Categories and Tags are both ways to organise your content to make it easier for your visitors to navigate your site and find related information. Always think of your visitors first when organising content.
Categories create an ‘outline’ of your site, and are a way of identifying the main areas of interest. They are often considered and created ahead of time. Tags are more specific — useful to identify the smaller detail that describe the content of a post. They are often created ‘on the fly’.
Categories are your site’s table of contents
- Try to assign only one or two categories to each post.
- Categories are broad, mutually exclusive content or sections.
- Categories are compulsory; every post has to be assigned to at least one category.
- Categories are hierarchical, so you can have subcategories.
- Categories help identify what your site is about.
Tags are your site’s index words
- You can assign many tags to one post.
- Tags are more specific points of interest for a particular post.
- It’s entirely optional to add any tags to a post.
- Tags are not hierarchical, which means there’s no relationship between them.
- If you can’t write five post ideas on a topic, then it’s a tag not a category.
Hint: Although you can apply many tags to your post, aim for about 5-15.
- DON’T create a tag that will only ever apply to one post.
- DON’T use tags that are very similar to each other or duplicates of your categories.
Either too many or an abundance of very similarly named tags at the end of your post will make it confusing and cluttered. You want to pique your visitors’ interest and encourage them to click through to read another post, don’t make it more difficult for them.