How to Show a Category or Tag Description in WordPress

When you create a Category or Tag in WordPress, there will be at least three fields. You can see those fields in the screenshot below. There may be more fields if you’re using Categories (which will have a “Parent Category” option), or plugins such as Yoast SEO that will add extra details. However, these three fields will always appear when you create a taxonomy term: Name, Slug, and Description.

  • Name: This is the main name of the term that your visitors will see.
  • Slug: This is the URL for the term archive page. Click here for guide to taxonomy slugs)
  • Description: WordPress describes the field this way, “The description is not prominent by default; however, some themes may show it.”
Term description on term creation screen

In another post, we explained how to display Categories and Tags on your site. WordPress tells us that some themes may show the description. However, the vast majority of themes do not show the term description. You won’t find the description on most archive pages. You won’t find the description in most blocks and shortcodes that display taxonomy terms.

So how do you display the term description? This guide will explain how to show WordPress term descriptions for your site visitors.

The easiest approach is available to people using the new Site Editor for WordPress theme. There is a “Term Description” block available for you. This will not work if you place it inside a WordPress post. However, this will work if you design term archives in the Site Editor.

Term description block in WordPress

In this image below, I’ve placed the “Term Description” block underneath the title on the archive page.

Term description added to Site Editor

This screenshot below shows the result on the frontend of the site. The term description is clearly visible on the archive page.

Term description on term archive page

If you are a developer, you can use code to retrieve and display the term description. If you’re looking for the description in the database, this guide to WordPress taxonomy data will help. The term description is stored in the _term_taxonomy table, as you can see in this screenshot below:

WordPress term taxonomy in the database

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