So Just What are Tags and Categories?

What is the difference between a tag and a category?

I get asked this question a lot! Tags and Categories are a great way of organizing your content so that your readers will be able to find the content that is of interest to them. Originally there were just categories but then the list of categories began to get way too long, thus tags were born.

Let’s use food as an example – we all eat, right?

What is a category?

Categories are the broad term – they help to categorize your posts. You can have a long keyword phrase, which is a 3-4 word phrase, as a category, or a simple one-word category.

Healthy Fruit Smoothies OR Smoothies

You can also have sub-categories!

(main category)
Healthy Fruit Smoothies
(sub categories)
Berry Smoothies
Green Smoothies

What is a tag?

Tags are words or terms that are related to your post. It’s best to keep your tags to one or two words. So for the above examples, you may have a Green Smoothie recipe that is great to drink before you go work out. Some useful tags may be:

pre-workout, spinach, high-protein

To make appropriate recipes easier to find for those with food allergies, or preferences, you may use the following tags on some of your posts:

dairy-free, nut-free, kid-friendly

So let’s take the picture above as an example:
Category: Smoothies
Sub-Category: Fruit Smoothies
Tags: berries, raspberries, blueberries, kid-friendly


Categories are what the blog is about
Tags help your reader to find related information on your website
Tags help the search engines find your content
Try to use tags that will be used in future blog posts to help tie them together
And lastly… save the categories and tags for last – the content is what is important!


27 thoughts on “So Just What are Tags and Categories?”

  1. Great post…and I have been meaning to do one on this topic too. I usually explain that categories are a way to organize the blogs and the tags are more like keywords (like hashtags) to help others, including search engines to know what the keys are. Great post.

  2. I love this metaphor Mindy, super helpful! I’ve been considering re-doing my categories and tags on my site, and I think you may have convinced me that I need to. 🙂 I don’t display tags on my site…any advice on that? I know it could help readers to find more content to view. But I’m thinking of using tags more via a plugin that displays related posts or something similar.

    1. Hey, Meghan – that sure is a big undertaking but could be so very rewarding for you! A related posts plugin is a great idea. I also like tag clouds – at times. Showing the tags at the end of the post is helpful if the reader is interested in finding more on one of the topics in your post.

    1. You’re welcome! And thank you to you for the feedback! I know when I first started online I was very confused about the difference!

    1. That’s terrific, Roslyn – can’t wait to read your post – will do so shortly. My kids and I just love smoothies – especially during these warmer months!

  3. Pingback: Is Your Blog Post Complete? - Mindy Iannelli

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