The Difference Between Categories & Tags in WordPress Blogs
A topic that causes a lot of confusion for business bloggers and a question that comes up frequently in my online course, Blog School, is this: “What’s the difference between categories and tags in WordPress blogs?” Yep, it is a little tricky. If you simply perform a Google search to try to get the answer you’ll likely get results that don’t make sense, especially if you’re not a techie.
My mission is to make the web understandable and online marketing doable for business owners, so I’m going to try to clear this up for you. Please let me know in the comments below if this article is helpful.
Here’s a cool way to think about categories and tags that may just make sense to you.
The Easy Explanation: The Difference Between Categories and Tags in WordPress Blogs
Blogs are like books. They have an internal structure. So if you were to imagine that all your blogs put together are a book, then…Blog Categories are like Book Chapters and Blog Tags are like entries in the Index.
For example, a book about Italian cooking might have the following chapters:
The index entries at the back of the book might look like this:
- Alfredo sauce
- Antipasti salad
Now, let’s imagine you write a blog about Italian cooking. Your most recent post is entitled, “Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs Your Family Will Love.” This post would be appropriate in the Sauces category and in the Pasta category from the list above, right?
What would the tags be? The tags might be tomato sauce, spaghetti, meatballs, ground meat, etc. So, if a reader would link on the spaghetti tag she’d see a list of all the blogs that contain the term spaghetti and because you used “spaghetti” as a tag. See how it works?
Both categories and tags help your readers navigate your site. The added benefit, and it’s a big one, is they also help Google understand what your blog (and your entire website) is about.
Now, let’s look at the categories and tags in this WordPress blog I’m writing right now. I’ve put it into two categories, Blogging and Content Marketing. I also added it to my Tuesday Tips category (I always post marketing tips on Tuesdays and email them to my list.) I’ve used these terms for my tags: blogging, categories, tags, wordpress, content marketing and blog school (blog school is relevant, see below).
Note: Every blog must be put into a category but not every blog needs tags. However, I highly recommend them for search engine visibility.
I hope I helped clear up some confusion around the difference between categories and tags in WordPress blogs.
If you’re struggling with your business blog, please take a look my content marketing course, Blog School. My specialty is online business marketing and my clients and students have tracked millions of dollars using my approach to attract ideal customers to their websites. My course is filled with practical marketing knowledge, tons of support and engagement. We’re enrolling now – Click here to learn more.
Have you gone beyond the basics and are ready to dig into your analytics? Check out this great article for small businesses: There Are Literally Billions Of Webpages And That Number Is Growing Daily! 5 Things You Must Do Now To Stay Relevant.
Thank you for reading!
Thank you a lot for these tips. I found a number of useful things in your post, but in my opinion every blog would benefit from a good combination of tags and categories.