WordPress Categories Versus WordPress Tags

| April 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

WordPress Logo imageThere seems to be a lot of confusion regarding WordPress categories and WordPress tags, especially among new bloggers.  How are WordPress categories used?  How are tags used?  What are the differences between the two?

Fortunately, understanding the differences between WordPress categories and WordPress tags is relatively simple, but this understanding only comes with blogging experience.  But to make things simpler, lets take a closer look at the differences between WordPress categories and tags, as well as some minor tips on how to utilize them both.

What are WordPress Categories?

WordPress Categories imageWordPress categories provide a user-friendly way to group related posts and content together so that visitors can easily navigate and find your content.  Categories simply let the reader know what your post is really about.

Depending on the theme that you are using, categories can be displayed above or below post content as well as in a sidebar or widgetized footer via widgets.

Organizing the clutter…

Additionally, categories can be organized hierarchically, meaning you can create a category that covers a much broader subject material, and then assign sub-categories to describe more specific content.  Unlike tags, WordPress categories use a Parent->Child relationship, and you’ll notice this in the url structure on your category and sub-category archive pages.

To explain this more simply, lets say you own and operate a blog focused on the niche of finance.  Additionally, you have added a category for “Investments.”  Now, we all know that the word “Investments” is a very broad subject.  So you may set up sub-categories for topics such as “Stocks,” “Bonds,” “Mutual Funds,” “REITS,” “Options,” “Commodities,” etc., to more accurately describe what it is that you are writing about.

Furthermore, you can assign multiple categories if you feel that your post is related to more than one topic.

What are WordPress Tags?

WordPress Tags imageWordPress Tags are simply keywords that are used to group a blog post with other relevant content.
Similar to WordPress categories, tags provide visitors with an easier way to navigate a blog to find related content.  WordPress tags group content into mini-categories rather than relying on WordPress categories alone.

However, unlike categories, WordPress Tags do not use a Parent->Child relationship.  Tags can not be organized hierarchically.

Tags are similar to, but more specific than, WordPress categories.

Helping you to drill down to something more specific

Lets give an example of how tags would be used.  Lets say you have a WordPress Category devoted to “Dessert”.  You might tag a post with keywords such as “Chocolate,” “Cookies,” “Banana Bread,” etc.

The primary difference between WordPress categories and WordPress tags is this:

  • Categories group content into broader subject groups.
  • Sub-categories (child categories) group content into more specific groups.
  • Tags drill down deeper to something much more specific.

Next, learn how to tag a post!

How do you use WordPress categories and WordPress tags?  Please share your thoughts and expertise below!

Category: Blogging Tips, WordPress

About the Author ()

Dave Fennell is the founder and editor of Marketing Methods Online and BloggerGo. Learn more about him here. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

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