Throughout the evolution of Whateverbabe, I have been really guilty of being such a mess when it comes to my blog posts. Since I was trying to be the boredom elimination queen, I tried to just slap random articles in my site that I, unfortunately, categorized in tags, which made everything a little crazier than what it already is.
I then stopped paying attention to which post goes under which category until one day, as I surfed my own site, I discovered that the mess is indeed messing up my SEO, and that I should do something to clean it up.
God, it took forever. First, I was like, “This and this and this are my main categories and the rest will be tags”. Later on, after editing 60-70% of my blog posts, I realize that I have more of this particular topic. I start re-organizing again. Halfway through, I see that 5-8 of my extra-specific tags can be merged into one. I start from scratch again.
And please don’t judge my categories and tags. I have a very changeable mind and I might re-organize again any time soon. Nothing is ever final for me. I want this blog to be more creative and informative while still keeping a piece of me in it. The truth is, I have no idea if that works, but it definitely works for me. I see that my posts are more organized and de-cluttered than before. Somehow I can see the bigger picture while keeping in mind the little details.
If only I was taught how to be more OCD with my posts at the start but what the heck, right? I never thought I’d be taking this seriously. I was one of those personal blogs who wanted to blossom into a more meaningful blog. I’m not a spick and span kind of person and sometimes I learn the repercussions of being messy the hard way.
Adding this to my list of things I should have known when I started blogging, I figured you shouldn’t suffer as much as I did trying to re-organize everything after moving to WordPress. So here goes.
Number 1 Tip for bloggers who want to start #adulting by taking their blog seriously is to organize the shiznit out of their blog. Get clear on what your blog is really about, what your main categories are, and outline your content properly.
Paying careful attention to your categories and tags is essential for 3 reasons:
It helps your readers navigate your website easily and more effectively. I have seen a couple of blogs that don’t have categories outlined on their headers or sidebars. I feel terrible, especially when I find one article interesting, that I couldn’t find other related posts easily. Not having categories is frustrating from the point of view of your readers and a missed opportunity on your part as a content creator.
On the other hand, having an extensive number of categories (like what I did before) can be quite confusing and equally frustrating as well. Unless you have a team behind you who can post a ton of posts under every category, like in an online magazine such as EliteDaily, Rappler or WhenInManila, it will greatly help to desaturate your categories into the most important ones.
It helps improve your SEO. The immediate outcome of being able to navigate your website effectively is of course, increasing your readership and therefore your SEO performance. Together with an increase in page views, it is also most likely that an organized site can decrease your bounce rate. This means people aren’t just clicking in and out of your site–they’re actually checking out your other posts.
It helps establish your brand by highlighting the topics. Let’s face it. A blog that promises to post anything under the sun is no longer as appealing as it was in the early 2000s. This era is all about niches. And you can’t be really successful if you can’t stick to your niche.
Having categories can definitely help you identify with your niche as well as let your readers know what your blog is all about. What are the top 3 things you love writing about? And if you’re as much of a passionate writer as I am, and you can’t seem to pinpoint what your main 3 categories are, then read along.
Definition of Terms
CATEGORIES are general groups that encompasses major portions of your posts. Imagine it to be like continents.
SUB-CATEGORIES are less general than the main categories (and sometimes irrelevant) but further groups similar posts together. Imagine it to be countries. Countries are obviously smaller, and more specific than continents.
TAGS are more specific and groups particular blog posts together. However, when used excessively (like 1 tag per post per 100 posts) it can add to the saturation of your blog. Imagine it to be groups of humans or animals or trees, etc. It is non-heirarchical, which means that it may belong to the same categories or not. A good example would be a group of trees that may be available in 2 or more continents
This is for newbie bloggers who have none to a few articles posted on their blogs. This aims to focus on a single niche that will branch down into smaller categories and into specific topics, which will give your blog a solid foundation.
MindMeister is a great free online tool to use in order to dissect your posts into categories and tags. It’s an easy-to-use mind-mapping service that helps you outline your topics through a drag and drop interface. It’s what I usually use to de-clutter and re-organize my thoughts. I recommend using this one to get you started.
