How to Organize Tags & Categories

How to Keep Tags and Categories Organized

Posted 24 March, 2015 in Blogging Tips / 14 Comments

This Bumblings Blog Tip is part of March’s Be a Better Blogger challenge: clean up your categories. Do you need to reorganize yours? Join the challenge today!

As daunting as it seems to clean up your categories after months of them getting out of control, that’s the easy part. Hell, I changed the categories on over 100 posts, and it maybe took an hour total. Add to that the 5 minutes I took at the beginning of the month to plan out what changes I would make.

But that didn’t address the root of the problem: how easy it is to let the categories get messy in the first place.

Now, I’m good at making plans. I’m not as good at keeping them. But I still know what you should do to keep your tags and categories organized. Just not so great at actually doing it. Anyway, I’m here to help. 🙂

Part 1: Define Your Categories

When you go to categorize or tag a blog post, do you sit down and try to come up with some? Or do you view it as a multiple-choice question? Choosing a category or tag should be multiple-choice, not an open-ended question.

Instead of saying, “What should I tag this?” say “Should I tag this choice A, choice B, choice C…”

Sit down and write out a list of what the categories on your blog are. Then when you’re writing a new post, those are your only options to choose from. This may mean creating a “Random” category, similar to my “Announcements,” to use for anything that doesn’t fit better elsewhere.

But I’m completely serious about actually writing them out, and keeping the paper or document nearby whenever you’re blogging. I have an Evernote note that tells me that my categories are:

  • Announcements
  • Be a Better Blogger
  • Blog Tours
  • Blogging Tips
  • BookBlogWriMo
  • Features
  • Reviews
  • Weekly Write-Ups

And that’s it. As far as I see it, I have no other options. Sure, the “+Add New Category” button is right there when I go to select the category, but having this list puts me in the right mindset. I barely see that button, because I’ve trained my brain to ignore the option of adding a new category for a blog post.

But yes, things change. You may realize you have twice as many posts in one category as any other. In that case, it may be worth breaking it down further. That’s why I recommend taking a look at your categories and making any adjustments at least every 3 months.

Part 2: Define Your Tags

As you’ll see in next month’s Be a Better Blogger challenge, tags are important too. They can get out of control even more easily than categories. Personally, I know I’ll have a lot more work for that challenge than I did this one.

Just as you did with your categories, the first step in staying organized is creating a game plan and writing/typing it down somewhere.

For example, my tag structure for reviews goes like this:

  • “ARC” (only if it’s an ARC, obviously)
  • The star rating (1-5 stars)
  • Author name
  • Series name (if applicable)
  • Genre
  • Any other topics or themes in the book (dirty talk, friends with benefits, etc.)

That last one is how my tags got messy – I started getting too specific. And lesson learned for the future, but I still need to go fix the past!

Part 3: Have No Mercy

The hard part comes when you love a book, and it has a certain theme or aspect you’ve never mentioned in a review before. To create a tag or not?

Or you do a few weeks of the same meme and feel like you’ll be participating in it for a long time. Shouldn’t it have its own category and tag?

It’s going to be tempting to add something new every now and then. That’s when you need to bring your list up in Evernote or Google Docs, or flip to that page in your notebook.

Ask yourself, “Honestly and realistically, how often am I going to use this category/tag?” If you can’t see yourself using it at least once per month, it’s probably not worth calling it out like that. The point of category and tag pages is to browse. There needs to be enough content there to actually browse through.

Do you have any tips for keeping categories and tags organized? Share them in the comments!

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How to Keep Your Blog's Tags and Categories Clean and Simple

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14 Responses to “How to Keep Tags and Categories Organized”

  1. Hey Brittany, I’m here to give you feedback on your blog 🙂 But first, thanks for this great post on Category and Tag Organization. I am still working on this, but I did just clean up all of the shelves on Pretty Sassy Cool’s goodreads accounts. I had BUNCHES of them and just simplified it so that makes me happy.

    Okay, your blog. You know I love everything you do but if you want me to find stuff to point out…I love the color scheme that you’ve got going on but I think I would prefer the stripes in the background a little thinner. That’s just an aesthetic thing, so really, pay no attention to me. I think the fonts that you use are great and easy to read, but I would prefer the font inside the “Click to Tweet” things to be a little darker. I’m old–I must not be able to see as well anymore. I love everything, really, and had to find something to point out! You have a great blog, keep up the good work! Also, I’m impressed by the speed of your site–I need to work on that too LOL

    PS How do you get the related books to show up under the summary and at the bottom of your posts? Is that automatic through UBB and I just don’t have it set? Love that feature!

    • Hi Kassiah, thanks for the feedback! Sorry I’ve been slow in responding – internet issues the past few days. 🙁

      – I totally agree with you on the stripes. It was something I tried to fix, but couldn’t figure it out on my own. I figured slightly large stripes were better than no stripes. 😛 Maybe one day I’ll try again with different tools or something.

      – Thanks for the CCT tip. I’m not sure if I can change the color from the plugin, but it’s definitely worth looking into.

      – Thanks for the compliments! I’ve actually also gotten a few complaints about my site being slow, so it’s good to know it might’ve actually just been their internet connection or something. 😛

      – Most of my review formatting is done through UBB. The related book text links that show up under the book’s main info is done through UBB customization. The “Books by Author X” at the very bottom of reviews are made by embedding the Amazon Affiliates “Image Only” HTML into the post. I hope that helps!

      • Thanks, Brittany! I’m going to have to figure out how to add the books by author in UBB. And LOL I should have known that you manually added the books at the end. I want to be able to do that automatically. *sigh*

  2. I now realize when I first started I used too specific categories. Additionally, they are too long- making my permalinks long also. So after reading your post I need to shorten and simplify. But if I go through old posts and re- categorize them then won’t the permalinks change and then I will have broken links out in cyberworld (folks that shared or tweeted me- bless their hearts). ??? I just want to make sure before I do something catastrophic.

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