Creating Categories

Setting up categories and sub-categories is done in the Catalogue Setup section of your store. 

To delete an existing category, just tick the select box at the start of the row and hit the delete button on the top right-hand side. 

Now that we have cleaned up that old category, it is time to create the categories from the example shown previously. 

Let's start with Desktops. First we use the Add New button to add a new category.  

The Add Category Form loads. Let's have a look at the General tab first. The name of the category, in this case, will be Desktops. If you use multiple languages, they will show up as additional tabs next to the English tab and you can add the Category Name and Category Description in all additional languages. 

Product descriptions are displayed to shoppers at the top of each category page, but as a general rule, they don't do much for your visitors. They are really good for Search Engine Optimisation, which we will cover in more detail in later tutorials. Moving on to the Data tab. The Parent field we will get to when we start setting up sub-categories (also known as child categories, with the category being the parent).  

In our example, we only have one shop set up, so we only have a single choice in the Stores field and it is selected by default. A check in the select box means the category is enabled for the associated store, so in our case, the Desktop category is enabled for our Default store. Moving down the page, we get to the SEO keyword

As a general rule, we advise that you use our SEO module to manage all the SEO keywords. We have 3 reasons for this:

  1. Keywords have to be globally unique (unique across everything in the store)
  2. Keywords cannot contain spaces
  3. It is easier. We love easier

Next is the Category Image. Depending on the look and feel of the site, the image can be displayed on the category page with the Category Description. You can also opt to add a 'refine search' to your page navigation. In that case, the category images are added as filters to refine search results 

The edit button will open the image manager that you can use to upload, edit and assign an image. You can also browse the server for images already uploaded to the server. Some of the more advanced features of our image manager, we will be explored in a later, stand-alone tutorial. If your menu is dynamically generated, the Top checkbox is an important one to remember. It is the mechanism used to assign categories to the top menu bar. 

There are 2 things you need to remember about this Top Checkbox:

  1. It is un-ticked (disabled) by default
  2. It only works for top level categories.

The last field on the page is the Status dropdown box. This is pretty self-explanatory. If a category is enabled, it will show in the store. If it is disabled, it will not show. 

Very handy for seasonal goods, like Summer Dresses or Christmas Hampers. Just disable the categories when you don't need them anymore and enable when the time is right. There is no need to complete all the data again, you can simply switch them over. The Desktops, Laptops and MobileDevices categories are set up in exactly the same way. All have the Top checkbox ticked, so it's time to check our work so far. Visit your store front by selecting the correct store from the dropdown list. All of our Top Level or Parent Categories now show in the store menu, as expected. 

Now let's set up some Sub or ChildCategories. Again we use the Add New button to add a new category. All the requirements on the General Tab are exactly the same as for a Top Level or Parent Category. Just enter a Category Name

Phones is going to be a sub-category of Mobile Devices. To make that happen, we need to use the Parent field. If you click in the text field, all available options should drop down. For Phones to be a sub-category of Mobile Devices, we need to set the parent to Mobile Devices

So we will just  select that from the list and save. And we will do exactly the same for Music Players. Our list of categories now looks like this. It is easy to see the sub-categories, as they have the parent category in front of the name. 

A quick check in the store front confirms they are indeed sub-categories and appear as options under their parent in the menu.

The (0) just indicates that at the moment no products are assigned to the category. Last but not least, we have to set up our third level of categories. IOS Devices and Android Devices are going to be Child Categories of Phones (which is itself a child category of MobileDevices). Again we use the Add New button to add a new category. All the instructions on the General Tab are exactly the same. Just enter a Category Name

IOS Devices are going to be a sub-category of Phones. To make that happen, we need to use the Parent field again. Click in the text field, to show available options. The Phones Category, being a child category itself, shows as Mobile Devices > Phones, so we need to select this as the parent. 

Android devices we will set up exactly the same way as a child of Mobile Devices > Phones So now our category list looks like this: 

And from the storefront, it looks like this: 

As you may notice, the store menu looks exactly the same. None of the third level menu items are shown. That is because, by default, only 2 levels of menu items are shown in the menu. Our Mega Menu extension handles more levels and it will be covered in another tutorial. What does happen with the default menu, is the Refine Search functionality. When you click on the Phones sub-category, you will notice that the Android Devices and IOS Devices become available to refine the search results. 

Now we have some categories and basic navigation in the store, it is time to (finally!) start adding some products. Let's do this now.

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