Lola’s Ramblings: How do you use categories and tags?

October 18, 2014 Lola's Ramblings 8

LolaRamblings

Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. If an Lola’s Ramblings post is about a non-book topic it gets the non-book content posts tag. This feature was previously knows as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.

This post is inspired by my recent elimination of a lot tags and this post on Nosegraze. I am using self hosted wordpress for my site and wordpress gives you the option to organize your posts using categories and tags. Without ever really looking into this stuff I started using categories and tags when I started wordpress. The only thing I understood was that categories were broader then tags and having too many categories could be a bad thing and make your site slower.

How did I use categories and tags?

tagsMy strategy for categories was always pretty nice. I basically make categories for the the type of post and genre, so roughly we have Review, Release Day, Blog Tour, Cover Reveal, Lola’s Ramblings and then the memes/challenges I participate in like Sunday Post, Waiting on Wednesday (in which I don’t participate anymore), Coyer, Read Play Blog and My To-Be Read list. Then there are the main genres I read like Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Dystopia and a few lesser used ones. They can even be combined so fantasy + romance for Paranormal Romance, so I didn’t have to make a seperate category for that. For some reason I always thought this was neat! I think those categories were even imported from blogger and I always thought I did nice job with these. Some categories might not be used too often and there are a few about which I wonder whether to keep or delete them like Mystery, Suspense and Erotica as they don’t see much use.

While I guess I always was on the right track when it concerns categories I made a big mess out of my tags and I mean a really big mess. Before I changed things I had about 400 different tags, yeah uhm that really helps keep things organized and group posts together. I had this belief that tags help your SEO, you know how well your site does it with search engines. And I thought tags where like keywords and when someone searches for one of those keywords they had a higher chance of finding my post if that post had that keyword. So I had tags for everything from specific subgenres, tags with the same name as categories, age categories, author names, series, book titles and even character names *cringes*. I also had tags for different spellings or a tag names like non-book-content and non-book-content post, while I even have a category for that. And things like YA and Young Adult and then have different posts tagged with each, depends on which tag I decided to use at that moment. Or dreams, dreaming and nightmares all of which only belonged to only one post. I even had some typo tags, I came across one called Steempunk…..
I had multiple tags for my sunday post, which I always tagged with weekly, book haul, Caffeinated Book reviewer and recap. So basically all those tags gives you the exact same list, which doesn’t help at all. So basically I made a tag for everything to make sure my posts would be more easy to find. Which was all based on a wrong idea. btw that picture is of when I only had 100 tags left and am still wondering whether to delete some more.

What changed?

What made me think about this and change things was this post on the blog Nosegraze and soon after that got into an issue with my hosting provider about having too high cpu and physical memory usage. So I started cleaning things-up, the categories and tags are only a small portion of what I changed, but as this post is about categories and tags I only focus on that. I only deleted a few categories, but I got my tags down from 400 to around 100. Now I have to admit that I have no idea if removing tags actually helps my site to get faster, but it’s always nice to clean things up once in a while. And it gave me inspiration for this post ;).

How I am going to use categories and tags now?

I decided to remove all the tags for book titles and most for authors. To be honest most often I am not going to blog about the same book more then once and I had been so inconsistent with tags that some posts about a book did have the tag and others not, rendering them practically useless. So I decided just to remove them all. And then there’s always the search function, that actually works pretty well. I actually use the search function myself when I am looking for a specific post or a specific book or author I blogged about.
I also had some tags that were the same as categories, well as I have categories to group those, I didn’t need the tags anymore. My tags now focus on subgenres, age categories, series name, Book tour organizers, I still have too mnay tags and am wondering if I should delete any more. I mean does it really help if I have a tag, but only one post has that tag? Then that tag doesn’t really group anything, so what’s the point? I am still not 100% sure where I will end up with my tags, but I think I came a long way from tagging every keyword in my posts. I am still struggling with soem tags and how handy they are, for exmaple a tag called recap is it necesseary when only the Sunday Post ever get’s those tags? Maybe I should introduce a monthly tag for my monthly memes, but then again you can also just clicks on the category for that. I think it’s difficult to determine which tags are necessary and which not, so I am definitely not there yet, but I leats I amde some progress.

