Optimizing Your Blog with Categories and Tags

By: Emily Williams

In order to create the best user experience for your blog readers, it is essential to organize your blog with appropriate categories and tags. This helps the reader find posts on particular topics, search for related posts and index your blog.

Categories are the broad spectrum of what your post is about. Although the number of categories you can have for each post is unlimited, your post might include up to three or four categories.

Tags are more specific identifiers of what is in the post. It acts as a subcategory. There can be an unlimited number of tags on a post. Just remember, you want to include tags that are relevant and could apply to more than one post.

Category / Tag Example

For example, a hospital or practice’s blog might have the following categories:

  • Cardiology
  • Family Practice
  • Health News
  • Immunizations
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Women’s Health

If they publish a blog post called “Five Ways to Keep Your Kids from Catching the Flu”, they might include this blog under the categories:

  • Healthy Living
  • Immunizations
  • Pediatrics

However, when they tag the post, they will use much more specific groupings like:

  • Flu Shot
  • Flu Mist
  • Hand-Washing
  • Killing Germs
  • Multi-Vitamins
  • School Health
  • Winter Health

Note that each of these tags could also apply to other posts in the future. A tag like “October 2015 Flu Shot Availability” would not be an appropriate tag because it will likely not be used again.

How to Categorize and Tag Your Posts in WordPress

When you draft your post in WordPress, you will see a box on the left for you to enter your post’s categories and tags.

categories and tags in wordpress

You can select categories and tags that you have used before, or make new ones here.

As a best practice, you should review the categories and tags that you are using on your blog every six months.

Particularly if there are multiple authors for your blog, you could end up with dozens of categories and hundreds of tags that are only used once or are irrelevant to other posts.

As a good rule of thumb, if you don’t think you could potentially have eight other posts in a particular category or five other posts with the same tags, you should use a broader label.

To review/edit the categories and tags that you are already using, follow these steps:

  1. Click on WP Admin on your home page

wp admin

  1. Click on Posts, then look at both Categories and Tags.

wp categories and tags

  1. Check your Categories and Tags for the following items:
    • Review the names to make sure you don’t have any repeats (i.e. Immunization and Immunizations)
    • Sort by “Count” to make sure that you have none with 0 posts. If you do, delete those. Also, if you have a lot with only one or two, consider broadening those terms to simplify your blog.
    • For Categories Only: Look at the category called “Uncategorized”. If any posts don’t have a category, assign them.
      Hint: You can click “View” under each category/tag to see which posts are in each so you can easily change them. Another way to quickly edit is to go to the page that shows “All Posts” and click Quick Edit to modify these.

By having a clear organizational structure to your blog through appropriate categories and tags, you will optimize the reader’s ability to crawl your site!

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