Tags and categories are core WordPress concepts but how to use them most effectively is often a source of confusion. Here's a common sense approach to both that gives you practical guidelines for setting them up properly on your live sites.
For whatever reason (we’re not here to judge), some people would like their Pages to act like Posts.
In other words, they’d like them to be able to put them in categories and assign tags to them. They’d also like them to show up on the homepage when published (as Posts do in traditional blogging style).
If that’s what you want, you can do it. We’ll show you how below.
Categories and Tags for Pages
The first part of this equation is to get categories and tags for Pages.
You can do that with a plugin called Post Tags and Categories for Pages.
The media system in WordPress has come a long way in the last few years. It’s seen many welcome improvements.
As usual, however, it could probably be a little better. And one obvious way would seem to be adding categories and/or tags to media.
This would allow for easier management and even a little creative curation.
With that in mind, we’re going to go over a few ways you can assign categories or tags to media (such as images), and also how that might help.
Greater user engagement should be at least one of the goals you have for your site. Not only will more engagement help you with SEO, but more importantly, it will build a stronger relationship with your visitors.
If visitors are checking out more of your content, it’s a sign that they’re interested.
Of course you need interesting and relevant content. And many sites have that. But one thing they often lack is a successful strategy to help users find more content that will be of interest to them.
The WordPress admin interface provides the functionality to add tags and categories to multiple posts but not to remove them.
To do that you’ve still got to edit each post which is a bit of a chore if you’ve got plenty of tags or it’s something you do on a regular basis.
In this post, I’ll show you how to add the ability to remove tags or a category from multiple posts. But be warned, it’s a hack that’s not for the squeamish.
There may come a day when you decide that either you want to convert your categories to tags or vice versa.
Suppose, for example, you’ve found that you keep reusing a certain tag again and again. After a certain number, it occurs to you that it might be worthwhile to create a category for that term.
Of course you could manage to do this manually, but there’s a much easier and automatic way – with a plugin called Taxonomy Converter.
Using Taxonomy Converter
SEO best practice is to let search engines index your site using either categories or tags but NOT both. For most sites that means tags, so management of tags is critical.
In WordPress tags, unlike categories, are an “all or nothing” proposition: if a user can assign tags then they can add tags. This is not conducive to good tag management and leads to tag pages with too few posts, posts appearing on too many tag pages and, well, just too many tags.
In a way, tags in WordPress are like categories. They are meant to group similar topics together in a way that makes them easily accessible (i.e. by clicking on a tag link and seeing all the posts marked with that descriptor).
The problem a lot of people run into is that they end up assigning too many tags to their posts. This defeats the purpose of tags. If you only end up with one or two posts with that tag, it hardly deserves its own “category.”
There are plenty of posts out there with tips for WordPress newbies, which is pretty damned handy, it has to be said.
After all, we were all beginners once. When you first fire it up, WordPress can be pretty overwhelming — such a depth of functionality is not easily presented in an immediately intuitive manner. Having said that, it only takes a few nudges in the right direction to get on your way. Install a theme here, a plugin there, have a fiddle with the visual editor, and you’re on your way.
For some sites, tags are hugely important. They’re so important that simply having a tag cloud in the sidebar isn’t enough. They require a whole page dedicated to the site’s tags. In short, they need a WordPress Tag Page.