1. Think about your Main Niche, or a general topic that you love to write about.
2. Dissect that Main Niche into 3-5 Categories.
3. Under each category, write specific topics that can inspire a couple to a dozen blog posts. Make sure that each topic is still relevant to the Main Niche.
4. That’s it! That mind map you just created will definitely guide you on which articles to write about and keep you from writing about irrelevant ones.
Reverse Pyramid Approach
This is for bloggers who have already posted a certain amount of articles and are looking to re-organize. This method aims to list down all specific topics you may have written already, or are still in your backburner, then merge them into more general topics until you come up with your top categories.
1. Open your Published Posts page and evaluate your articles one by one.
2. Jot down all the topics you recognize.
3. Beside each topic, write how many times you wrote about this particular topic.
4. Note topics that can be merged together under a broader topic. For example: brownies, cupcakes and cakes can be merged into Baking; fall, winter, summer and spring outfits can be merged under Seasonal Outfits; and hauls, events and discount alerts can be merged under Shopping Guide.
5. Continue merging topics until you get your top 3 Categories.
6. Organize the specific topics you first came up with from the ones with the most posts to the ones with the least. Look at your bottom 3 topics and ask yourself, “Are these still relevant to my top 3 Categories?” or “Do I see myself writing more articles under these topics in the future?”
7. Delete the unnecessary articles and topics to prevent them from messing with your niche. For example, (and this may be hard) but an article of your favorite dog has nothing to do with a Food Blog with categories like Baking and Frozen Desserts. You can keep that article if you’re an Animal blog, a Personal blog, or a Food blog that is entirely related to animal nutrition.
How Many Categories Is Enough?
The answer is relative. It highly depends on your niche, the number of posts you have and how frequent you post. When it comes right down to it, I tend to think about it this way: As long as your categories can all fit in your header menu, together with Home, About and Contact Us, then you’re good to go.
However, this isn’t the case with every blog out there. Just evaluate your main categories and verify if you can still merge one or two categories into a more general category, before you finalize it. There really isn’t a definitive number of categories that will help you rank higher in search engines or increase your readership. You alone can define how many categories is actually enough.
Are tags the same as keywords?
Technically but not literally. Yes, it can be that confusing.
Technically speaking, tags can also serve as keywords. Each time a reader enters a keyword on your Search bar, it will pull up articles under the same tag. Both tags and keywords can help your article be found.
Literally speaking, tags are used for article organization and keywords are used for search engine optimization. Tags are used to group articles and keywords are used to search for articles. So, it’s not literally the same. If you have Yoast SEO installed, your focus keyword is totally different from the tag you group that post under.
This is exactly where people get confused and they start assigning single posts on multiple tags in the hopes of getting found more. You can add as may keywords that you like for a post but still keep your tags to a minimum.
Can you have multiple tags on one post?
One to two tags for a post are okay (although it depends on the individual tags), but overtagging posts, hell no. This totally defeats the purpose of categorizing and tagging. Imagine having a specific bin for your underwear, tank tops and shorts. Tagging a single post under multiple tags is like dumping your underwear in all the three bins. The minute you start searching for a particular underwear, you won’t be able to find it easily.
Although this can be effective to increase your page views, it will piss off your readers and hurt your SEO. Remember, tags are different from keywords
Can I use synonymous tags?
Again, hell no. You are to use tags that are relevant to your niche but don’t use synonymous tags because it will confuse you and your readers as well. Examples of synonymous tags are motivation and inspiration, tips and hacks, online tools and online apps, fancy and stylish, diet and nutrition. Now don’t get appalled. I’m no expert on those topics. And I’m sure that if we dig deeper, we’ll find a small percentage of difference between these topics. However, it’s still counter-intuitive to use them both (especially on a single post.)
These are just some random examples I thought about. Note that these are just suggestions. What you’re supposed to use as categories, sub-categories and tags are solely based on the posts that you have on your blog. Feel free to tweak them according to the actual articles you have already posted, and those that are still in your back burner.
For a Fashion Blog:
Categories: OOTDs, Style Advice or Shopping Guide
Sub-categories: (Under OOTDs) Seasonal, Travel or Casual. You can also have these as main categories if you’re more into sharing outfit shots that writing about style or shopping.
