How to Use: Categories & Tags

Whether using U.OSU for a class site, personal blog or portfolio, utilizing categories and tags (and knowing the difference between them) is beneficial in more ways than one. Increased organization creates a better user experience and can also drive more traffic to your content.

What are they?

Categories allow you to group posts into broader topics.

They collect and organize content structurally and can be hierarchical. You can set your categories and their order in your WordPress dashboard ahead of time. For example, if you’re setting up a class blog, you might know you want your categories to be homework, class activities, readings and resources.

Tags are keywords you can attach to individual posts to help visitors search within and across categories.

You can define tags ahead of time or as you write posts. So, if your physics class blog is learning about vectors, you may tag a post with the word “vectors.” Then when a student searches that term, he or she can find all posts with that tag attached, regardless of category.

categories     tags

When do I use them?

Tags let the reader know what lies within a post while categories are a collection of articles that fall under one general theme. Think about it in terms of a filing cabinet. Categories are the manila envelopes you organize different papers into while tags are the colored identification tabs you can stick to individual documents as identifiers.

Example: If you’re about to post a cardio workout for on your health blog, you’d probably want to use a category like Cardio or Workouts while you might tag the article with keywords such as “running” “interval training” and “treadmill.”

How many do I need?

Each post must be filed under at least one category. Therefore, you must have at least one category. You will notice a default “uncategorized” category. Any posts you do not assign to additional categories, or posted before creating additional categories, will be listed as uncategorized. There is always the option to edit old posts and change what category they are filled under. It is best practice to categorize article appropriately, both for writer organization and reader navigation.

Tags are optional, there is no default tag, but it is in your best interest to use them strategically. Throwing tags on a post arbitrarily may confuse readers.

When choosing categories and tags imagine a reader trying to access a specific post and the different routes they may take to get there. A post should usually be limited to one or two categories and tagging should be reminiscent of the most relevant, important topics covered in the post. Not too few. Not too many

For more on categories and tags, visit the ODEE Resource Center.