Blog Improvement: Categories and Tags

This week’s task is about organizing blog categories and tags.  I put a fair amount of thought into this subject before I migrated from LiveJournal in January.  I’m not sure I’m ready to reorganize just yet, but that hasn’t kept me from obsessing about whether I’ve “got it right” !

Categories

After reading up on the subject, I made a few minor changes.  I’m using nested categories, and decided another top-level category (“events”) would simplify my overall structure.  And while I like my drop-down category widget, I needed to fix the settings to show the category hierarchy.  My current “parent” categories are:

  • Anthologies:  a collection of goals, progress reports, and year-end summaries, grouped by year
  • Challenges:  challenge lists and wrap-up posts, plus book reviews associated with each challenge
  • Events: Sunday Salon, Blog Improvement Project, etc.
  • Hobbies: posts about topics other than books
  • Reference: blog administrivia, mostly
  • Reviews: the primary focus of this blog:  my book reviews!

Tags

I’m using tags only for book reviews.  I chose the tag cloud format because, well, I like the visual, and I didn’t want another drop-down widget.  You can see the cloud over there on my sidebar, right below the category widget.  The tags describe the book.  As of this writing, I have only 8 tags: 1001, nonfiction, prize nominee, prizewinner, short stories, translated, virago modern classic, woman author.  This will probably evolve as I post more reviews, but right now I’m aiming for 1-2 tags per review.

My current plan is to work with this scheme for a while and see how it evolves.  I fully expect to tweak them at least once or twice a year.  Now, tell me what you think:

  • Do my current categories make sense?
  • How do you feel about tagging only my book reviews?
  • Are just a few tags OK, or should I be tagging with reckless abandon?
  • Any other suggestions for using categories and tags more effectively?

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9 thoughts on “Blog Improvement: Categories and Tags

  1. I checked out the link you followed, and I started cracking up when I saw one should only have 15 Categories! And that each post should only be in one of them! I use nested categories to keep all my reviews together by rating, genre, and format. I also use categories to sort all of my challenges. I guess I should be using tags for that? It seems like a ton of work to go change it all now!

    Must ponder.

    • Wow Eva, I just took a look at your categories and you sure do have a lot! And it would be a huge effort to change. If you’re not using tags, this could be an opportunity to convert some categories to tags and I believe WordPress can automate some of that for you. But of course it’s up to you — if your system is working for you, that’s probably what’s most important.

      • I thought about changing some of the more specific categories to tags. But when I tried it out, clicking on a tag resulted in all the posts on WordPress using that tag, instead of limiting it to my blog. I don’t like that. So it seems I’ll be sticking with categories. 🙂

  2. I think you have a great selection of categories there.

    Tags are key words picked up by search engines so you should use them whenever you think it would be useful for people to find your post. There is no point using them on memes etc so I think using them only on reviews is fine. It looks like you are doing a great job – I have way too many categories!

    • Jackie, thanks for your input on tags and search engines, I hadn’t thought of that. As for my categories, my current scheme is a direct result of having migrated my blog: it was an opportunity to clean house. Too bad the house doesn’t stay clean on its own!

  3. Thanks for posting about this. I am a new blogger and already I see where I need to clean up my category organization before it gets overwhelmingly out of control. My organization style in so many areas of life tends to be reflective rather than preplanned, which is not always so efficient.

    I think that your categories look very well organized. I also agree with an earlier commenter that you should probably tag more liberally so that those who don’t know about your blog may come across it while searching.

    Nice job!

  4. Huh. Very interesting. I struggle with how many tags to include; too many and it’s overkill, not enough and important topics get left out. I’m trying to balance it all out but at hte end what I want is an information-rich index that’s going to be useful for people so I think I’m leaning towards more rather than fewer. I think it’s fine to tag only reviews if that’s what you want people to have access to; the librarian in me thinks of tagging as access points and I want my readers to be able to find some of my opinion posts after they’re off the screen. If you don’t tag them, there’s invisible.

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