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Tags Are Not Categories – Got It?

Tags are Not Categories by Carthik Sharma agrees with my opinion that categories are not the same as tags, and he makes a good point.

Categories organize, hierarchically. Tags need not. Tags provide meta-information, Categories need not. Tags cross-connect, Categories do not. By cross connect, I mean, when you go looking for posts tagged with “Flickr? on technorati, you find posts from various sources, all about Flickr. Now if you go searching for posts tagged with “administration? in technorati, you will find everything from system administration tips to posts regarding the NASA, the NSA, and general verbiage – largely due to poisoning from people who can’t get the difference between tags and categories straight, for the most.

Get your semantics right, wordpress.com folks – please If you don’t you are doing a disservice by poisoning so many indices that work by means of tags. Earlier today, for the nth time, I ended up with a wordpress.com blog as the result, and the entry was totally unrelated to what I was searching for on IceRocket.

And technorati, shame on you for saying

“A tag is like a subject or category.”

If I were in the business of earning my subsistence from the concept of tagging, I would try hard to make a distinction between the old and the new that I am offering, and to elucidate the advantages and novel uses of tags.

Applause, applause, loud clapping, bravo!

As tagging has grown, it gets harder and harder to use tagging services effectively when anything and everything is being used as tags. For a while it looked like things were settling in and and the key tag words were rising consistently to the top, but with 100,000 WordPress.com blogs (and growing) now available using categories as tags automatically, more and more tag search results are turning up a high percentage of false-positives.

Tags need to be clearly defined as distinctive from categories. I’m very selective about my category choices. I have only recently added a few more specific categories, which I will discuss soon, because my content topics have now expanded beyond my core four categories.

Adding a category like a tag creates long, cumbersome, and ugly lists in the sidebar. I have hundreds of tags on this blog. Could you imagine what my sidebar would look like if every tag I used was a category? It’d reach through your desk to the floor and beyond.

Until WordPress.com adds something like the Ultimate Tag Warrior, which adds a tag input form onto the Write Post Panel and then permits weighted tag clouds (tag heat maps) or tag lists within the WordPress Theme layout, you can still use the option of manually adding tags to your posts and not giving into the competition of having your category “seen” on the WordPress.com category/tag cloud.

Honestly, why do categories have to be tags. Categories can be tags, sure, but not all categories are tags, and not all tags should be categories. I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index page of a book. If I’m searching for a broad topic, unsure of exactly what I need to find or the keywords, then I will hit the table of contents (categories). If I know the exact word I need in order to find the information I want, then I will hit the index page (tags). As repositories of content and information, why should blogs be any different?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

59 Comments

  1. Posted March 1, 2006 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Hi ‘Relle :)

    I like the site search tags idea. I absolutely love the way you put SO MUCH EFFORT into each of your posts, manually (I presume) adding the related posts links at the bottom and so on! You rock, like no other!

  2. Posted March 1, 2006 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks. Actually, the adding of tags manually with the tagging bookmarket for WordPress.com users takes only a few seconds.

    But don’t tell everyone. I like people to think I send HOURS working on tagging my posts. hee hee

  3. Posted March 1, 2006 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Completely with you, infact I did try to discuss this with some of my friends, but they were all over the categories=tags. I have tried to put it put it from the point of view of a developer – http://iface.wordpress.com/2006/02/25/wordpress-categories-as-tags/

  4. Posted March 1, 2006 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Finally, someone that has cleared up my own confusion and use of tags. I knew that tags and categories were different but I could not put it to words. Now I am thinking about how I approach tags and categories on my site. Thanks.

  5. Posted March 2, 2006 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    What is the first division you make when creating a category? by topic, by format…? I found your bookmarks on RawSugar but it dosn’t use Categories… personaly I like to have tags and categories but only if mantained! …and that’s a problem =) that’s where tags come to the rescue.
    Clustering or hierachical categories, we should know how to use as it’s the same as folders, but I still wonder what the best technique is. I would love to hear how you proceed.
    I found a good article here: http://wiki.osafoundation.org/bin/view/Journal/HierarchyVersusFacetsVersusTags
    Tagging does depend on our mood…

  6. Posted March 2, 2006 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The bookmark list on RawSugar wasn’t created by me so I don’t know how they sorted the links.

