Wait One Sec Before You Hit Publish!
Your blog is the perfect tool for sharing your business. Not only is it great for sharing information with your readers and connections, your blog also allows you to establish your expertise and authority in your niche. Like all business tools, there is a right way and a not-so-right way of using your blog to get the best results. Recently, a client hired me to research keywords and help them plan content strategy for their blog.
Content Strategy is a service I offer website owners as they are getting used to writing for the web, and more specifically, using content to grow their online community of customers, friends and business associates interested in their products and services. While working with this client, he asked the all important question about WordPress: “What’s The Difference Between Categories and Tags?”
Me being the #Wordpress Geek that I am (and yes, I just used a Hashtag in a sentence), leaped with joy at the sound of this question because over the years, I have come to appreciate such a lovely thing as Order when it comes to website structure and content strategy. You may think all those extra fields in your post editor are unnecessary, but I’m here to tell you, Categories and Tags are your best friends. Please allow me to elaborate.
What Are Categories and Tags?
Let me first answer what categories and tags are NOT. Categories and Tags are Not a keyword strategy. But! They are based on your keyword strategy and should be used to organize and group your blog content to make it easy to find.
Categories are to your blog like chapters are to a book. Tags are like an index of a reference guide. Just like books are organized by the title of the chapter, you can use categories to organize your blog posts into general topics that are related to your blog. For instance, if you are a Beachbody coach like my client who asked this question (Go #TeamBeachbody!) and you were going to write a book about Getting Fit At Any Age, you might have chapters like:
- Setting Fitness Goals
- Eating Healthy
- Maintaining Your Weight
- Lifestyle Changes
See how these categories/chapters are very broad, yet still specific to Getting Fit, the main subject? That’s how you want to think of blog categories. Be broad enough to allow you plenty of room to write consistently on a wide range of topics, yet keep it related and relevant to your main focus.
What About Tags? Tags are used to add more specific keywords or terms to individual blog posts. As I mentioned earlier, think of tags as you would an index of a book. In the example of the Beachbody coach, some great tags for a post entitled, “Exercising and Feeling Great After 60” could be:
- Exercise Over 60
- Low Impact Workout
- At Home Workout
- Increase Energy
Notice how these tags are more specific to this post, yet they are not broad enough to cover all of the blog’s topics. The “Exercising and Feeling Great” post would be filed under the Exercise category and tagged with these keywords.
So you want to think broad, then go specific. There are no “rules” as to how many tags or categories you should have on your business blog. However, just like a good book, keep your chapters/categories focused, on topic, relevant to your business, and in an outline form that’s easy to follow.
I like to tell clients, don’t get carried away with categories since you can always be more specific with tags. It also depends on how you want your site navigation. For instance, do you want your blog categories listed across the top of the page like a magazine style or will a list in the side bar suffice? Obviously if you choose the magazine-style layout, you can only fit so many topics in the main navigation, so in this case, the format of the site will determine how many categories you use.
Though tags are not required, WordPress is set up so that every post must have a category. By default, the category is Uncategorized, aka a clear sign you haven’t gotten around to grouping and organizing your posts. Hopefully this post has inspired you to jump in and bring some order to your blog content and make it easy for your readers to access all your great information.
Concerning categories and tags, what you want to keep in mind is this: Will my customers and anyone reading this be able to understand what I do and find what they need quickly?
On a business blog, we are not writing for ourselves, rather to help others get information they are seeking. Right? Make your site easy to navigate and you’ve won!
Got more questions about WordPress? Ask away! Leave your question in the comment section below, or for the Facebook-ers among you, ask me live on my Facebook page at Facebook.com/LaneJonesBiz. I’m listening.
Stay Tuned for Part 2: From Tags to #Hashtags, Why Has Facebook now joined Twitter, Instagram and Google in the Hashtag Revolution?