It’s Thursday so once again I’m doing a Blogger Series post.
New to this blog? Every Thursday I am currently running a series of blog posts about blogging. Wanted to know all those quick and easy methods of getting a blog up and running? What you need to know to draw in readers? How to make your blog a success?
This is the series for you. Simple information, clear instructions and if you need further clarification, just leave me a comment.
Today’s topic is all about the use of Tags and Categories on your blog posts.
What are tags?
Tags are micro-data that describe details of your blog post. They are usually short, often just a single word or a phrase.
They should not be confused with “keywords”. While tags can be keywords, keywords should be featured in your title, your blog content and not just consigned to the tags.
Tags can be good for SEO as they are used to create indexable and rankable pages.
Unlike keywords, tags work better when the same tags are used multiple times across your blog. Whereas overusing keywords in a blog post can actually have a negative effect on your SEO.
Do I need to use tags?
In truth, you don’t NEED to use them, however, if done well they can help you in regards to search engine ranking.
Because each tag becomes an indexed page, you open up additional pathways for people to find your posts. Always a bonus!
As mentioned, it’s all about using tags well to gain the benefit. Take some time to research your tags and see what works. Find tags that are good and use them in all the relevant posts. Consistency is what you’re going for.
If you feel you might do more harm than good with tags, then stick to just a few or leave them off.
Good solid content and use of keywords in the blog copy can be enough to drive traffic and affect SEO ranking. Tagging can assist with that if done with care.
How do I add tags?
When you are creating a blog post, over on the right-hand side there is a section called Categories and Tags. Expand this and there will be a box for tags.
Type in your tags using commas to break them up. For example Blogging tips, blogger series, blogging tags, blogging categories, blogger advice. When those phrases are added to the box, they will appear like this:
As you type, existing tags you’ve used before will appear as suggestions, helping you to choose the same (relevant) tags for your post.
How many tags should I add?
It is recommended that you use no more than 15 tags on a WordPress blog post. However, don’t try and aim for that. Let it happen organically. As a minimum, I recommend at least 4.
By keeping the number of tags to a manageable level, you have better control over using repeat tags.
Tags should assist you, so think about what you want to include as a tag.
What are categories?
Categories are just a method of organising your content. This makes it easier for readers to find posts on specific topics.
It can be quicker and easier than using the search bar, and you want visitors to locate relevant posts fast.
Do I need to use categories?
I personally think using categories is great. Especially as your blog gets bigger and you create more content, having organised groups for your topics becomes more important.
Like with tags, if used well, categories can really help your blog. The main thing is to really consider what sort of categories to create.
Consider the sort of topics you write about, can these be categorised? Make a list of several categories your posts can fit in.
You really want them to mostly be in one specific top-level category rather than featured in multiple categories. Think about a few of your articles, what is the one word you would think to describe that article?
Category names can be long but they need to be clear what topics they group.
For example, here is a list of some of my categories:
I write numerous topics that fall under these categories, allowing me to group them together.
So, those readers wanting to find my Monday Marketing articles can simply click on the Marketing Category and it will bring up all those posts.
Do take time to work out your categories. Even now, I have made changes, added some, removed others. You don’t want a lot of categories you either don’t use or that will only ever group just a few articles.
If that happens, consider combining two categories.
How do I add Categories?
As with the tags, the section is on the right-hand side when you are writing a blog post. There is a search bar that allows you to search for a category (though it’s advisable not to have so many you need to use the search bar to locate them, just scroll).
There is also a button for Adding new Category. This allows you to create a new Top-level category, or de-select that option in which case, a list of your existing categories will appear for you to choose a Parent Category (see below).
How many should I add?
Don’t go crazy. As mentioned above, don’t create categories for barely written about topics.
Use broad terms to allow for a bigger umbrella. For example, I have a health category. This can include both physical and mental health articles I discuss. I don’t need to separate these out, especially as I don’t write about them as much as other topics.
You can always include a “general” or “misc” category for anything that doesn’t fit. However, so far I think most of my articles have fitted nicely into the non-general category. Which is what I prefer.
Though I have used “general” in the past to allow me time while I am making changes to my categories.
If possible, think carefully about your categories early on. It’s a bit of a nightmare making big changes to them and then having to go back through old posts and amend their connected category.
My blogger friends, do you use categories and/or tags?