How to Show Category and Tag Descriptions In WordPress Theme

WordPress lets you add a short description to the categories as well as to the post tags of your blog. Here is a brief tutorial to show the category and tag descriptions in your WordPress theme.

Why category and tag descriptions? You may ask. Adding descriptions to category and tag pages has two advantages. First, the reader of your blog can have a rough idea on the type of posts are covered in a particular category. Second, you can show the category and tag descriptions as meta description on the respective pages which may help for better SEO. (see example)

Show Category Description in Category Pages Of WordPress Theme

1. First, add a description to your categories from WordPress Dashboard > Categories.

Add description to categories in WordPress
2.  Open your FTP client, browse to your WordPress theme directory and download the archive.php file for editing. Better, create a backup of the archive.php file to be safe.

3. You will see a code block like the following:

Add category description in WordPress category pages

4. Paste the following code just below it.

<?php if (is_category()) { ?>
<?php $description=category_description(); echo $description;  ?>
<?php } ?>

The above code pulls the category description that you entered in step 1 and displays the same to the user.

5. For the meta description part, add the following code before the </head> tag in your WordPress theme.

<?php
if (is_category()) { ?>
<meta name=”description” content=”<?php $description=category_description(); echo $description;  ?>” />
<?php } ?>

Note: Using All in one Seo pack plugin may override the above code.

Show Tag Descriptions in Tag Pages Of WordPress Theme

To show the tag descriptions, follow steps 1, 2 and 3 as described in previous section and then continue with what follows next.

4. Paste the following code to show tag descriptions in every tag page.

<?php if (is_tag()) { ?><?php echo tag_description(); ?><?php } ?>

You do not need to fill out each and every tag to use the above code. If a tag does not have any description, the above code shows nothing. (see example)

5. To display the tag descriptions as meta descriptions, put the following code before </head> in your WordPress theme.

<?php if ( is_tag() && tag_description() ) : ?>
<meta name=”description” content=”<?php echo wp_specialchars( strip_tags( tag_description() ), 1 ); ?>” />
<?php endif; ?>

Tip: How to show meta description as post excerpts in blog’s index page.

Styling Category and Tag descriptions

To style the category and tag descriptions, all you have to do is include a unique class just before the description field.

For example:

<?php if (is_tag()) { ?><div class=”yourclassname”><?php echo tag_description(); ?></div><?php } ?>

Now, write the attributes of the div class in the style.css file of your WordPress theme.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Amit Banerjee is the founding editor and owner of Ampercent. He is a die hard technology enthusiast and writes about all things technology, How to guides, tutorials and search engines. Follow him on Twitter, read his personal blog or drop him an email.