I Have Been Categorizing and Tagging While Blindfolded!!

It is true; I have posted in my ignorance. This, no-excuse behavior, is equal to blogging while being blindfolded.

How this can be, you ask. Well, let me explain.

When I started blogging, like most some of you, I was like a fish out of water. Everything about blogging was new for me. (Uh, still is.!?!) Starting with the writing for an audience; the learning of the WordPress system, and prior to pressing the publish button; checking the proper category boxes and tags for the post.

Things moved in the direction I had expected, although the shaky beginning posts became worrisome when nobody came around. As you know, eventually readers came and some even chose to stay, yay, and I thank you!!!

I Think, Therefore I BLOG - (Being Normal is n...

Photo credit: marsmet451

The blogging life was good; however, the one area that stayed so elusive to my understanding was categories and tags (C&T). The main reason is I did not educate myself on this subject, up until yesterday. As I was getting ready to put the final addition of C&Ts to my post, it suddenly dawned on me that using the same tags as my categories did not seem proper.

I dismissed my questioning mind, closed my eyes; secured the blindfold, and randomly categorized and tagged my post and hit the publish button.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Random tagging and poor categorizing truly showed my total ignorance. For example, if my post were about the current heat wave we are going through, I would check in my category boxes the following:

Post a Day 2012
Writing
Uncategorized
Sunday Post or Weekly Photo Challenge (if applicable)

Then, for the tags, I would add words that applied to the post and then go crazy n’ wild. Here are some ‘wild’ tags I would throw in even if it did not apply to the topic in my post:

Write
Writer
Woman
Blog
Blogger
Journal
WordPress
Journey
Blogging
Coffee (I wanted to use this one just because I wrote the post while drinking coffee!!)

Moreover, I believe I had more tags that are random and not mentioned here that would find its way out on a published post. I would also *gasp* repeat some of the checked categories in the tag section. The classic ones were, Weekly Photo Challenge, Sunday Post and 5- Minute Friday. They would be in both my category and tag section!

This behavior was a dumb and ignorant move on my part.

Thank goodness, my fairy blog mother came by yesterday and whispered,

“Girl, you need to get some help over at WordPress Forum/Support and pronto!”

As I had expected, the message I received by my fairy blog mother’s very speedy helper, Time Thief, indicated it was time to stop posting while blindfolded and get edu-blogmacated!

Here is my question and my quick answer from forum:

Me: Is it better not to repeat a category title when tagging a post?

Forum:

Don’t do it! Never use the same keyword or keyword phrase as both a category and a tag. Search engines treat the two in exactly the same way so it looks like you are spamming to them. Worse still, if you do that you will create an editing mess in your blog.”

Therefore, you all know what I spent most of my free time doing yesterday, and it is still incomplete! I am now in the process of cleaning up my category section by merging some categories into others and creating categories that are more concise and on target for each post after this.

(This is a fine example of the consequences of not having a clear mission statement formed as you begin in the blogging adventure.)

As I understood from the brief research on C&T, a category is like the table of contents of a book; it should tell your readers exactly what your blog focuses on as a good table of contents would do. For example, if my blog was about nature photography, then my categories should reflect this and not have a random category like couture fashion.

Tags, however, are words or several key words that should reflect what is in your post. I guess my choice of using the tag ‘coffee’ just because I was drinking coffee when I wrote my post can no longer find its way as a tag, unless I happen to be writing about coffee.

When tagging, stick to key words that apply to your post.

Finally, most of us want our post seen by many people, and I was in the same mind frame when I wildly attached any tags that came to my head prior to publishing. My thinking on tags were, the more you used, the better chance of exposure for your post.

Wrong. If a post has too many C&T attached to it, the post usually does not even make it into the Topic section of WordPress (fewer people finding you) and possibly, your post be considered as spam! The recommended number of C&T combined should be around 15, total.

As I slowly take off my blindfold, I am squinting from the light of all this new knowledge and I would love to hear how C&T play out in your blog life. As I continue to learn more about blogging more effectively, I have included other sites below that I find explains C&T far better than I have here.

Do you have any interesting trivia on how to handle Categories and Tags properly?

How did you go about creating your own categories for your own blog?

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29 thoughts on “I Have Been Categorizing and Tagging While Blindfolded!!

    • Sunshine says:

      No problem, Janet, and good to know I was not the only one in a bit of confusion…ahh, the beauty of blogging…always something new to explore and learn about. LOVE it!! 🙂
      Thanks for sharing in the conversation, Janet! 🙂

      Like

  1. fgassette says:

    OH MY! I have been categorizing and tagging while blindfolded as well!!!!! Thank you so much for this information. I will be busy overhauling my blog. I am also fairly new to blogging (Dec. 2011) and this is the first time I heard about my mistakes. Thanks for sharing.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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    • Sunshine says:

      See, Fairy blog mothers are good like that, Francine,…somehow they know when to drop in to let us know, (like moms do) it’s time to take the blindfold off and clean up our rooms. Oh, dear.
      I am HAPPY knowing this helped you. Thanks, you made my day sweeter!! 🙂

      Like

  2. timethief says:

    Thanks so much for the link. I appreciate it. It’s typical for new bloggers to over-tag and doing that leads to a very bad place. The rule of thumb is to assign as few relevant categories and tags that accurately reflect the content in a post. These days search engines pay more attention to your keywords in your content than they do to your keywords in Tags/Categories. Search spiders can detect whether or not the keywords in categories and tags are supported by the text in posts or not. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2012/03/01/revisiting-keywords-and-tags/

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    • Sunshine says:

      Thank you, Timethief, for your valuable blogging tips and now that I understand it is better to leave past categories and tags alone, I will let it go and start from this point.