    I have an article coming out in a few days about how I create categories and choose tags, so stay tuned.

    And tagging should not depend upon mood but facts. If you are writing about WordPress Plugins, then clearly adding a tag for “fun” isn’t going to do anyone much value. Tags must match content in order for them to have any value.

    Again, think of categories as a table of contents and the tags as your index page words. That is the simplest way to proceed, but stay tuned for more.

  7. Posted March 4, 2006 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    The wordpress.com decision to make categories double up as tags was just a way of jumping on the tagging bandwagon without actually bothering to construct a proper architecture for it. It’s a lazy implementation which now cannot be rectified without causing an even bigger mess. :(

  8. Posted March 5, 2006 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    I just simply don’t agree. Tags or “categories” (in the WordPress meaning of the word) are Just. The. Same. Thing.

  9. Posted August 6, 2006 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    ya got it ,
    Tags is kind of search tool..
    but categories more usfull to easy get one you want in small area “blog”
    browsing stuff as in google news , technorati , Flickr ..and the new projects like Google Code “opensource” projects Hosting..

    my thought about tags to control the flow of info . and get the right ones to the right place .

  10. Posted February 4, 2007 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index page of a book.
    Great analogy

  11. Posted February 11, 2007 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Dang! I made a wrong decision of completely ignoring the categories and went for tags instead. Now I have over 400 posts without a category and it goes without saying that I am facing problems. Is there a way I can convert tags into categories? because thinking of manually categorizing so many posts gives me the creeps. I am using Ultimate Tag Warrior. I’ll be immensely grateful if you could help :)

  12. Posted February 12, 2007 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Create your categories in the Manage > Categories Panel and then use something like Batch Categories WordPress Plugin to move posts into those new categories. I don’t know of a way to move tagged posts into categories, except manually, but you can ask in the UTW forum or WordPress Support Forum to see if someone would develop a Plugin to handle the transition.

    Let me know what you uncover.

  13. Posted May 9, 2007 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to expand my site to create other specific areas outside of my main blog (for instance a “movies” area, a “television” area etc). After some research, I think I’m clear that I need to use categories and possibly category templates to achieve a blog-within-a-blog feel. The problem is that I’ve already accumulated a ton of categories based on my article content. What happens to these when I create the higher level blog categories? Do they become sub-categories that I suppress? Does this throw off my permalink structure? If you could shed some light on this, I’d really be grateful.

  14. Posted May 10, 2007 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    If you change categories and have permalinks enabled with the category names as part of the permalinks, yes. You will screw things up. But that is easily fixed with redirects.

  15. Posted May 23, 2007 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the plugin Lorelle, this is going to make things a lot easier as I was going to manually add posts to different categories one by one, and that would have been one hell of a task. I had batch edit in my mind and I thought it must be an in-built WordPress feature, but after digging around the categories settings a little I found out it wasn’t there.. but anyways.

    Thanks again!

  16. Capri
    Posted July 29, 2007 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    My blog is new and I already can tell my tags are silly if seen through the tagging community. But my blog is my own myspace layouts and other myspace layout sites have to characterize what the layout is like if it’s blue, TV, actress, model, celebrity, pink, fantasy, sexy, etc. But this is only to help the visitors to find what they’re looking for. I only so far have two posts but are my tags done right or is there another way to have them as what they’re intended as, which is categories, instead of the way it is now? Thank you!

  17. Posted July 29, 2007 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Since you are using WordPress.com, your tags are your categories, unless you are manually adding them. They will be here soon as WordPress upgrades to tags, but right now, your tags are categories.

    Categorize your content. Stop thinking MySpace think or anything else. Think table of contents. Think how the reader will find the information they are looking for if they were looking though your categories as a table of contents.

    For more on this, see Tags and Tagging in WordPress.

  18. Capri
    Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! I rather have categories instead of tags. The only two tags I would have are MySpace and Layouts. But everything else I want as categories as you said providing a table of contents. Because having blue and pink as tags is silly.

