Effectively Using Categories and Tags on Your Blog

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Posted 26 Oct 2008 in WordPress

WordPress WednesdaysAlmost every blog software uses some form of categories and tagging to label your posts. You can turn your blog into a well organized internal search engine with a little elbow grease.

Categories can be thought of as a chest of drawers in your bedroom. Each drawer has a specific purpose – one for socks, one for shirts, another for sweaters, and so on.

Tags are subdivisions of each category. Inside of each drawer (category) you can divide your socks by color or type. Same with your shirts and sweaters. Tags are a compliment to categories, so you remain organized.

Since you can have blue socks, as well as blue sweaters, you can use “blue” to tag both the “Socks” drawer and the “Sweaters” drawer. But, socks can’t be sweaters and sweaters can’t be socks.

Make sense?

The other thing to remember about using categories and tags is to make them relevant. Don’t go all crazy with random category names that really do not describe the content inside. If you have posts about top WordPress plugins, then categorize them under “WordPress” or “WordPress Plugins”, not “My favorite blog software”.

It is easier (and suggested by most pro-bloggers) to be a little flexible with your tags, but again, the key is to not go overboard with irrelevant tags.


This cartoon from Being Five shows a common tactic used by lots of bloggers – using tags that are irrelevant to your post, but may generate lots of search engine traffic. I recommend staying away from tags that have no relevance to your posts. I also suggest to use tags based on key terms or words in your post. Look over your post. What are the main concepts, terms and ideas? Those should be tags.

No matter what blogging software you use, effectively use your categories and tags to organize your posts! You will be pleasantly pleased by how orderly your blog looks AND how easy it is to find the information you need without using a search engine!

WordPress Wednesdays features posts about plugins, themes and general usage of WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system!

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  1. Euhm, what do I do with my blue, white and black drawer when it comes to tags and categories?

    Ok, I admit, me bit chaotic :-)

  2. Thanks for the link love! This is a great topic every blogger should consider especially if using the category name in their permalinks.

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