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.
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.