U: Understanding categories and tags

gloucestershire web designs categories and tagsWelcome to Day 21 of the Gloucestershire web design A-Z blogging challenge.

One of the most confusing aspects for some of our clients is understanding categories and tags on their business blogs.

But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Let’s get you out of overwhelm and into clarity by the end of this short article.

Blog categories – choose one

Think of categories like your filing cabinet.

You might come across business blogs with the same post put in several categories. This is NOT the way to categorise posts.

Think of it like this – imagine a bill comes into your office that you need to file. You can only put that piece of paper into ONE file, right? You cannot physically put it into two different files because you only have one piece of paper.

So the first way to understand blog categorisation is to only ever put a post into ONE category.

Blog categories – how many?

Categories are designed to help your readers find the information they are looking for. Think of them like chapters of a book.

A good book doesn’t have 200 chapters, it has about 12.

Organise your categories in a similar way; 12 is about the maximum number of categories you really need. Somewhere between six and 12 is ideal; perhaps 20 for a bigger blog.

Choosing blog categories

Blog categories are a useful part of your overall keyword strategy, so choose your words carefully.

When I created my first blog 12 years ago I tried to be clever. I wanted to stand out, use different words, be clever with my language.

The result?

Confusion and not many hits!

A round wheel works effectively doesn’t it? So DON’T reinvent it or try to build a square one!

If you write about organic gardening, use the blog category ‘organic gardening’. Don’t be fancy with ‘conscious cultivation’ or some other meaningless phrase.

Do some keyword analysis and find out what your readers are looking for; then use them in your categories.

What are tags?

Going back to the book analogy; chapters are like categories and the index are your tags.

Tags give more information so your readers can drill down to find exactly what they are looking for.

In theory you can have as many tags as you like, but ask yourself if it’s useful. I recommend around 20-40.

If you find a tag grows with lots of posts it should really be a category. Likewise you don’t want single use tags; that’s just annoying and not helpful to your readers.

Examples of categories and tags

Say you’re a food manufacturer and you share recipes on your blog. Your category might be recipes (generic) and tags will be things like vegetarian, starter, chocolate (more specific).

If you own an eco friendly products company a category might be lighting (generic) and tags will be things like LED, CFL, solar (more specific).

What about you? Do you need help setting up your categories and tags? Contact Gloucestershire Web Designs or call us on local rate: 0845 45 99 100 to book your clarity consultancy session now.

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2 thoughts on “U: Understanding categories and tags”

  1. I disagree about the one category rule. On my personal site, I have various subcategories (social media category with sub-categories for the network or two that a post is talking about). As for the tags, I typically think of those in terms of Twitter hashtags, so I tend to limit them to 3 or 4, and I use them when posting the blog on Twitter!

  2. Hi Dwayne, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment; I appreciate it.

    I understand that when talking about social media it’s a bit difficult to categorise if a post mentions more than one channel (in fact, I’m going to confess here – I have a blog post that is in both the Twitter and Facebook category!).

    I love your analogy of using post tags like twitter hashtags; that’s brilliant and helps to keep focus. Thanks for sharing what works for you and joining in the conversation!

    (hmmm, looks like my husbands avatar is appearing against my name – weird!)

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