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Using tags and categories on your blog

Unique to blogs and other digital media is the concept of tagging. Think of tags as part of your blog post’s catalogue card or indexing system.

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Tags help you identify the post and find it again if you ever need it. Tags also help your readers navigate through all your content, and they can play a big role in helping search engines understand what your blog is about.
Your CMS will give you a little text entry field for entering tags; each post should have at least two or three tags of one to two words each. For example, for a post on using off-camera flash lighting, you could use ‘lighting,’ ‘flash,’ and ‘off-camera flash’ as tags.
Your CMS may also give you the option of creating categories. These are broader than tags, but they can also help out a lot with reader navigation and search engines. For example, if you write more than a handful of posts about lighting equipment and techniques, you might want to create a ‘Lighting’ category. Depending on your blog’s focus, you might have a Portraiture category, a Client Work category, a Gear category, you get the idea.
Finally, once you’ve got a couple dozen posts under your belt, your tags and categories will start to fill out a bit. If you’re blogging about a particular topic, you can link important mentions of that topic back to the relevant tag or category page on your blog. So for one example, in the sentence, ‘The intern and I took some time this weekend to shoot an outdoor wedding on the outskirts of Pittsburgh,’ you could make the word ‘wedding’ a link to your blog’s ‘wedding’ tag, which might be photographybyme.com/tag/wedding. This linking back will be a big help with both reader navigation and search engines.

Learning the lingo

Categories A series of topics into which you can divide your content, for ease of navigation on your blog— particularly in archive posts.
Tag Often used interchangeably with categories, tags are applied to the metadata of posts and articles so that they can be found later under their respective navigation topics, and also located easily in a search. While it’s important not to go overboard on tags, judicious and regular use will help your posts gain traction in search results.
Tag cloud A visual feature often included in blogs on the sidebar that represents all the tags used throughout the posts in that blog, with extra weight given to the tags used more frequently. The idea is that it gives a good overview of the topics discussed on that blog at a glance.
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Blogging for Photographers, Jolie O'DellBlogging for Photographers
Jolie O’Dell

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