Blog Categories Vs. Tags

Blog Categories Vs Tags The difference and how to used the properly | Kaleidoscope Blog

I get asked often about Categories and Tags, especially by new bloggers. Most often they want to know what the difference is between the two and how to use them properly when blogging. So, today I’m going to shed a little light on the situation.

Blog Categories vs. Tags

What IS the difference between blog categories and tags?

Blog categories allow you to bring together a wide variety of post under the one category heading. Whereas tags are used to add more specific information. This is especially useful for helping search engines find content on your blog.

For example, here on Kaleidoscope I have the category “Woman to Woman” which is where all the interviews with women are collated. However, some of the tags I have used for a post within this category include “blogger”, the name of the interviewee, the name of their site etc.

Another example could be a category of “fashion”, might have a blog post within it that is tagged with “accessories”, “shoes”, and “leather”.

How to use them Properly

Categories and tags are similar, but they do have different roles.

I like to think of it as Categories are a great way to organise your content, whereas tags are a way to give search engines more information.

It is a good idea not to have too many categories. In fact, I would recommend using less than 20 if possible.

Take some time and write down all the categories you currently have on  your blog. Are there any you can combine and rename to give a stronger presence on your blog? Are there any that you can get rid of as they don’t really fit in with the plan or direction you have for your blog? Make sure all your categories reinforce the message you want to communicate through your blog.

Doing this not only means that your site isn’t clogged up with a million categories for people to search through, but it also helps you in creating content for your blog. If the post you are writing doesn’t comfortable fit within one of your decided categories, then perhaps it’s not a great fit for your blog. It’s a good way to keep check on whether you’re on track or not!

When it comes to Tags, my suggestion is to keep in mind terms someone might use in a search engine to find your blog post and to use these as your tags.

The other thing to keep in mind with Tags is to keep them organised. I have to admit I can be a little lax at this, but as you type your tags in, check to see if any previously used tags come up. If so, choose that tag. Check your spelling too: for example, I know I have a tag for “blogger” and “bloggers” whereas, I should really only have the one. There’s no point having multiple versions of what is essentially the same tag. Try and keep your tags organise to keep things easy for your readers to find your content.

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I hope that helps to decipher the Blog Categories vs Tags dilemma for you!

Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below.

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Amanda Fuller

Founder at Kaleidoscope
Founder of Kaleidoscope - facets of blogging, womanhood and life, Amanda is on a heart-led quest to create a savvy resource for the modern day woman β€” a one-stop-shop overflowing with real life, been-there-done-that wisdom and curated inspiration.

About Amanda Fuller

Founder of Kaleidoscope - facets of blogging, womanhood and life, Amanda is a blogger on a heart-led quest to create a savvy resource for the modern day woman β€” a one-stop-shop overflowing with real life, been-there-done-that wisdom and curated inspiration. She is also a Graphic Designer at Amanda Fuller Designs and a woman who simply loves beautiful things.

21 thoughts on “Blog Categories Vs. Tags

  1. Thanks Amanda – one question I have is how do you get the categories in the top menu? – so when I hover the mouse over Wpmanhood a list of categories shows up. I just can’t seem to get my head around that

    1. This is done in the appearance > menus section of your WordPress blog. You can choose to add pages, or categories to your main menu. If you would like them to appear in a dropdown menu, simply make sure the categories are offset in the settings so they nest under the main category. Hope that helps!

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  3. I’ve enjoyed reading through your posts on blogging and have found some new and useful tips – thank you! πŸ™‚ I do have a couple questions about tags and comments… Does this apply only for WordPress blogs, or is it also applicable with other platforms such as Blogger? Since I currently hide my tags, do the tags have to be visible to be searchable?

    1. Hi Rosa, Thanks for your comment. You have raised some great questions. The principle behind Tags and Categories is the same across every blogging platform – blogger, wordpress, squarespace and the others. You do not need to have your tags visible for them to be picked up in searches as the tags are part of the metadata that is attached to your blog posts that search engines use to find info, whether they are displayed in your blog’s design or not. Hope that helps!

  4. This post is totally awesome. I have clients tell me all the time that they have no idea what the difference is or how to even begin breaking them up. I actually just did a design install and this lady had, I kid you not, over 200 labels. Fortunately she is also a coaching client so I will be using THIS POST as a resource! Thanks so much for sharing!

    – E
    http://www.eae-design.com/

  5. Thank you so much for this post. Even though I am seasoned blogger i just moved to WordPress and I was a little confused about tags and categories.

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