  19. Posted July 29, 2007 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Categories need to be things people will search for, or see and know immediately that this is the information they are seeking. Unless your blog is totally about colors and their physiological and psychological impact on the brain, or something like that, then why bother using colors for categories? :D

  20. stampalex
    Posted September 14, 2007 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    Categories and Tags are completely different, with discreet uses… Categories describe the mature/topic/area-of-focus etc. of a set of posts (like the TOC analogy) and may contain sub-categories in a heirarchy strucure. Categories are not Meta data. Tags are Meta data and these should represent the ‘hidden’ keywords (in better systems would allow cross-reference to site meta data/categories/topics/specific posts to improve context) that search engines and the like would pick up on to direct someone to your site/category/post. I have just started using WordPress for a serious piece of business that I would like to start and now I find I may have made a mistake… Have an issue with not being able to embed a private weblog within a public weblog as well.

  21. Posted September 14, 2007 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Odd place to ask this question, if you are asking a question. You can create a blog within a blog within a blog, all using links to connect the blogs together. To create a private blog, follow the instructions within the Administration Panels to require a password for access.

    You can also make any blog post be private by designating it such from the Write Post Panel, giving it a password to restrict access.

    For questions such as these, please see the WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress Users, and the WordPress Support Forums for help.

  22. Posted November 10, 2007 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s an old post – but still a pretty useful explaination, so thanks!

    I was always a little confused by the multi-categories idea with WordPress, I categorized posts to make them more ‘intuative’ (so I thought) but because the permalinks tended to always include the Alphanumerically-first category, things sometimes didn’t make much sense.

    Since 2.3 arrived I’ve been going through my old posts and editing the unimportant categories into tags.

    Oh, and I also love your ‘Site Search Tags’ idea – makes it much more user-friendly.

  23. Posted November 11, 2007 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for clearing this up, Lorelle. I am a blogger that uses ExpressionEngine for my CMS, and I’m considering purchasing the Tag module now since I understand what tags do.

  24. moodrama
    Posted November 14, 2007 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    First of all, thanks for your grand contribution to the blogosphere (I do suspect you dislike that word, but hey).

    I was going through your post about Site Search Tags, and discovered that it was tagged with categories. This goes against wht you say here, doesn’t it?

    I see that ‘filed under’ in this post has links like http://wordpress.com/tag/wordpress-themes/. Why /tag/ when they refer to your categories as listed in your left menu?

    Maybe it has to do with wordpress not working correctly (as I could interpret from this post), and you decided to redirect /tag/ to /category/ under the hood. I don’t know, but I sure would like to know more about it. Hope you will explain this to us :)

    Thanks again,

    Mauricea

  25. Posted November 14, 2007 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    @moodrama:

    Who knows what often lurks in the minds of those in charge of WordPress.com. :D On the issue of tags and categories, I’m as confused and concerned about tags as anyone. When this article was written, tags were the great hope for micro-categorizing our content. Of course, they were abused, Technorati didn’t follow through on the promise of tags, and things fell down. Now, WordPress has added tags to their core programming, and tags appear to be semi-broken to me. A little late to the game, and I’m watching to see how they will next evolve.

    And nothing in my opinion has changed. I have always declared that tags that generated content from within the blog not without have greater value to the READER and the blogger than tags that take them off-site. So I’m not sure what you are seeing in conflict here.

    As for the redirect of the “categories” in the post meta data section of my blog posts, that is done by WordPress.com and I have no control over them. They do take the user off my blog, and I have protested since day one. This is why I continue to offer site search tags and will not use the new built-in tag feature in WordPress, as WordPress.com turns those tag links into WordPress.com tags, not my blog post tags.

  26. moodrama
    Posted November 14, 2007 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the quick reply! I guess that is one of a good bloggers charms :)

    But I am not quite sure what you mean by ‘They do take the user off my blog’. In version 2.3.1 (that I run) tag functionality seems to work just fine. If I click on one of the tags that are listed on my posts, they take me just where I want them.

    Love, Mo

  27. Posted November 14, 2007 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    @moodrama:

    If you are using the full version of WordPress, then you can control where the tag link goes. If you are blogging with WordPress.com, however WordPress.com sets the tag link is where the visitors goes, which in my case, is off my blog.

