Today I’m going to be helpful and explain what tags and categories are and why you should be using them on your blogs. Any blogs, all blogs, for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND GOOD IN THE WORLD USE THEM!
You see, tags and categories do you and your readers a valuable service. Ever been to a blog that had all kinds of useful information that you wanted to read up on, as well as tons of other content that you really just didn’t have the time for? Adding categories to your blog posts (and then adding a category widget to the sidebar) makes it a lot easier for readers to find exactly what they’re looking for On Your Blog.
For example over at Sarah a.k.a. Legion I use categories to highlight each character, so that fans of a particular character can just click on the relevant category and get all of their posts together. Here, I don’t use many categories – which makes the blog a Lot harder to search through in order to find posts on a particular topic. You’d have to scroll through all of the pages scanning titles and content and most people just aren’t that dedicated.
Tags on the other hand, aren’t as much for your readers as they are for You. Tags are metadata that help search engine spiders find and correctly archive your site for query – but they’re also useful in your dashboard in order to help you find specific topics within categories. You should use the most relevant tags for each post, but try not to use too many or a spider might consider the tags worthless and your post spam.
How to decide what is a category or tag worthy is up to you. It helps if you have a concrete grasp on what your blog is about as I did when constructing Sarah a.k.a. Legion, I knew from day 1 that it would feature serial fiction from various different characters over time – so having categories for each character was an obvious choice. Blargle Splect on the other hand was my sandbox where I threw a bunch of blather and saw what stuck – so it only had a handful or general, nonspecific, less useful categories at first. I’ve since changed that.
It’s better to start using categories early on, then have to go back and add them later. It’s still possible to go back in and add categories later, it’s just a little bit more of a pain in the ass that way, same with tags. So use them early, use them as well as you are able, and your readers and search engine ratings will thank you!
Y. K. Greene