Understanding How to Use WordPress Categories and Tags

Posted on Jun 05 2014 by in Blog 

Do you struggle to get visitors to your WordPress site to view other content on your website? WordPress has made it easy for the managers of a website to create categories and tags that allow for simpler navigation and an improved user experience. When you use categories and tags to mark your posts you are providing more navigation options that will help increase user engagement.  Of course, this is only the case when categories and tags are used properly. An often under-utilized feature of WordPress is the use of categories and tags. If you are interested in increasing visitor engagement and lowering your bounce rates then get a better understanding of how to use categories and tags in WordPress.

The Difference between Tags and Categories

First, let us take a look at the difference between tags and categories. Some WordPress users mistakenly use tags as categories and categories as tags. When used incorrectly you are actually doing more damage than good. The simplest analogy of how categories and tags work is to think of a book that contains a table of contents up front and an index in the back. The table of contents is like your categories, dividing your content up into chapters. Tags work like the index, where you can find a specific topic and locate all of the pages where that topic is mentioned.

When to use Categories

In general, less is more with anything. The same is true with categories and tags. When creating categories it is best to keep it simple. For example, if you are creating a sports blog, then you might end up creating a category for each sport that you blog about. You would end up saving the use of tags for the names of the teams. Another way to look at the use of categories is that they should be thought of as keywords for you WordPress site. When you create a post, think about how someone might search for the information you are providing. Try to limit yourself to only adding a post to one or two categories. Whenever possible, try to use existing categories so that you do not end up with a large amount of categories.


When to use Tags

Tags are the index of your website and you should end up with more tags than categories. When you finish a post, come up with a group of keywords that are discussed in your post and use those as tags. Readers will be able to click on a tag at the end of your post and find other posts that discuss the same topic. Again, you are just trying to make things easier for your visitors.

The use of tags and categories all comes down to convenience. If you do not think that the creation of a specific tag or post will help visitors discover other relevant content then do not create it. Before you know it, you will have a well-structured WordPress site full of helpful categories and tags.