BloggingToday I answered a question for a client that might be helpful to others, so I thought I’d share it here.

When you set up a blog, you need to develop categories for your posts. These may include “employee communications,” “marketing,” “social media” and so on. You might create 10 or 20 categories or more. Each of your posts will sit in a category bucket or two. For example, a post on intranets might be in the categories for “intranet” and “employee communications.”

So what’s a tag? As I explained to my client, you can think of categories as the table of contents in a book, and tags as the index at the back of the book. Tags serve to describe your post in more detail.

To expand on the example above, our blog post on intranets, which is placed in the categories for “employee communications” and “intranet” might also be tagged with the name of the company used in the example, say “Acme.” Perhaps you’d add a tag for “SharePoint” if the post referred to it.

If you’re writing about an event that features a hashtag, you would add the whole hashtag as a tag, such as #IABC13 for the IABC world conference in 2013.

Must you use categories and tags? Blog posts should have categories to keep your blog organized, to help users find information, and to improve SEO. Tags are optional but suggested. If you are using WordPress, categories and tags are the default taxonomies. Other blogging platforms I’ve used (such as TypePad) also allow for both categories and tags.

What’s your experience with categories and tags?


  1. I’m glad I came across your post because I’ve always been confused by the two. I appreciate your straight forward explanation. I’ve just finished giving my site ( a refresh and I’ll be sure to include categories and tags moving forward. Thanks.

  2. Hi Donna,

    Thank you for these tips, I am new to blogging but it makes sense as the audience may be interested in certain topics; so if the posts are in categories, they can find their through your site.

    Thanks again for sharing your tips!

  3. Thanks Donna. This is quite useful for me because I am still experimenting with tags and categories. This blog post has helped to differentiate them, so I should get it right soon.

  4. Thank you Donna for conceptualizing the difference between categories and tags so clearly. This is very helpful, and certainly puts an end to my confusion regarding the need for both.

    One inquiry I have is related to the number of categories and tags. In your post you highlight that a blogger can have upwards of 10 categories. If your post is very focused one one or two topics, should you still be aiming to have around 10 categories? Additionally, would you normally have more tags than categories, or is this more of a blogger preference? Thank you.


  5. Sue, you can have more than 10 categories — or less — depending on your blog. Normally we have more tags than categories, because tags are more specific and we may use more than one for each post. Of course you can use more than one category for each post, too.

  6. Donna, thanks for posting this! Now I have a better understanding differentiating the two. Going forward, I just have to make sure I use good keywords in my blogs. Cheers!


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