The Difference Between Categories and Tags for Your Blog

Still confused over the difference between categories and tags on your WordPress blog? Both are used to organise your blog posts and make it easier for reader’s find your great content but in different ways.

Categories are the main way of sorting your blog posts within WordPress. Similar to manilla folders in a paper storage drawer or digital folders on your computer they categorise (wink, wink!) your content into different groups, usually based on the theme or topic of that post.

For example a food blog might have categories like, Breakfasts, Salads, Dinners and Desserts. A beauty blog might have Makeup, Skincare, Body and Hair. Each time you write a new post you simply check the box next to the appropriate category. Posts can live in two categories if they really fit into both. This doesn’t mean it will be posted twice, or exist twice, it will simply appear under both categories when navigating your blog. 

Tip! Put links to your category pages in your blog's main menu to allow your readers to discover more posts on the topic that interests them by going to Appearances > Menus and click on the 'Categories' option to create a link.Click To Tweet

The Difference Between Categories and Tags in WordPress Blog

Tags are also used to categorise posts but in a different, more detailed and custom way. Tags can be viewed like labels. A post about a new moisturiser might live in the category ‘Skincare’ but it could have tags like, anti-aging, moisturiser, a key ingredient or even a brand name. Anything that will give a better overview of what the post is about and how it might also relate to other posts on your blog.

Tags are used to link your posts together so they can’t be too individualised. A breakfast blueberry pancake recipe might use the tag ‘pancakes’, and so could a Banana Pancake recipe you’ve written. That way if someone clicks the tag link at the bottom of your post, or if posts with similar tags are linked in a ‘related posts’ area on your blog there’s more content that is similar to the current post they’re reading.

Want to see what your tags look like for your readers? They usually look similar to your home page or search page, a list or grid of posts that meet that criteria. Categories use the URL and tags, These are good to link to with social media if you’re wanting to share a bunch of posts on a specific topic or brand.

Want to clean up your blog’s Categories and Tags?

Have a list of categories longer than your arm? Time to organise your blog using tags and categories correctly.

Write down a list of categories that suit your blog. You can have sub categories if you have a larger site that covers a range of topics, e.g. Beauty, Food, Fashion and Weddings could be your main categories and each could have sub-categories like Makeup and Skincare under beauty, Drinks, Restaurants under Food, Outfits and Brands under Fashion and Tips and Inspiration under Weddings. You shouldn’t have specific categories like ‘Rimmel Lipsticks’ or ‘Gin Cocktails’ however (unless your blog is solely based on lipstick or gin of course!)

Scrap the categories that should really be tags and readd them as tags to the appropriate posts. You can do this quickly by clicking Quick Edit when you hover over a post on the main posts page rather than the full Edit button.

Tip! Be careful to use the same version of the word for tags. E.g. use lipstick everywhere rather than lipstick and lipsticks for better organisation.

The Difference Between Categories and Tags for Your Blog


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