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:
- Be a Better Blogger
- Blog Tours
- Blogging Tips
- 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)
- 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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