fit into a primary set.

Step 2 - Consider additional Categories

Consider additional categories, ensuring that the product is directly relevant to each Category level.

Step 3 - Assess current inventory of additional Categories

Before you apply additional categories, use Plone to assess current inventory. Will your product complement the other products, and add value to the user?

If the Category (level 3) that you are considering already has over a hundred products, make sure yours is a direct fit. Otherwise, it will dilute the meaning and value of other products in the category. If it doesn't seem like there are other products with topics similar to yours, then do not apply that category.

Step 4 - Assess how many Level 3 Categories are applied

There is no magic number to how many categories should be applied to an individual product. It can vary from 1 to 20 depending on the topic. Our recommendation is no more than 5 selections. A product that is applied to too many categories is a red flag for a couple of reasons. It's either diluting the value of a category where it's not completely relevant, or, the product subject is too broad that it's not offering value to the customer.

Category Selection Examples

Take the article, Anthracnose on Strawberries in Home Gardens. It should go in the following categories:

  • Forage and Food Crops | Fruit | Pests and Diseases
  • Trees, Lawns, and Landscaping | Home Gardening | Pests and Diseases
  • Pests and Diseases | Pest, Disease and Weed Identification | Plant Disease Identification and Control

It should not go in every "pest and disease" category on the site. Only if it also directly applies to the Level 2 and 1 should the pest and disease category be applied.

For example, it was not applied to Trees, Lawns, and Landscaping | Trees and Shrubs | Pests and Diseases because that category is focused on non-fruit trees and shrubs.

Example: If your product is about financial management, don't select every level 3 of "Business Management." Only select those where it applies to the Level 1 and 2 also.

Additional Notes and Resources

Keep in mind that there are additional attributes to further refine your product within a category. Application, Industry, Plant Type and others will help users find the specific information they need through filters on the site.

If you are unsure whether a category should apply, talk to your team Product Strategy Specialist or submit a request to the Web Services group for assistance!