Are your categories and tags running rampant, taking over every possible corner and cranny of your website? Do you have a hard time tagging each of your posts with related keywords? Do you consistently place your blog posts in more than 2 categories? What’s the difference between a category and a tag, anyway? Categories and tags seem to be something most bloggers have trouble mastering.
So, exactly what is the difference between a categories and tags? If you read my challenge on Narrowing Your Niche, then you have an idea of the basic theme, or niche, of your blog. Categories are just a very limited few topics that point to that niche. Categories are wide topical areas, where you can fit several topics inside. They are the ways you showcase your blog’s mission. I’ll stick with the examples I used on that page, even though they aren’t really areas of my own expertise. If you are a military family and are showcasing the lifestyle differences because of having to move so often, your categories might include:
- HOME – where you’d discuss packing, moving, settling in at the new place, decorations that move easily or can be left behind, etc
- KIDS – where you’d discuss how moving often affects your kids physically, mentally, and socially, including schooling options and considerations, friendships, even changes in wardrobe
- RELATIONSHIPS – the ins and outs of relating to other people in the new place, and the ones you have to leave behind, maybe even your own relationship with your spouse
- GEOGRAPHY – just fun travel information about each place you’ve lived, points of interest, differences in culture and topography, where you go and what you do for vacations (since you travel all the time anyway… it’s something I’d wonder about!)
You know what? That might be the only 4 categories you have. I’ve heard that 3 to 6 categories is about as many as you want to have, and that after that it gets jumbled. If you’ve narrowed your niche, I think that having 6 categories should be plenty! I’ll readily admit that I have more than 6 categories, though I’ll not punish myself for “reviews” and “giveaways” which are part of the business of running a blog.
And, let me discourage you in one thing. Please don’t include a “MISC” or “others” type category. You’ll find yourself putting too many things there. If you need a place to put things which don’t normally fit into your theme, might I suggest you analyze what things you are compelled to post in that manner and give it an appropriate category name. For an experienced example, my own blog niche is faith and family – how my family lives out our faith, and how a few certain areas of our life point to the Lord. Sometimes, though, I’ll do a review post or just a fun post that doesn’t fit. I’ll be in a place where I need to just share something about ME. I created a category titled “My Life” just for this purpose. It’s the silly things in life that I just feel like sharing. It’s “the real me,” you might say.
Tags are what makes up for you only having a few categories. That said, most of your tags should fit well inside of your categories. Look at my bullet list of categories above, and at the explanations about what those categories would contain. Take your tags cues from your explanation of your categories.
- For HOME, my tags might include:
- settling in
- house shopping
- big houses
- small houses
- country living
- base living
- For KIDS, my tags might include:
- For GEOGRAPHY, my tags might include:
- warm climates
- cool climates
- historical sites
- places we love
- travel plans
- (city names, state names, to help file when you posted things)
Are you kind of getting an idea on how to choose tags? While your post should be limited to only one or two categories, I feel like tagging your post with as many tags as fit it is most appropriate. Tag each post with whatever you would hope might cause people to find it if they searched your tag. Tag it with everything that you would want your post to show up in the search for, but make sure that it really DOES fit your post. If it doesn’t, people might click it in a search, but they’ll immediately leave if it’s not what they are looking to find. Only pick tags that are appropriate, but pick all the tags that are appropriate!
Your Categories and Tags Challenge
This is the activity you should do if you are going to be eligible for blogathon prizes. For this activity, spend some time on the project and leave me a comment ON THIS POST. ***Commenting is your method of entry. Please state in your comment that you are entering the Categories and Tags Challenge.
I want you to write down the small selection of categories that most fit your blog. (Feel free to come up with a definition like I did, above – or not.) Then, come up with 5-10 tags that fit each category. Place your list in the comments.
Please feel welcome to also include your blog’s link in the comments section of THIS POST. If my spam filter catches you, rest assured that I will spend most of my weekend participating in the Blogathon myself, and I will check regularly and get those comments posted as quickly as I possibly can.
Feel free to also comment with questions about categories and tags on THIS POST, if you have any. Please consider sharing this post, and any others on my site that you enjoy, on your social media. Do spend a moment here on my site if you can spare it and look around, follow my social media, sign up for my newsletter if it interests you. I really appreciate it. Thank you! Be blessed!