So you have your new website up and running, your first post is written and ready to unleash upon the world.
One of the last things to do before you hit the ‘Publish’ button is to decide how to categorize and tag your post. But how to do it? What is the difference between a ‘category’ and a ‘tag’? Why are they even important?
The difference between categories and tags
The easiest way to think about categories and tags on your WordPress-driven site is to think of the category of the post as its general subject, and tags as keywords that relate to the post. The category would be a very broad descriptive term that would apply to the overall subject of the post. Tags would be specific words or micro-concepts from within the text of the post.
For instance, let’s say that you have written a post about how your latest trek to Katmandu was the inspiration for your next book. You’ve described your adventures in getting there, a couple of mishaps you encountered, some of the people you met, the experiences you had while you were there — like when the snake hissed at you when you stepped where you shouldn’t have.
Yes, I know this would make for a longish post, but for the sake of example, bear with me.
The overall subject of the post is how the trip inspired your writing. If you have a category called Inspiration, this would be an ideal fit. Generally, a post should be assigned only one or two categories.
Tags you might apply to this post may be adventures, mishaps, travel, experiences, Katmandu, chance encounters, close calls, treks, and cultures. These are words that, while they don’t describe the entire post, are relevant in some way to what you’ve written and may also be relevant to other pieces you have written on completely different subjects.
Why thoughtful categorizing and tagging is important
The main reason why carefully assigning a category and tags to your post is because it will help your readers easily find relevant content on your site through search engines and through the category and tag links that appear above and below each post. Each of those category and tag links will send your reader to an archive page that lists the posts that have had that category or tag applied.
Another consideration is that search engines recognize the category and tag links for what they are: relevant internal links that describe your content. We’ll get into this more in a later article, but the short version is that links to content help the search engines decide what search terms may apply to posts on your site.
The bottom line
What you should carry away from this explanation is that thoughtful, careful categorization and tagging of your site’s content can help you fulfill two of the goals you have for your site: engaging your readers, and getting noticed.