WordPress categories and tags help you organize your content for your audience. Understanding what they are and how to use them effectively will increase audience engagement and pageviews for your blog.
Imagine that you are reading a blog post on a new blog you just discovered and you love it! After you finish the post, you are eager to read other posts on the topic. The problem is, you can’t find them!
The home page only contains the most recent posts, none of which is your topic of interest. There is no search bar and no clear way to navigate or locate the posts you are searching for.
Wouldn’t this frustrate you? You bet. What would you do? You would leave, right? What do you think your readers would do?
To avoid this abandonment, it is important for you to use WordPress categories and tags effectively for your blog.
What’s the Difference Between Categories and Tags?
Both WordPresss categories and tags are used to organize and connect your blog posts. They make it easier for your audience to find the content they want. However, there are some differences between the two.
The categories of a blog are often compared to chapters in a book. They cover broad topics for your blog. For example, “Marketing” and “Writing Content” are two of my blog’s categories. These cover a broad range of posts on my blog.
The “Marketing” category contains the posts; How to Use SEO to Drive Traffic to Your New (or Old) Website and Marketing Your Blog for the New Blogger: What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do. Although the first post is about SEO and the second is a general marketing article, both fall under the Marketing umbrella.
If a reader is interested in marketing their blog, any marketing blog posts may interest them. It only makes sense to include these posts under the same category to be easy for your audience to locate.
Whereas categories are the chapters of a book, tags are compared to an index. They are more targeted topics.
For this specific post, I am using the tags; wordpress, writing blog posts, organizing, and planning.
Think about it this way; If you look up WordPress in the index of a book, you would expect to find pages where that topic is mentioned. This is the purpose of tags as well.
Tags may exist within multiple categories but are more narrow than searching for a category, which covers multiple, more targeted topics.
How to Use Categories for Sorting and Navigation
Your WordPress website offers a “Categories” widget for a reason. The basic widget allows you to list your posts by category or you can use a drop-down menu for your readers to choose a category.
I wanted more control over my Categories and currently use the WordPress plug-in “Category Posts Widget” by TipTopPress. I like the extended category widget because it allows me to customize the image, what appears, where it appears, and in what order.
I created a page to direct to each category instead of the typical default one that is created by my theme. Once again, this is a control issue for me. I want the posts to appear organized, clean, and easy to read. A plug-in helps me do that fast and easy.
How to Use Tags
If you have or plan to have multiple posts on the same narrow topic, such as “SEO” or “WordPress Plug-ins,” use tags to link these posts together. Having too many and too narrow categories can limit your blog and make it chaotic to navigate.
Tags simply appear at the bottom of your posts. If a reader clicks on a tag following a post, they will be redirected to other posts sharing that tag. Since tags are more narrow, it can help your reader locate content closely related to the topic.
Since tags are the index of your blog, the post may just quickly mention the topic of the tag. The entirety of post may contain other related or unrelated topics. It simply helps you locate the information you are looking for quickly.
WordPress Categories and Tags Improve Engagement
If you have not read my post Who is Your Blog Audience? Get to Know Your Readers Using Google Analytics, it details how to break down the Google Analytics metrics to better understand your audience. Engagement is a huge part of analytics because it details the behavior of your audience.
A reader who is annoyed or frustrated by your blog’s lack of navigation will leave, increasing abandonment and decreasing engagement. WordPress categories and tags make it easier for your audience to navigate and remove this obstacle. This allows your audience to engage with your blog.
Whether it is visiting multiple pages, leaving comments on your posts, or signing up for your email list, navigation makes it all easier. It gives your blog a greater chance at success and having repeat visitors.
How Do You Use Categories and Tags for Your Blog?
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