Those Pesky Tags & Categories {And Labeling People}

Labels are useful aren’t they? Who wants to open a can of green beans if they need tomatoes? Or if you’re trying to treat chest congestion, you’d want Eucalyptus honey, not Thousand Flower. And the same is true for many things. Labels can greatly simplify life — or not. And labels were definitely complicating blogging for me!

In fact, that “Publish” button (or label) can prove problematic when hit too soon. So my apologies if this post shows up twice in readers.

But as I said, blog labels were complicating my blogging! Until I read Categories vs Tags – SEO Best Practices for Sorting your Content, via WP Beginner. This helpful article explains the differences between tags and categories, and how they work. But I especially liked it because it also discusses how many to use, and how they relate to that complicated thing called SEO.

I always thought lots of tags were better, because they helped articles show up in search results. But that’s not necessarily so. (Although self-hosted blogs can install SEO plugins that can make tags work in that fashion.) Yet I had so many tags, I couldn’t even keep them straight!

But I learned that SEO results are not really the main purpose of tags and categories.

Tags and categories, in fact, really serve two main purposes.

First, from another excellent article, All About SEO on WordPress, I learned that while Google doesn’t rely on tags and categories, human searchers do!

Google should be able to tell what a post is about from its content. But people (especially using the WordPress Reader) do use topics (tags and categories) to find posts. Yet, even there overuse of them can cause posts to be excluded from the reader. So it’s best to use few, carefully selected tags and categories (relevant to the topic) for each post.

Second, tags and categories also serve the purpose of sorting content and making our site easier to use.

So the bottom line? Don’t get lost on SEO. Because, when you come right down to it, we don’t write for search engines — we write for people.

Select a few relevant tags and categories that make articles easier to discover. And organize you content so your site is easy to use.

So with that in mind, I’ve reorganized DE — switching to a theme that helps me organize content better. I found that it’s useful to separate “about” content, yet keeping it visible, so new visitors can learn more right away. Because if you’re like me, the “about” pages are the first things I check on a new site. And I discovered that it’s equally important to highlight categories. Why?

Because categories are like our Table of Contents.

Our categories (and sub categories) should be the main topics we blog about. They’re meant to neatly summarize what our blog is about. And placing them where they’re easily seen, helps a visitor find things of interest to him or her.

And tags? They work like a blog Index.

They describe specific details about each topic. Sometimes perhaps about only one blog post. And while there is no limit to the number of either tags or categories we use, it’s best to keep them relevant, useful, and not get carried away!

It’s really all about helping readers find what they’re looking for.

Because tags and categories are like can labels. Who wants to click on Downsizing if they’re looking for the Proverbs 31 woman?

And during this process, I discovered, as well, that fewer tags and categories make it easier for me to sort and label posts too. I have a much easier time remembering them now, lol!

But I love how the Lord often uses simple, everyday things to speak to us!

And that’s what he did with the word labels. “And how well do you use labels in real life?” he asked. (What in the world?)

And then I remembered all the times I’ve “labeled” people.

Set them up in neat little categories. Sometimes even using unkind or unjust labels. Only to discover afterward how wrong I was. Because people are often full of wonderful surprises.

We sometimes meet people who, at first glance, seem about as exciting as a humdrum, ordinary can of green beans, don’t we? “Insignificant, boring,” we quickly label them. Only to discover, upon closer inspection, a delightful personality, as rare and exotic as caviar.

Or perhaps we encounter someone of simple speech and distracted mind. Rather sloppy in appearance. “Ignorant and messy,” we tend to think. Or perhaps we go even one step further, and slap on the unkind label of “stupid.” Only to learn that he or she is really a genius. An expert in their field. And realize that we, not them, were the stupid one.

So those pesky tags and categories? I think I’ve got them down now. It’s really just a matter of knowing what they’re for. And understanding how to use them wisely.

But those people labels?

I’ve got a lot of work to do on that one! But really, they’re not much different than blog tags and categories. It’s a matter of knowing how to use them — or not use them — wisely.  And it all comes down to one simple thing, really.

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them, (Luke 6:31).

I hope you like our new, organized site. But how about you? How do you organize your content? Let me know, I’ll take all the tips I can get.

And what helps you remember to stop labeling people? I really need help with that one!

[Image ©TheScorziellos-Mario]

13 thoughts on “Those Pesky Tags & Categories {And Labeling People}

  1. I think it looks great Sheila. Easy to navigate and find what I’m looking for. I especially love “your baristas” at the top! I have tweaked my own blog several times over the last 3-4 years I’ve had it with a simpler theme, so I think I have achieved it, for the most part.

    Like

  2. Great post, Sheila. I’ll have to read that WP article. I always thought the more tags the better too.
    But I really appreciated your correlation between what we think we know about someone (the labels we give them), and what we discover later if we had given them a chance.
    Thank you for your insight.

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    1. Thanks Gleniece! It’s always wonderful when the Lord speaks in the everyday, little things. We seem to look for him in the big things – but he’s always right there with us, talking, showing, teaching. That site is great for learning the how-to of blogging. Especially because they thoroughly explain things – even for dummies like me!! Hope it helps you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was very informative. I’m new to blogging and am still figuring out tags and categories. Thanks for the explanation.
    As far as labeling people goes, the Lord is really teaching me I that area. Here’s one lesson He’s worked on with me at lisaostreim.com “the least of these”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lisa, I’m glad you found it useful. But you might want to reread it, as I’ve updated and clarified it.

      And am I ever glad to know I’m not the only one who needs help in not labeling people! I would love to read your post “The Least of These,” but can’t find it. I think it would be really helpful to put a search button on your sight. It’s really simple to do with a widget! Then let me know so I can find it and read it! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of your “intentional living” …and I totally agree with your tags and categories post. They are important if you want to be found for sure!! Thanks for the follow! I hope to see more great content from you!

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