So my question to you is:

How do you use categories and tags on your blog?

8 Responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: How do you use categories and tags?”

  1. Francine Soleil

    I don’t really use tags much anymore. Before, I used them for titles, authors, series, genres, etc. But now, not really. I do constantly use categories though. And I only use them for the type of post – review, discussion, etc. I think using categories helps a lot in organizing my posts. I think tags help with finding things around the blog, but I don’t really bother with that. There’s a search bar anyway. Haha.
    Francine Soleil recently posted…Blog Tour Review: Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke (+ US Giveaway)My Profile

    • Lola

      I am now mainly using tags for the age categories and to include in blog tour posts whether there’s an excerpt, interview or guest post. I am thinking that might be an interesting way to group things, but I mostly focus on my categories and they are broad enough that every post fits in at least one of them.
      And indeed there’s a search bar so tags for authors and such aren’t really necessary. I am always surprised at how well the search bar actually works.

  2. Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA

    I have 11 categories and 53 tags. I feel like some of them can be combined, but I have more pressing issues to deal with (all those reviews I need to write!) so I’m not that worried about them right now. I do have a few tags with only one post, but they’re all ones that have the potential to have more posts added to them in the future (genre tags, mainly – I’m bad about adding genre tags even I’d really like to do it).
    Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA recently posted…Scaretober: Horror Movie RecommendationsMy Profile

    • Lola

      I think that’s a great number of categories and tags. I got my amount of tags down to around 55 now, so I am feelign pretty satisfied with how much I reduced them. I also have a few genre tags that only have one or two posts, but hopefully more in the future. I am not worried about those.
      I always write my reviews right after I finish a book, so I usually don’t have to worry about that.

  3. Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun

    Gosh, you’ve been just as confused as me (though in a different way). I’ve read so many posts about how to use tags and I leave them thinking, ok, I’ve got this. And then I try to implement it and…. it turns out I don’t. I have a handful of tags that I sometimes remember to use and sometimes don’t, which makes them pretty useless I guess. I don’t have too many categories (I don’t think) but I use my categories to keep things really organized. Between my indexes, categories and search function, I kind of feel like the tags are pointless. But that’s probably because I just don’t know how to use them and have completely given up on them LOL. Great post!
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…Dewey’s 24 Hour #ReadAThon 2014 Wrap Up!My Profile

    • Lola

      I agree tags feel kinda pointless if you already have so many other ways to keep track or categorize content. To be honest when I am on another blog I probably only use the search function if I am looking for soemthign or maybe click on their discussion type tag or category, but that’s about it.
      I also forget I have certain tags and then forget to tag posts, it’s just a mess in general. I am now down to only 50 tags, let’s hope I can actually learn to use them.

  4. Jackie

    I’ve been reading the posts on Nosegraze too, and these have encouraged me to reorganize my blog. I started with the categories because I figured that would be the easiest. Mostly, I had duplicates or different names for the same feature. I think I had 20 categories to start, and I whittled it down to seven. The tags were next and that took me several hours. I thought tags were associated with SEO too, so I would tag my posts with as much information and variations of said information as possible. I was really overwhelmed by my lack of consistence, and I wasn’t sure how to whittle the tags down. Eventually, I decided to start with a blank slate and delete all the tags. I went through EVERY post I’ve ever written and added tags. I started with hundreds and hundreds of tags, but now I’m down to about 45. I write about books and tea on my blog, so my tags pertain to genres and types of tea (occasionally a brand if I’ve talked about it a few times).

    • Lola

      I really enjoy Nosegraze her posts about blogging, they are so informative. I still have quite some categories, but I am okay with that. Removing tags really took me a lot of time as well. Just deleting everything almost sounds like a better option, but wow having to go through all your posts and adding tags must be a lot work! It must feel good to have everything done well though.

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