Anyone who knows me well, knows I can get a bit obsessive about organizing. One area that can easily get really disorganized on your blog are the labels, categories, and tags – especially when you have a multitude of “types” of labels. I know that since I joined Michelle here at Because Reading, it’s something I’ve been itching to organize, because – like I said, obsessive 😉 Plus, having clear labels, categories, and tags really does make it easier for people to navigate your blog and find older posts. After all, you don’t want to be the ONLY person who can find old posts, right?
For this Bloggiesta mini-challenge you will pick one set of labels, categories, or tags and organize them! Take a screenshot if you like or simply describe what you did somewhere – share a link on twitter (tag it with #bloggiesta), in our Facebook group, or even Instagram.
Labels, Categories, and Tags. Oh My!
1. Why should I care?
Labels, Categories, and Tags are there to help you keep posts organized on your blog – and to make it easier for others to find posts. Maybe they read something you wrote about blog security a while back and they want to find it. Well, if you have it neatly placed in a category entitled “how-to” for example, they could go directly to that post. Or maybe someone is reading a really helpful post and they want to know what else you might have on that subject. When the click on the category it will bring them to all the other posts in the category. How useful it would be if the posts are ACTUALLY all related. Not to mention, quite a few themes have this nice feature where it will automatically pull related posts and put them at the end of your post. These usually are pulled because they share a category or label — so again, how nice if they ACTUALLY are related!
2. What’s the difference?
Y’all, this is one that I’ve struggled with too. Why do I have tags AND categories AND labels?! Do we really need all this to identify a post? *shrugs* probably not. But it is good to know the difference and to use them correctly.
- Categories: These are, IMO, the most important ones to get right. You should not have a TON of categories. If you do, you’re confusing them with tags (see more below). Categories are broad topics on your blogs. If you are a book blogger — which is all I know enough to give examples — here are the most likely categories (or topics) you’d want on your blog:
- Book Reviews
You’re probably noticing that these categories are not very specific, because they are an overview. Will some posts overlap? Possibly – maybe you have a review that has a giveaway with it… so put it in both categories. You can also have sub-categories. So for example, on our blog — once I clean it up — under our Memes Category we will have the following sub-categories:
- Binge Watchers
- It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
- Safe and Sexy
- The Sunday Post
- Task It Tuesday
- Top Ten Tuesday
- My To Be Read List
Do you have to get that specific, by having sub categories? No! But the super-organized (and a bit obsessed, like myself) will probably prefer it. And that’s it for Categories.
- Tags: Tags are something I don’t use and really should because they’re great for search engines. Where categories are broad, tags are super specific. They are the details and keywords inside a post that go way beyond categories. People who are really great at using tags have hundreds of tags throughout their blog. Now if you’re a book reviewer and use Nose Graze’s Ultimate Book Blogger (UBB) for your reviews, it’s creating a bunch of tags for you… and I’m going to discuss those in labels. But let’s say you’re doing a book review. You’ll put it in the Category “Book Reviews” but that’s not very descriptive, right? Here’s where the tags come in. Take a look at the tags I should have used for my review last week on A Week of Mondays:
- A Week of Mondays
- Jessica Brody
- Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Young Adult
- Groundhog Day
- Love Triangle
- 4.5 stars
Several of those tags I did have, thanks to UBB – but I didn’t have the groundhog day, love triangle, and LMAO tags because I should have created them and I didn’t. But the point is, see how these tags help someone navigate within your category of Book Reviews to find exactly what they’re looking for? And they can know all kinds of different information to get to that exact book, ranging from author and publisher to rating and LMAO.
- Labels: When I’m talking labels, I’m getting very specific for book bloggers who use UBB. So if that doesn’t apply to you this may be a section to skip. Or, there may be something similar in your area of blogging that is similar. Through UBB we create tons of labels for things like book title, author, series, publisher, star ratings, genres etc. And these labels can get really unwieldy if you aren’t careful. I’m going to talk about this more in the next section – but I think it applies most specifically to the labels – watch for how your organizing these. Do you have “Farrar, Straus and Giroux” as one tag and then “Farrar Straus & Giroux” for another? That’s confusing and scattered.
This is really personal preference, but I like by labels to be really organized. For example, Publishers. You have big publishing houses with smaller imprints under them. I like to organize it that way. If you’re looking for books by HarperCollins you should see the books my the big publishing house and then you should see sub-groups for their imprints, such as Avon, HarperAudio, etc. The same can done with Genres, Series (within worlds), and even sources.
3. Common Mistakes Making Your Blog Disorganized
Fixing how you use categories and tags can be a huge undertaking. Or you could be doing it right and just need to do some simple clean up of these common mistakes.
- Different spelling… new label: Categories and Tags are exacts… which means if you type in “Erica O’rourke” for author and then on another review type in “Erica O’Rourke” and then on another type in “Erica ORourke” you’ve just created 3 different tags for the same thing. What a mess! Make sure you’re being consistent!
- Ooops, that should have been a tag: Do you have tons of categories because you’ve been using them as tags? So there’s a plugin, that I’ve never used (for those of you on WordPress) but heard is good called Categories to Tags Converter. It hasn’t been updated recently, so it may not be as good as it once was — wish I could say for sure — but it’s supposed to make conversion very simple.
- You have sub-categories, but no categories: This is a super easy one! So basically you might have that meme list I have above, but they’re free standing, without a big category over them to group them. Easy fix! Just go to your categories and create the category name (in this case, it would be “Memes”) and then go to each of your subcategories and edit them. Under Parent Category, just change from “None” to the new category “Meme” and you don’t even have to go to the individual posts to change anything! Yay!
- Uncategorized: If you forget to assign your post to a category, it automatically falls into “uncategorized.” You should really not have any posts in this category… or at least there should be very few. These should be posts that are so unusual they just don’t fit into any of your blog categories. Maybe you have some there that, when you posted them were unusual, but now your blog direction has changed and they really deserve a new category. If so, create one and move them there. Anything in Uncategorized is, to me as a reader at least, probably something I’m not interested in later. Usually those posts are really only relevant at the time of posting.
Your Challenge, if you choose to accept!
This is the sort of challenge that can extend over several bloggiestas, depending on the level of work you have to do! I challenge you to pick 1 area that needs fixing and clean it up. For example, on our blog I will be going through our categories and picking out the ones that need to be deleted. Then I will go through the posts that are in the categories that need to be deleted and assign them to correct categories. To complete the challenge – because there are a lot to delete!! — my goal will be to just clean up the posts for 5 deleted categories.