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The Simple Explanation of WordPress Categories and Tags

The most frequent WordPress questions I hear are related to WordPress CATEGORIES and TAGS. People ask ‘What’s the difference between a WordPress CATEGORY and a WordPress TAG? I’m asked ‘Can I have too many Categories or Tags?’

The whole point of using Categories and Tags is to make it easier for the people who read your blog to find posts that interest them. When you create a Category or a Tag they appear in little menus on your post. They help the reader search and find posts of interest. If you write 10,000 posts your reader can find the posts on specific topics that interest them. How cool is that!

Think of the drawers in an office filing cabinet. These are your Categories.
This is where you divide your blog posts into a few specific categories. I just finished putting up a website and blog for a nutritionist who writes about Nutrition, Fitness, Water, and she publishes Recipes, announces Classes and Events, and has the goal to make people more aware of Organics and GMOs. So all of her blog posts can be divided into 8 file drawers or CATEGORIES.

How many categories? That really depends on your business and the number of categories you write about. In the real word some businesses can get by with a 4-drawer or 5-drawer filing cabinet, while others need a bank of files that cover a wall.

WordPress Categories

The file folders in a drawer are the TAGS in a CATEGORY.
Once you have your filing cabinet set up you need to make folders. Tags are like the labeled tabs that break down your blog posts into topics. Using the illustrations, you could have a drawer (or category) called HATS. Within that drawer/category are files of posts on that topic. Your post titled “Spies Who Use Hats as Disguises” could go into a folder labeled DISGUISES. Another post titled “Knit Hats on the Ski Slopes” would go into a folder labeled KNIT HATS. On a WordPress blog there aren’t any folders, so these posts would be organized with the Tags called DISGUISES and KNIT HATS.

WordPress tags

So, keep your Categories and Tags simple and relevant. You’ll find more people will spend more time reading more posts.

Vanessa Wood

I'm Vanessa Wood. I was an early adopter of WordPress and continue to build beautiful WordPress websites in CT. I'm working directly with clients and through marketing agencies to create new highly customized, business WordPress websites. I knit while I'm on hold and listen to punk rock.

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