Tag, You’re (Almost) It!

Ever since my recent blog makeover, I’ve been wanting to revamp my categories and tags too, but I wasn’t quite sure how.

Now thanks to some good advice from fellow MennoNerd Ryan Robinson, I’ve made a good start. I’ve trimmed the number of categories to seven (which some say is the perfect number) and have gotten rid of any subcategories.  I’ve also trimmed the number of tags to the ones you can see in the new tag cloud in my sidebar. In this WordPress theme, the “cloud” looks more like a list, but as with other tag clouds, the larger the font, the more times that tag has been used, so the more times that topic appears in my blog.

by Rawich, freedigitalphotos.net

by Rawich, freedigitalphotos.net

When I started blogging, I dutifully added the tags suggested by WordPress, but as time went on I became more selective, and now I’ve become more selective still.  I understand now that the purpose of tags is not to have a laundry list of key words for that particular post, but to group together posts that are similar–they’re like my old subcategories, but more functional since the cloud format shows the relative frequency of the different topics.

Now my categories and tags work together, so a quick glance gives a good overview of the contents of my blog.

The categories give my main themes, and the tag cloud is like a topical index. In the last year since I started blogging, Book Reviews, Prayer, and Scripture have been the most prominent; Jesus and Community a little less so; Missional, Spiritual Direction, and Walking the least.

I’m not quite done yet. The smallest tags have just one post each, so I should really add more posts with those tags, or simply omit them. And do I really need a “Contemplative Prayer” tag and a “Prayer” tag? Is “Peace” so small because I haven’t given it much attention, or have I missed out on tagging some of my posts? I can think of at least a couple of “Peace and Justice” posts that could be grouped together, so I may go back to add “Peace” or maybe change the tag wherever it appears to “Peace and Justice.”

I’m also thinking about what’s missing. I blog a lot about God, faith, and discipleship, but I decided against using them as categories or tags because I don’t think of them as separate topics. They’re part of the big picture of everything I write.

That’s why I’m not entirely comfortable with “Jesus” as a tag either.

The Lord of life and everything can’t be reduced to a blog tag.

As God-with-us, God-with-me always, Jesus is part of the big picture of everything I write too. And yet there are posts like Three Views of the Atonement and Why They Matter and Lectio Divina and Looking for Jesus, which have a special focus on Jesus and that go together. What’s more, the name of Jesus marks my blog and spiritual practice as deliberately Christian which is an important part of who I am.

My categories and tags are still in process, but I’m glad for the progress so far. I hope they’re more helpful to you now. If not, you can always use the search button to plug in a keyword and find whatever you’re looking for that way.

This week I start my summer schedule, blogging just twice a week on Mondays and for Writer Wednesday. I’d love for you to follow along by email, rss feed, or other social media, so you can read at your leisure without missing a post. Enjoy!



Categories: Social Media, Spiritual Practice

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10 replies

  1. My blog is a lot more eclectic in specific content so I’m running about 14 categories now (trimmed it WAAAAY down). I’m going to have to go through my tags, though… I have 261 different ones… and that’s just WAAAY too much…. I like the way you’re organizing it with categories as main themes and tags as sub categories. I may borrow that. 🙂

    • Wow, 261–you’ve been blogging for a lot longer than I have, but that’s still a lot! What I have now reflects the way I understand categories and tags at this point, and works well with my theme. But in another few months or year, maybe that will change too, although I hope in an organic way so it won’t mean a massive overhaul.

  2. Glad to be able to help out 🙂

    The hardest part is how to differentiate Categories from Tags, which I didn’t get into in my email (mainly because it didn’t affect the MennoNerds site). I use Categories more heavily than I’m probably supposed to, but it does work well in my theme and I appreciate that they can be nested. Then I use tags more for people, churches/institutions, or other sorting of my sources (e.g. see all things The Meeting House, see all things Rachel Held Evans)

    • Now that you mention it, I realize that many of the tags I deleted were names of people or organizations, but since I only used them once or seldom there was no compelling reason to keep them. If certain names/topics emerge over time I’ll add them–like Mennonite Church and/or Anabaptist which I haven’t used as tags yet but would apply to a number of my existing posts.

  3. I’m inspired to finally clean up the categories and tags on my blog. Thanks for the useful tips.

  4. Thanks for this post. I’ve been blogging for 1.5 years now and have never figured out how to use the WordPress categories! I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, but it is rather confusing. Your sidebar is very clear and that inspires me to do the same.

    • Your blog looks great, and I look forward to following. I’m so glad you found this helpful! I used categories and tags from the beginning when I started blogging a year ago, but what I have now actually makes sense to me and is much more useful.

  5. This is all helpful and good advice. I need to clean up my categories/ tags!!

    • All the best with that, Laura! For me this is definitely a work in progress, and I’ve done more now to eliminate the tags that were attached to just one post. Also instead of using Peace as a tag, I’ve decided in favour of the word Reconciliation since that seems to fit my current posts a bit better. At least that’s how I see it now, but of course this may change over time.