New clients often want to know how to use tags and categories in WordPress. If you are new to WordPress it can potentially be a bit confusing. Once you understand the roles of tags and categories it’s pretty easy to differentiate the two.
This post will explain what categories and tags are best used for and how to distinguish when to use one over the other in your WordPress blog.
Difference between categories and tags
The easiest way to think of categories and tags in your WordPress blog is to think of the structure of a book. Simply put, categories function a lot like chapters and tags like an index. Each category like a chapter will provide the reader with a pretty good idea of its contents. Topics in an index are covered a bit more broadly throughout the book.
When you are first setting up your WordPress blog you will want to spend some attention to detail on subject matters you plan on discussing and assign them a category. I wouldn’t spend too much time building out more than a few categories at the start. Your blog posts will dictate categories over time. A good rule of thumb is to write a post and create a new category only if it doesn’t encompass an existing category in your blog already.
Why use categories and tags
Much like a book you want your blog and its posts to be organized and allow for your readers to easily navigate through your content. The other advantage point to using categories and tags in your WordPress site is it will provide good SEO. Search engines will index links that are created with the use of categories and tags on your site enabling better ranking on keywords and topics covered on your blog.
When to use categories and tags
This is where it may get tricky. I’ve had the conversation with clients before and the food analogy always helps break things down a bit easier. Let’s say your blog is about food. You may want to create categories for meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Discussions for any one of these three topics would deem designating a category. A tag could be used to identify different cuisines for each meal such as regions like Italian, French or German. Tags could also be used to discuss vegan foods verses dishes with meat. By using tags for different variances of food discussed on your blog you will allow your reader to zoom down on specific topics per meal categories.
I hope this brief overview helps you better grasp using categories and tags on your WordPress blog. If you have a question, feel free to leave a comment below.