As your blog continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important for you to organize your content in the right way. But what’s the best way to organize the posts on your blog?
Read on to find out how you should use categories and tags on your site when organizing content in today’s modern blogging arena.
This problem is one that is pronounced on the majority of blogs, and if you have hundreds of posts on your blog, then you’re probably also wondering how to organize the content so that your readers find it easily.
Maybe some of your earlier posts aren’t even that relevant anymore, or you’ve covered so many different topics that it’s becoming next to impossible to keep track of everything?
So, how exactly do you organize your blog content?
Should you use categories instead of tags?
Before we talk about how you can make changes on your blog to help you better organize things internally, it’s important to keep in mind that these days, blogs aren’t just blogs anymore.
They have evolved into content management systems.
So if you’re still treating your blog like a blog, then you’ll have a hard time organizing your content the best way for your readers to find what they’re searching for on your site quickly and easily.
The traditional concept of a blog goes back to those online journaling days, and that’s why posts are shown in a chronological order. But, unless you’re really journaling, then this might not be the best way to organize and showcase the content on your blog.
If you have hundreds or even thousands of blog posts then you need a method that is logical and brings a sense of order to your blog.
Many marketers try to get around this problem by using tags and categories, but in the majority of cases, readers simply don’t navigate a blog in that way. If your posts are ordered chronologically on your blog, then this means that it may be time to rethink that method.
Change The Way You View Your Blog
Instead of thinking of your blog as simply a blog, try to think about it more as a learning center.
Your blog is a massive library packed full of various types of content (or it will be eventually), and dates are not the best way of organizing it.
And if you’re thinking that maybe a search bar would be the answer to your problems, you’d be wrong.
In theory, it seems like a good idea to give visitors to your blog a search box as this will help them find what they’re looking for on your site quickly and easily, but there are some problems with that, too.
First of all, the search engine used by WordPress sucks!
There’s simply no other way to describe it. Your readers will most likely run into dead ends, and most of their search terms won’t warrant any results. The majority of the ones that do, will have inaccurate results.
If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself and you’ll see that this isn’t good for your users’ overall experience on your site.
Most people don’t even bother using the internal search engines anyway.
There are, of course, other search engines that are much improved and way more accurate that you can try on your blog, but what’s the point of paying a monthly fee for a tool that almost no one ever uses?
So, given the very high risk of people ending up in dead ends, as well as the fact that hardly anyone uses the search function on blogs, it’s not really an effective way to go.
If you cannot use a search box to make things easier for your audience, it brings us back to the organization issue.
If Not Search, Then How About ‘Related Posts’ Plugins?
Could these be the best way to deal with content on your blog to make it easy for your readers to find what they’re looking for if you’ve got tons of posts on various topics, and more coming each day or week?
Most blog owners face this problem where they talk about a LOT of topics, and they have lots of really awesome content getting pushed down into the archives and not being surfaced any more.
Even with the use of related posts’ plugins, not much internal content is provided on what is displayed since it’s determined by an algorithm.
Also, those types of plugins increase the server load a lot, and this reduces your site’s speed. You don’t want that!
Additionally, you may have other related types of content besides blog posts (such as Checklists, Action Plans, Infographics, Ebooks, and so on).
Showing these and other types of content as being related to the post would be very useful for your readers, and it would also provide a great marketing opportunity for you.
So, let’s look at Tags vs Categories
…and why you may need to switch to tags as the primary organization for your blog.
WordPress has an amazing tagging capability. Unfortunately, most marketers don’t even know just how useful that feature is – and how easy it is to use in the wrong way.
They treat tags as if they’re old-school meta keywords, and they type in big lists of SEO keywords that they think will be relevant to their blog post.
A massive list of tags that aren’t really useful to anyone.
On the other end of the spectrum, some bloggers simply categorize their blog posts and leave it at that. They don’t bother with tagging, but rather use a more strategic way of thinking about blog categories which we’re going to discuss below.
How to Leverage The Categories On Your Blog
You can define your blog categories in a more strategic way by using the top section of your blog page as a topic index that interested readers can click on and immediately see the archived blog posts that are relevant to that.
When someone clicks on blog’ in your site’s menu (as most people often do), they will immediately see that topic index and be able to judge the value of your blog based on the range of topics that you cover, instead of just a few posts.
You may wonder why that’s important, but remember that we live in a world where people’s attention spans are getting shorter by the day, and they constantly make snap judgments as to the value of things.
This means that you’ve only got a few seconds to convince them that your blog offers value.
Now that we’ve got that covered, the obvious question then becomes:
Why Use Tags Instead Of Categories?