      I so appreciate your help! 🙂

      Like

  3. munchow says:

    Blogging has been a learning experience for all of us. And categorizing and tagging is maybe one of the more difficult aspect to get right. On my first blog I totally ignored both categories and tags and everything just went under “various”. Not very helpful. Luckily enough I have late on when I started to categorize and tag been quite conservative – probably too conservative – and only applied a handful of categories and tags to each post. I might have to get closer to the 15 in total in the future that WordPress recommends.

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    • Sunshine says:

      Hey Otto! If you have a minute, check out Timethief’s link and comment she left in this comment box about category and tags …she recommends a combined total of category and tags to be under 10 so maybe you are on target with your conservative number. Great to see you and thanks for coming over and sharing a few minutes here. 🙂

      Like

  4. Caddo Veil says:

    I’m gonna have to bone up on this, so thanks for the post, Sunshine–I kind of just sail out on a wing and a prayer, and feel confined by WP’s dictate that I only use a total of 10 tags and cats. My neighbor has a website (self-hosted, owned and operated, paid for) and he can use as many jillion tags, cats as he wants to–and he gets a LOT of hits/readers.

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    • Caddo Veil says:

      PS–Okay, I just read a Zemanta article which said I should limit my cats to 5. That allows me 5 tags. Then they said the tags should be up to 3 words–wow, that would seem to expand what I can use; if I can use 5 x 3 words, my tags end up totaling 15. Sounds like a plan! Gracias, Sis!! God bless your day–love, sis Caddo

      Like

    • Sunshine says:

      Hmm, interesting tidbit, sis, about your blogging neighbor. I wonder is it because he is independent that the large amount of C&T does not have negative side effects for his blog. Interesting. I have also seen other WordPress posts with a billion tags attached and they also seem to have a billion hits to their posts…lol. Well, we keep researching, but in the meantime, Happy blogging! 🙂

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      • Caddo Veil says:

        At this point, I’m still wondering if WP cuts you off at some point–if you continually use more than 10-total cats and tags. I’m so obedient, that after the first few times of being reminded by them, I stayed “legal”, kept it to 10. You say you’ve seen other WP posts with billions of tags–which also get a billion hits–so my question is, have they purchased all the upgrades? Does money buy you cats and tags–if not love??? Curious Caddo

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      • Sunshine says:

        Haha, I think, sis, upgrades are not necessarily the reason, most likely they have great content and been attracting much attention because of it. I mean, one can have all the upgrades but if they suck at whatever they put out…well, you know how it would go. I think it is great just understanding the purpose for category and tags and any other blogging items. Take care! 🙂

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  5. Long Life Cats and Dogs says:

    Best I start looking at my categories and tags. Did nothing at the beginning, as you said, but have started using them, although I don’t believe, after reading your post, that I am doing so effectively. Thanks for the info.

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    • Sunshine says:

      If you have the time to check out Timethief’s comment she left here, she explains the C&T thing so much better than I, LongLifecats&dog. Best of luck with the new knowledge and thank you for sharing.

      Like

  6. angelswhisper2011 says:

    Thanks for the tips, Sunshine. I’m not good in this stuff, that’s because it’s all in English and I have to think to much what they mean. It costs me sometimes a whole evening to find out how to put things together, but you make the C&T more clear to me. Now I only have to apply it.

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    • Sunshine says:

      Lots of laughs, Angelswhisper! Your posts are so cute with your little kitty by your side. Listen, the technical aspects of blogging dazzles me too, so you are not alone. Thanks for your unwavering support and friendship. 🙂

      Like

  7. The Retiring Sort says:

    Great advice! WordPress also suggests links and tags as you go to help with this. Thanks, too, for the reminder that I’m overdo to do some blog clean-up! Maybe next week…. 😉

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  8. island traveler says:

    That makes the two of us. Till now, I’m still a bit confused about categories and tags. What I do, I click and add what is relevant to the post. Sometimes a lot in fact. In the end, it’s the content of our post that will draw the readers to our blog. And one very important secret to success? Our blogger friends…they are always there no matter what. Truly inspiring!

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    • Sunshine says:

      Yep, Island T. it is great to learn something new everyday…and indeed, without our blogger friends, life on our blog would be quite sterile and quiet. Lol!
      I appreciate your time spent here and the conversation…all the best and may lots of blessings come your way. 🙂

      Like

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