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The importance of category management on your online shop

Your website should not only look the part, it should feel the part. This means that as creative as you are when designing your website, the number one priority will always be to provide easy navigation for your customers. A key factor I will be focusing on in this article is the effect of category management on your online shop and how to use it to your advantage.

How to implement category management

In order to categorise the pages on your website you need to have a clear understanding of what people coming to your site are looking for. Firstly, you would want to keep your categories simple. So instead of naming a category “Men’s black shoes size 8-12”, why not just name it “Men’s shoes” and then create the appropriate filters so your customers can easily filter out which product they are looking for. Not only that, it reads much better and boasts a much more positive user experience.

An easy way to manage your categories is to think from a third person perspective (view your site like your customer would). When your customer visits your site, all he/she want is an answer to their question, so from thereupon it becomes your duty to provide them the answer as efficiently as possible. For example, if a customer somehow falls upon your magical site looking for the latest ‘Football Boots’ but instead is graced with nearly 20 categories, they would rather save their precious 30 minutes reading the category names, click the back button and visit a different site who eventually turns out to be your competitor.


See how every single page has a clear, defined action? So much so that I did not even need to caption the images to state which is before and which is after. Not only will your customers appreciate the simplicity created by your compact category structure, it will help you rank well in search engines such as Google. It prompts thorough keyword research which can help your business. Here’s some examples to show just how precious category management is:


I know pictures state a thousand words so here is three thousand. To help you even further, our experts here at EKM have come up with the ‘Two Rules Of Three’;

  1. Customers must see the start of the path within three seconds of landing on the homepage.
  2. The product they want should ideally be no more than three clicks away.


Let’s take a look at my site

To further help apply these rules on your site, take note if you sell particular products that are popular or you simply just want to sell as fast as you can, placing it in additional categories will do no harm at all. In fact, it’ll just add positivity to your customer’s user experience. I know I’ve already laid out some really important points persuading you to go off and restructure your categories, but I thought it’s best if I show you the category structure from my site and how its simplicity proved so effective. My site sells a variety of watches.

See how organised it looks and reads. It states all the different types of watches clearly. The category structure is actually so simple, I even had space to place the word ‘Watches’ in each category, although I didn’t need to because my website was made only for watches.

See how the subcategories are laid out smoothly. Rather than making all the watch brands like ‘Hublot’ & ‘Armani Exchange’ into top-level categories, I only had to make one category, named ‘Watch Brands’ and place all the brands in that category. Additionally, if I do sell a variety of ‘Hublot’ watches, I can simply make subcategories in the ‘Hublot’ category or a more simple option would be making particular filters, so customers can choose the colour, type etc.



Just to make everything sound less technical and more elaborative, I’ve made a list of the benefits of managing your categories effectively and the DON’TS when editing your categories.


  • SEO – lets you hone people to your site, making them potential customers and keeping them away from competitors websites.
  • Conversion Optimisation – Helps you to keep an eye on which calls to action to use on different pages thus increasing the amount of visitors that come onto your site.
  • Positive user experience – It makes navigation a million times easier not just for your customers but for everyone accessing your site.
  • Editing – Keeping your category structure simple lets you manage it easily whenever you like and makes it time-efficient.
  • Beauty – The less categories you have, the more beautiful it allows your site to look.



  • Put in a random place – Never place your navigation in a non-standard location (e.g. middle of the page), it’s best placed either as a vertical navigation down the left side but preferably as horizontal navigation across the top.
  • Use generic labels – Navigation should be descriptive and tell your customers what exactly they will find in that category. Labels like “product” and “services” are simply too generic.
  • Create a million categories – No empty categories. No categories with just one product. No categories with subcategories which have subcategories which also has subcategories etc. Keep it minimal, make seven your magic number and try not to go over seven top-level categories and even subcategories to provide as easy navigation for your customers as you can. Remember, it’s not a list.
  • Get the order wrong – The most appropriate way to organise your categories is keeping it in alphabetical order but another option is to start with your most important categories and ending with your least important.



To further elaborate on the positive and negative effects of category management, let’s compare the outcomes. It can give you a high SEO ranking meaning your site can be one step closer to achieving its dream place on the first page of Google search results rather than not even being in the first ten pages. It persuades visitors on your site to shop, resulting in more customers for you hence the term conversion optimisation, on the other hand poorly organised categories give a below par user experience and it’s basically like handing customers over to your competitors. It saves time when you need to add products because you’ve structured your categories so brilliantly! Or it will promptly consume time if you don’t know which category to choose from all twenty. The smallest of changes on your categories could alter the navigation bar from two lines to one, making your site look professional, sophisticated and a whole lot more appealing. Don’t let your category structure be a barrier in your online shop becoming successful.

What are you waiting for?

Your own successful online shop is just a click away