Tags: By specific color, brand, style or DIY (for those who like to customize outfits) or Halloween (for those who like dressing up for Halloween), etc…
For a Food Blog:
Categories: Recipes, Food Around the World (for travel foodies) or Diet Tips (if your food blog is promoting specific diet types like Atkins, Vegetarian, Vegan, etc…)
Sub-Categories: (Under Recipes) Entrees, Main Course, Desserts, Snacks
Tags: By the type of meat (chicken, beef, pork, fish) or in the case of desserts, by the type of pastry (cupcakes, brownies, cakes, sweets). You can also tag it under breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or if you have a food series like 5-minute recipes or microwavable meals, you can definitely use that as tags.
Take note, some food blogs do use some tags as categories like 5-minute Recipes or Microwavable meals, since those pretty much sum up 90% of their overall blog posts.
For a Beauty Blog:
Categories: Product Reviews, FOTDs
Sub-categories: (Under Product Reviews) MakeUp or Skincare or Hair
Tags: You can tag by color, brand, style. For Makeup related tags, you can add what type of cosmetic whether lipstick, powder, brush, blush, eyeshadow, etc. You can also try tags for occasions like casual or everyday makeup, evening or event makeup, professional or work makeup, or wedding makeup, etc… For hair you can tag them under short hair, long hair, straight hair, wavy hair, etc…
For a Travel Blog:
Categories: Destinations, Travel Hacks
Sub-categories: (Under Destinations) Asia, Europe, North America, South America or when you’re just starting out you can use specific countries as sub-categories as long as you have at least 5 or more posts relevant to that sub-category.
Tags: There are tons of tags you can use as a travel blogger like for Destinations, you can use specific countries, accommodation, food, tours, activities, museums, summer, winter, spring, or fall. For Travel hacks, you can use travel apps, packing tips, travel planning, budget travel hacks, travel advice, etc…
For a Business Blog:
Categories: Money, Business, Motivation
Sub-categories: (Under Business) Business Ideas, Events or Product/Service Reviews
Tags: You can use tags such as seminars, workshops, money hacks, investment tips, getting started, accounting, bookkeeping, productivity hacks, productivity apps, budget planning, monthly audit, technology, or specific businesses like salons, spa and massage centers, facial and skin centers, learning, startups, co-working spaces, gyms, restaurants, e-commerce, etc…
For a Mommy Blog:
This is one tough cookie to crack because more often than not, as soon as you establish yourself as a Mommy blogger, you technically have the freedom to choose a more specific niche other than Parenting, like Business, Beauty and Lifestyle, what-have-you. These suggestions are more specific to Mommy blogs that really do focus on motherhood, raising kids and managing a family.
Categories: Parenting, Pregnancy Guide, Family
Sub-categories: (Under Parenting) For Kids under 6 or For Teens or For Kids with Autism or ADHD
Tags: homeschooling, budget planning, meal planning, travel planning, home organization, growth milestones, adopting, special education, breastfeeding, pregnancy kits, bonding time, challenges, play ideas, birthday planning, parenting or motherhood books, advice, etc…
For a Blogging Blog:
Categories: Getting Started, SEO, Social Media Management
Sub-Categories: (Under Getting Started) WordPress Tutorials, Branding, Content Creation
Tags: wordpress plugins, troubleshooting wordpress, content ideas, branding tips, facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, google+, productivity tips, google analytics, monetization, content planning or management, email marketing, design tips, list building, etc…
For a Graphic Design Blog:
Categories: Creative Ideas or Creativity Hacks
Sub-Categories: (Under Creativity Hacks) Adobe Creative Suite Tutorials, Selling Digital Art or Branding Tips
Tags: color palette, moodboard, design ideas, adobe photoshop, adobe illustrator, adobe indesign, portfolio, logos, themes, branding kit, typography, selling art online, vector art, digital painting, etc…
For a Technology Blog
Categories: Gadget Reviews or Tech News
Sub-Categories: (Under Gadget Reviews) Office Gadgets, Home Gadgets, Travel Gadgets
Tags: camera, cellular phone, laptop, appliance, television, troubleshooting, comparative analysis, technology hacks, gaming, music, cool innovations, shopping guide, etc…