When I started blogging I didn’t understand what ‘Categories’ and ‘Tags’ were all about. As a result I more or less ignored them at first. But I’ve come to appreciate just how important they both are. While tags are basically keywords/key phrases which you think people might type in to search for blog posts (or photos, music, videos), Categories are a way of organising posts so both you and your readers can find what you’re looking for.
Imagine you have a mixed pile of paperwork on your desk. There may be magazines, articles, justmyfitness correspondence, bank statements – all sorts. In order to file everything away, you’d start by separating the big pile into several smaller piles according to what they were (subject or category). In this way, you’d still have a chance of finding a particular piece of paper again at a later date.
Blog categories work in just the same way. If you blog about photography for example, you might want categories about cameras, lighting techniques, portraits, weddings and so on.
After much trial and error, here are three ways I’ve found to use blog Categories effectively:
1. Just as you wouldn’t set up a separate file for each piece of paper in your mixed pile of paperwork, don’t set up a new Category for your latest blog post, without searching through your existing Categories to see if you already have one that is appropriate.
2. Try to keep the total number of Categories manageable, (somewhere between 12 and 20 as a rough guide). Going back to our fictitious office, too many files can be overwhelming and take ages to search through. On your blog, people may only be interested in one particular subject, so make it easy for them to find all related posts.
3. Avoid putting a post into more than one Category wherever possible. It can make your blog a bit disorganised if you’re not careful – a bit like taking copies of a document and putting each copy into a different file. It’s best to only do this if absolutely necessary.
So Categories are an important tool for organising your blog posts and other online material so that you (and your readers) can find what you’re looking for quickly and easily.
Louise Barnes-Johnston has over 10 years experience as a small business coach and Online Marketing Adviser. Through her joint venture Savvy Marketers [http://www.savvymarketers.co.uk], Louise offers no nonsense, no fluff, no jargon, low-cost easy steps to get better results from marketing via the internet. Visit the site for a free copy of “The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Marketing via the Internet”.
© Louise Barnes-Johnston, 2010. All rights reserved