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Blog Tag Basics

Zen Copy Tag Cloud

Last week I wrote a post on blog categories and received enough questions offline about the difference between categories and tags that I thought I’d do a quick mini-post on tags. (Look for an upcoming more complete post).

Zen Copy Tag CloudIf you think of categories as the table of contents for your blog, then think of tags as the index, a support system for your categories. Both categories and tags are methods that should help your readers find the information they need. A good description on blog tags I saw was on an older article on problogger and I’ve quoted it here:

Think of tags as the colorful little page markers you might use to flick back to your favorite pages in a book. The tags don’t describe the book as a whole, instead they describe individual sections of the book.

  • Use the same tags over and over again. The tagging system is useless when the tags you use vary. For instance, if you have a series of posts on writing articles, you could tag them as “journalism,” “writing,” “copywriting,” or a hundred other variations. The important thing is that you choose one of them, and then reuse it on every post you ever write on the topic.
  • Tags do not need to be displayed in the sidebar. Tagging is not a part of your navigational structure, and so it does not necessarily have to be displayed in the sidebar. Why not simply list a post’s tags at the end of the post? The contextualization will make them much more valuable to readers, and could even be used to replace “Related Posts,” plugins and such.
  • The tag cloud is easy to scan. If you do use your tags in your sidebar, then use the tag cloud. A list of categories is very easily recognized because it is in a list. A list of tags will be clearly recognized as such if it is in a cloud. The cloud works because it fits a lot of information into a small space, and is easy to scan over.

Categories and tagging, and meta descriptions and tags can be confusing. I’m working on a series of articles to bring the basics out in easy tips. If you’re not already part of the zencopy tribe, please subscribe now to stay updated.

About the author: Karen, zencopy creator, is a top 10 bestselling amazon author, creativity coach, and an online content specialist with a masters in psychology and passion for learning and teaching new topics.

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