In our last installment of this series, you created your first website post. We covered the basic mechanics, and also talked about the importance of structuring your title properly and of creating good content for your post. Let’s go back to that sample post you created now and review a couple more mechanics.
Go back to Posts and edit your sample post. Notice the two boxes on the right labeled “Categories” and “Post Tags.” These are both ways to add a little more information to your post (or more accurately, a little more information about your post). Information that can be used in pretty powerful ways.
Categories are a way to file your posts. As your website grows, you’ll be writing about a variety of topics. Placing posts into categories will help you keep organized, just like filing folders in a filing cabinet. Unlike files in a file cabining, however, your posts can be listed in multiple categories if needed. For instance, that last post about “How To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy” could be listed in a “how to” category and also a “dog food” category.
Since your site is new, you probably haven’t yet thought through exactly how you might want to categorize your content. Still, I think it’s important that you work on this as you create your posts. A good rule of thumb with categories is to keep both the number of categories as small as possible and the number of categories a post is filed under small too. For instance, it’s easy to see that a lot of what we might write about for the sample site could be “how to” information, but it seems less clear that there will be a bunch of posts in the “dog food” category – or that we’d extend that sort of categorization model (e.g., cat food, hamster food, fish food, etc.).
So, as you write your posts, establish a small number of simple and broad categories, knowing that you can change and adjust them later pretty easily. This will help you to think about an organization scheme as you go, which is easier than trying to go back through a bunch of uncategorized information later and developing a system “from scratch.”
You can be much more fluid with Post Tags. Post Tags are like keywords for your posts. You’ll likely have a few (or several) for each post, and a much larger set of Post Tags than Categories. That’s ok. A primary application of Post Tags will be to put a tag cloud on your site. This can be a good way to give a visitor a quick impression about the content being offered on your site. A tag cloud is like a display of the keywords from all your posts, visually enhanced to show which keywords are used most frequently (bigger words mean they’re used more frequently).
Here’s a snapshot of the current tag cloud from my site. At a quick glance you can see that project management and website101 are prominent tags, followed by social media, leadership and customer service. This not only gives you a good sense of what the content of this site is about, it’s also a convenient way to browse topics by tags. Clicking on any one will link to all the posts that have that particular tag. Go ahead, try it out (the real one is over on the left sidebar).
One category, a few tags
Select one category for each post (if you need to create a new category, just click “Add New Category”), and add tags for 3 to 5 keywords for each post. Don’t worry too much about your overall organization scheme right now, just get in the habit of categorizing and tagging to start to develop some thoughts about organizing your posts as you go.
Update your sample post with a category and some tags, then click the Update button. Notice that your website now shows this information right under your post. Each of those references to a category or tag are hyperlinks to all of your posts with the corresponding category or tag. This can be a handy way for visitors to your website to find other content on your site related to the particular post they are reading.