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How to Use Blog Categories and Tags the Right Way

Blog categories and tags are the tools used to organize content for your readers. Whether you’ve been blogging for a while or in the process of just getting started, you are going to have to make some decisions about them. It’s easy when you think of categories as your blog’s ‘Table Of Contents”.

How To Use Blog Categories

If you’re new to blogging try not to get too caught up with categories (especially if it keeps you from writing). Wait until you have published a few posts before you start thinking about categorizing. But once you have some content under your belt, you’ll have a clearer idea of the best way to organize it. A few broad categories are better lots of very specific ones (that may only contain one or two entries).

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you are an Interior Designer and your blog is where you share your design inspiration, provide practical tips and muse on design in general.

Your categories could be

  • Inspiration
  • Design Tips
  • Musings

Then, subcategories help you sort your posts so visitors can easily find related content on your blog (and stay on your site longer!).

Screen Shot 2014 08 21 at 9.37.20 AM How To Use Blog Categories and Tags The Right Way

Recommendation: Create subcategories only when you have 2-3 posts that fit into each one.

How To Use Tags

Tags can substitute for subcategories. Since they are visible on your blog posts they can act as pointers to related content on your blog. Tags provide a great method for you to sort your content when you’re just getting started.

Example:

You (as the Interior Designer) have recently written a blog post about your trip to Sicily and the beautiful hand-painted ceramic tiles you saw there. Last year you published a post about your trip to Barcelona and the ceramic tiles in that city’s public parks. Also, last month you published a blog about the ancient Roman pottery on display at your local museum.

So, now you have three blog posts about ceramics and two blog posts about Italy. Here’s how you would tag your Sicily post:

Screen Shot 2014 08 21 at 9.41.53 AM How To Use Blog Categories and Tags The Right Way

Because your related blog posts are tagged with the same keywords your readers will be able click on Ceramics and find your blogs about Barcelona tiles and Roman pottery, or click on Italy and find your blog about Roman pottery.

So tagging can solve the problem of having too few posts for a broad category or subcategory. There are no hard and fast rules about the amount of posts required per subcategory, but 3-4 is probably a good rule of thumb.

“What’s good for my readers is good for my blog”

Make this your mantra and you’ll make the right decisions about your categories. And don’t worry, you can change your blog categories down the road if you need to.

Disclaimer: I have been neglecting the blog categories and tags on my blog, hence the inspiration for this blog post. I have some work to do!

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