Be a Blogging Hero with Perfect Categories and Tags

Tagging Heaven in Phuket Thailand by mark l chaves

Using categories and tags, is one better than the other?

The episode was the one where Gomer organises the supplies in the base exchange store into three categories: animal, vegetable, and mineral. While watching this episode, it hit me that I never before seriously thought about how to categorise things. BTW, I am not the first person to use Gomer Pyle’s supply store fiasco as an allegory for categorising things–pleasant surprise. Scope out Jeff Atwood’s piece on tree hierarchies.

“Categorization is extraordinarily difficult to do correctly unless you’re an expert in the field. And even then, there is disagreement.”

~Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Overflow.

The Goal of Categories and Tags

What is a category?

What is a tag?

What’s the difference between a category and a tag?

  • Categories are hierarchical. Tags are not; tags are flat.
  • Categories are required in WordPresss. Tags are optional. Each post must have at least one category. Uncategorized is the default category.
  • Categories should be more static or stable than tags. I.e. Categories shouldn’t be volatile; they are more permanent. Tags will come and go. “Television” and “Sitcom” are examples for categories. “GomerPyle” and “TwinPeaks” are tag examples.

Is one better than the other? No. Categories and tags should work in concert to help you and your reader. Furthermore, I recommend only using just enough categories. Category bloat is high maintenance and diminishes returns. Same with tags. Using tags help people and search engines find relevant content. Too many tags will be filtered out by WordPress and be rejected by Instagram. More importantly, tags stuffing is considered spammy and totally unnecessary.

Test your Category and Tagging Skills

Grazing trail horses in the Himalayas of Bhutan by mark l chaves

Ready? Ok, let’s compare notes.

Categories: Animals, Nature, Travel

Tags: Horse, Himalayas, Dzong, Monastery, Mountain, Meadow, Grazing, Finding inspiration, Rewilding, Trekking, Remote, High elevation, No people, Free range, Cliff, Copy space, Wanderlust, Prayer flags, Paro, Bhutan

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I slung code for Fortune 500 companies in a previous life. Now, I write and make some photographs. I’ve moved on to Portfolio on

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