If you’re visiting today, don’t be alarmed by frequent changes in the appearance of PaMdora’s Box. I’m just playing around with different themes in WordPress. A girl can’t wear the same thing everyday, can she?

Can anyone tell me what the different between “categories” and “tags” are? I’ve finally upgraded my WordPress which includes capabilities for tags.

8 Comments

  • Hi Pam,
    I’m also trying to understand the difference between tags and categories and how to use them effectively. Thanks Liz for the table of contents/index analogy. That helps a lot.

    I’m enjoying exploring your blog.

    Leslie

  • hi pam – tags are a constantly evolving set of key words that you can associate with any single post. it helps users find more finely tuned “related” content that you might not want to post as a category.

    for example, say you write an entry about picasso’s tapestries. picasso himself might not warrant a category (you just don’t write about him that much – and he’s indirectly related to what you do) but your readers might be interested to see what else is tagged “picasso.”

    typically, the best implementation of tags is that your readers can add their own tags to your content to develop a “folksonomy” around your content, whereas you would maintain control of categories.

    i like the analogy of categories being a bit like your TOC (though not linear or hierarchal), whereas your tags could be your index.

    cheers!

  • While l was look at your stitched piece of the news reader l had a thought ‘why don’t you give Pamadora a friend, there could be lots of stories then and just had a picture of pamadora getting married dressed in black leggings and a crash helmet, don’t know were that came from but its a great picture.
    Laura cater Woods was saying in her newsletter to start day dreaming like children but don’t think i ever stopped,
    Jill xxx

  • Hi Pam

    The most helpful analogy I have found is that categories are like contents of a book and tags are like the index.

    Love your new blog!

  • I think categories are an organizational tool that your readers can see in your sidebar and use to look up specific posts (like what you’ve written about “awards”) and apply to the whole post, while tags are key words that apply to the things you’ve written about in your post. Readers can’t find “tags” in the sidebar, but if they use a search tool (either one just for your site/blog, or a giant like Google, etc.) then your tags will help the reader find what they are looking for (like searching for “awards,” “AQS,” “purple,” and “quilts” in order to find award winning purple quilts shown at AQS shows). I think this is how it works.

  • Thanks Jane, I’m not sure that I completely understand all the distinctions between the two, but that article was very helpful.

  • Hi Pam,

    Tags are somewhat more random than categories. Common usage is to have categories for broader themes and use tags for specific things to make searching and browsing a bit more focused. For example, say you write a post about all kinds of music you might be listening to. It might go into a general “music” category, but then you might tag the post with the names of the bands you mention.

    The fun thing about tags is making a “tag cloud” where they randomly come up in your sidebar and your readers can click on a word that seems interesting to read other posts. In WordPress, you’ll need a good plugin to make this easier on yourself — I use Simple Tags.

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