There has been a lot of talk about the use of “tagging” in recent years, and you are seeing more and more blogs use this method for categorizing blog posts, even to the exclusion of traditional categories. Some bloggers are asking, “what’s the difference,” and “which one should I use?”
In answer to the first question, the other day I came across what I believe is the best explanation of the difference between tags and categories that I’ve ever seen. I encourage you to read it.
As to which one you should use (the post I referenced answers that question as well), let me say a couple of things:
- First, it’s a both/and, not either/or. Categories tend to be more broad and general in scope, while tags can drill down to specifics. You don’t want to create too many categories, lest the reader get lost in them. Use tags as a way to supplement.
- Second, Technorati views categories as tags anyway. Hence, you probably won’t want to duplicate the terms used in categories in your tags.
I guess I should say that the point of all this is two-fold really: To enable your readers to more easily navigate around the site…categories ARE a blog’s primary means of navigation…and as a way to be more easily found in search engines like Technorati. That’s really where tags play an important role.
Categories and tags…use em both!