Well, sure you could do the exact same things using categories, and in actual fact, there’s very little difference between the two within WordPress.
The main intention behind blog categories is to have them be like massive buckets where you group posts while tags are like the index at the back.
Tags tend to be more flexible, and you’re not actually required to assign them if you don’t want to, but you’re required to assign categories.
But what if that post you just wrote doesn’t fit nicely into any category on your site?
This is a problem that happens often, and bloggers find that they have to make a lot of new categories, or they end up with tons of miscellaneous categories – which are both things that devalue the structure of categories.
If you post a time-sensitive post on your blog (such as a holiday sale or promotion), then you don’t have to assign it a tag which means you’re not cluttering up your topic index with such things.
Improve Your Blog With Tags
You can improve your readers’ experience on your blog by emphasizing tags on your blog.
In the first place, your topic index will be a huge help in showcasing the value of your blog’s content, and even content that was published some time ago can now be found much easier based on the specific topic.
Also, when you enable tags on your blog pages and various types of custom posts, you’ll be able to relate posts to a lot of other content on your site.
For instance, on this site, I could relate posts to my training content including the Digital Marketing Introductory Course.
It shows my readers that PlanetBizOp.com is a lot more than just a blog.
There’s a large and continually growing library of content and training courses on the site, and I can relate some of the training content to those posts on the blog.
If someone who isn’t a student of one of my courses clicks on that, then I could present them with an error message and then invite them to enroll in my course.
You can also set up Further Reading’ as a section on your site.
It’s essentially the same as related posts, but instead of using a plugin to do the work, you simply base it around your tagging.
This section also serves to reduce the bounce rate on your site as well as to help you cross-promote between your blog and whatever else you’ve got going on including your:
- YouTube Channel
- Social Media Networks
- Membership Site
The tags on your blog are basically going to be the common element that helps you unite all the disjointed areas that exist on your site and make it easy for the users to find what they are searching for.
As you go back and start tagging past content, all this will become more and more clear to you.
Other Amazing Benefits Of Tagging Your Content
Yet another great side effect of getting organized in this way is that it clearly shows you the areas in which content is lacking, and where you can add more stuff.
If you’re someone who consistently struggles to come up with ideas for blog posts, this will come in very handy.
For instance, you might notice that your topic on Product Reviews’ has scant coverage, and so you can build that into your content creation calendar and focus on creating more of those in the future.
You can also use Google Analytics to keep track of the topics that people click on the most. This will give you great insight as to what your audience is most interested in.
Some Tips On The Effective Use Of Tags
As previously mentioned, most people use tags all wrong on their blogs.
If you want to make them as effective as possible, the first things you need to do is to remember that tags are NOT keywords.
When you randomly start selecting tags for each post, it makes your tag list meaningless and you will end up with a massive list of tags, most of which are going to be duplicative, and some that will have only one blog post inside.
The whole point of tags is to internally relate your content to other content on your website, and the only way you’re going to be able to make that work is if the tags on those pieces of content are the same.
There is some SEO benefit that comes from using tags, but you will mess it up if you think that ‘the more the merrier’ when it comes to tags.
Use the Tips Listed Below To Get Tags Right:
- Create your tags based around the hot topics that your audience searches for on your blog
- Name your tags how you want them displayed on your site, e.g. Capitalize first letters
- Keep track of all the tags that you use in a spreadsheet as a reference to help you avoid duplicates
- When displaying tags on your site, call them topics’ or something else besides tags’ as most regular people don’t speak ‘blogger’
- When choosing tags for posts, start typing and let autocomplete do the rest to avoid duplicates
- Keep in mind that tags aren’t keywords, they’re topics, and your list as short as you can
- To keep your blog’s topic index on point, when you post time-sensitive content, simply don’t assign any tags to it
The tags that you assign will give you full control of what goes where on your site.
In a recent post, we discussed the importance of approaching your content marketing in a more strategic way, which all ties in with today’s topic.
And now that you understand the importance of better organizing your blog content, in future posts, we will discuss a variety of more in-depth ways that you can use to take this topic forward.
We’ll talk about your blog blueprint – the actual structure of your blog, and how you can tweak and modify that for conversions.
For now, go back into the archives of your blog to see how best you can use the category, tag, and search capabilities that WordPress gives you (or whether you even should).
Make sure that your ultimate decision is based on the user experience of those people who come to your site.
And remember, just because everyone does things the same way does not mean that you have to do it that way, too!
Do what’s best for your site, and what makes the most of your particular readers.
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Updated: Originally published December 5th 2018