Let Readers Discover Your Content – Lead Them With Proper Categories and Tags

For every post you made, I’m sure you want them visible to your readers for years to come. But with new articles every day, how to make older posts keep getting readers?

On a Make Money Online blog like this one, hundreds of posts related to the topic could be written. With a bi-daily posting frequency (for example :) ) and 20 excerpts being displayed on the main page, a post makes its appearance for only 40 days before it goes to the monthly or category archive.

Unless the post is featured, commented mostly, or you’re using the Similar Posts plug-in, it’ll remain hidden inside the archive link. Unless the post is armed with a top-notch on-page SEO, it’ll be discovered on the 50th page of SERP.

So, is there anything else to do in order to make your precious articles at least, a lot easier to be found?

The answer is maximizing the use of your category names and tags. Since older posts can be reached through category links, they need to be as appealing as possible to your readers.

Keep it relevant

The first thing leads to a better category management is to focus on your blog’s topic. Before thinking of posting an article, you should decide whether it’s related or not. If it isn’t, don’t do it. Posting articles not related to your blog’s theme will likely lead to excessive categorizing that will ruin your blog and confuse your readers.

Category names are teasers for what’s inside.

Categories are sub-sub theme for your blog’s theme. On a MMO blog, categories could be make money blogging, domain parking, website flipping, affiliate marketing, GPT programs, paid reviews and many else. However, on a blog that contents are more date oriented (news, personal diary, update on happenings), categories should be time based to make it easier for readers to find posts. Decide this from your readers’ point of view. How are they going to find your posts easier? Whether it is date or content based categorization.

When you’ve figure out how to group your posts, you need to pick a representative name for each category. The one describes its content, catches your readers’ attention and gives a clue of what is inside. Be a visitor of your own blog and make sure you don’t misguide yourself with the category titles.

In my own case, back then, I named my categories:

  • blogging
  • online freelancing
  • GPT programs
  • contests
  • for advertisers
  • domain registrations
  • web hosting
  • tips
  • news and rumors
  • other interests

It was obvious enough to found out what were inside the link “blogging”, since the blog has clearly stated that it’s a MMO blog. However, the new method of naming the category makes a more certain thought of what each category holds inside.

Now, I name them:

  • Earn Money…
    • …blogging
    • …online freelancing
    • …GPT programs
    • …contests
  • Top tips to…
    • …create some buzz!
    • …domain registrations
    • …web hosting
  • And some other…
    • …general tips
    • …news and rumors
    • …various interests

They are still on the same order, but now I add headers to clearly state that this link will lead you to “Make Money Blogging” tips, “Make Money Winning Contests” or “Some Tips on Generating Buzz”. This way people are more certain of what they’re going to read.

What is the best for your blog? Think like the reader, not the author.

Less is more

Another thing you need to pay attention to is, categories are made to simplify searching of your articles. They are called categories and not post lists for a reason.

To avoid unnecessary long list of categories, you can limit yourself from posting unrelated posts to your blog’s niche. The other way is to look at your category list. One category should not fit into others. For example, if I had two categories, name them “Make Money Blogging” and “SEO Tips”, I would merge them under “Make Money Blogging” because my blog discusses “Make Money Blogging” tips and SEO is one of the ways to improve your blog to make more money.

Alternatively, if I had “Make Money Blogging” and “Make Money with GPT Programs”, I could leave them as they were. Because “Make Money Blogging” is totally a different way to make money from GPT programs.

I know that sometimes we want to add new categories so badly because we don’t think a post fits well to any categories. The solution is, pick up any category describes the post best and add some tags to your post.

“Make Money Blogging” category can have articles tagged with “AdSense”, “SEO”, “WordPress” but not “AdWords”. Because in my opinion, AdWords is something you do outside your blog and your category title is “Make Money Blogging”.

So, whenever you feel like adding a new category, think of adding tags first. They are useful as an extension to your categories but in a much tidier way and looks that will please your readers’ eye.

As the final effort to make your content easily available to your readers, you can always have a search form. Search forms further expands the benefits of categories and tags. People use search forms to search articles based on tags you didn’t think of.

A good example of tagging, probably, you won’t find it here. Since when I wrote the article, I haven’t done anything to tidy up my tags. But another live blog of mine is applying what I’ve learned about categories and tags.

Please visit CahKontes.com. It’s a blog about contests in my local language. There, I demonstrate the use of categories and tags to make it easier for people to found contents. If you care for a little explanation, here we go:

Cah Kontes’ posts are mainly time based, since contests have deadlines, I use months as one of category names. See the “april 2008” link inside the red circle. Clicking this will display contests end on April 2008.

Contests also have prizes, and prizes are varied. From cash, ad spots, reviews, entrecard credits, cool stuffs, tees, and many more (the sky is the limit :) ). If I’m going to make categories out of them, they’ll make an awful list longer than the content itself. So I decided to have these parameters as categories:

  • the amount of cash given as prize
  • the grand total value of the prizes
  • the amount of entrecard credits as prize
  • when the contest ends
  • whether the contest is periodical or not

So, inside the red circle you can see “$51-$500”. Clicking on it will display contests throwing $51-$500 cash prize out. While “GT $501-$2000” means contests giving away prizes worth $501-$2000 in total. John Cow’s XBOX 360 Elite’s contest falls into this category. What about the “101-1000” category? I use it to group up contests giving away 101-1000 Entrecard credits.

What about the other prizes like ad spots, reviews, entrecard credits, cool stuffs, tees? What if someone want to look for contests having those as prize? Easy! I also tag contests with prizes they have. So people can also browse through tags to find kinds of contests they want. But make sure you tag posts consistently. If you use t-shirt for tags, use t-shirt all the time instead of changing between t-shirt, tee or tshirt. They will all appear on the tag cloud and each of them will display different results.

I put those tags below the red circle. From the picture, you can see that people can browse contests which giving out cash (uang), hosting, domain and cool stuffs (barang keren) as prizes.

The final assistance to find posts is by the search form (blue circle). It is located below the tag cloud and people can search anything by the keywords I probably haven’t thought of…

Finally, there are other methods you can use to make your content accessible through any ways, like SEO, linkbaits, etc. But they all work outside your blog. When people get to your blog, having a proper categories and tags is the best way to guide them from inside your blog. That’s why this post falls into “Earn Money Blogging” category.

What is your thought about categorizing your posts? Does important to you? What problems do you have in re-categorizing your content?

Related post on Problogger: How to Choose Categories for Your Blog

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