How to Create a Category in SMF Forum

How to create a category in SMF

In this article, you will learn how to craft a new category in SMF. The SMF category structure is an important part of the whole content hierarchy, and an integral part of organizing your forum properly.

When crafting your forum with SMF, you need to make sure you understand the difference categories, board, and topics. This is the content hierarchy of your forum. Categories are the top node, followed by boards, and topics at the very bottom. The order follows this pattern:

  • Category
    • Board
      • Topic

Or, to visualize it with example content:

  • Category: Support
    • Board: cPanel
      • Topic: “Can’t log into email?!”

To create a category in SMF, just follow these steps:

  1. Log into your SMF forum
  2. Click Admin
  3. Choose Boards under the Forum dropdown
  4. Click Create New Category

Mind the Order parameter. You have a few options for placing your category in an ideal location on the forum. For example, you can put your new category in the first position, or above or below a different category.

As another option, you can optionally give your users the ability to “collapse” certain categories. This is basically a user interface tweak that will not be relevant for all forums, but it might be something you would like to offer. It will also depend on your layout and theme. If in doubt, just leave this box checked as default. All of these parameters are available from the “Create New Category” menu.

When creating a category, remember that you can have as many boards as needed underneath underneath the category title. It may be difficult to determine what part of your content should be a category or board. It’s best to use categories to define the various aspects of the site, and boards are best reserved for specific aspects of that category.

For example, if your forum is about a piece of software, you might have categories and boards that follow a similar pattern:

  • How to
    • Installation
    • Features
    • Customization
  • Support
    • Troubleshooting
    • Reporting bugs

Remember that if a user creates a topic in the wrong board, you as the admin can always move that topic to the appropriate area.

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Christopher Maiorana Content Writer II

Christopher Maiorana joined the InMotion community team in 2015 and regularly dispenses tips and tricks in the Support Center, Community Q&A, and the InMotion Hosting Blog.

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