  28. Burton
    Posted November 21, 2007 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle (and everybody),

    I was looking for a way to use tags to provide individual feeds much like categories. I’m planning on setting up a central aggregator of acupuncture cases, and would like the individual tags (covering such details as the condition, treatment method, etc.) to be specified on the individual sites.

    Is there a plugin for this or a way to translate tags into categories on the fly?

    Thanks.

    Burton

  29. Posted November 21, 2007 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    @Burton:

    I’m not a fan of aggregators, especially those that do so without permission, so make sure you get permission in writing before you go forward.

    You can have a feed based upon tags or categories without anything special, so I’m not sure what you are asking for. I’ve listed how to link to these in WordCamp Israel WordPress Tips Talk.

    If you want something to automatically create a feed list, I’m not sure. I don’t work with aggregators so I’m not the right one to ask on this.

  30. Posted May 13, 2008 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I’ve been upgrading my recipe website and giving it an overhaul over the past week. I’ve never understood the difference between tags and categories and in fact thought that there was a movement to change from categories to tags. I’m glad I came across your post. You always enlighten me on whatever the topic. I love the description of “Table of Contents” and “Index” and I’ve decided that’s how I’m going to think of it on my site…even though it means undoing the damage I’ve done and ignoring how long it took to do it.

    Now if I could just find a decent WordPress plugin that allows me to see my posts by tag within my admin screen. ;)

  31. Posted June 16, 2008 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Why a useless, arbitrary distinction? Categories and tags serve the same purpose, and should have the same functionality. You should be able to nest tags inside each other hierarchically to organize things, and there should be no limitation on having only one parent category for another category. Why cripple functionality?

  32. Posted June 17, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    @ endolith:

    Categories and tags serve the same purpose but their usage, especially their usability, is very different. As for the hierarchical issue, tags currently have no parents or children in WordPress, something they are not likely to do, though having them as children under a specific category/parent is a great idea. It would make listing related posts and such much easier. However, currently, keeping them separate increases navigation functionality in the table of contents versus index words metaphor.

  33. Posted July 5, 2008 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    I’ve read your thoughts on tags vs categories here and I’m not quite sure if I’m following. So, for sake of my sanity..
    Let’s say I have a home and garden blog..
    And use Cooking as a category (broader subject) then perhaps my tags could be vegetarian, breakfast, and fish..
    That follows your suggestion, right?

    But I’m not quite sure what sort of category couldn’t be a tag. Essentially, couldn’t a blog simply only use tags and use tags for what would have been a category? I’m not really keen on having to use both tags and categories, and I just can’t see why categories can’t be listed as tags instead.

  34. Posted July 6, 2008 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    @ cole:

    That’s how it could work, unless you want subcategories in “Cooking” because you cover a lot of “core” subject matter within that category, making a collection of posts on vegetarian cooking become a body of work. Again, categories are your blog’s table of contents and tags are index words. It’s that simple.

    Categories are tags, if you are speaking about the importance of tags to Technorati and the very few others who embraced tags for search results. I’ve several blogs which I do not use tags. I have blogs with both. Think of your users’ needs not yours. If your site needs more integrated navigation, use tags. It’s simple and easy.

    This site needs tags for keyword navigation, which is why I add them manually to the bottom of my blog posts.

    • Posted May 1, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! I am a total newbie to this internet marketing and WordPress thing. I am trying to get my website up and going (YIKES!!!) and I am not a techie-maybe soon, though.. Anyway, I came across the part that gave me a blank space to insert “tags”….that found my “blank space”. TAGS – HUH? so, I hurried over here to find the definition of a “tag” in word press. My question entered in search was “What is a tag in wordpress posts?” First there was a loong article full of technical stuff explaining both “tags” and “categories. Not a simple answer. Now, asn hour later, I find this jewel: Categories are your blog’s table of contents and tags are your index words. Thank you – a clear, precise answer! (not full of big words and tech-talk) Sorry to put you through my rant and thank you for writing the article and thank you for your time.

    • Posted May 3, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      You are welcome. I understand how confusing this all is, but it really is simple.

  35. Posted September 14, 2008 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, appreciate you clarifying these differences. Would you possibly suggest some good categories for my blog. Are there tools out there that might suggest based on what’s already on the web? Thanks again.

  36. Erick
    Posted November 9, 2008 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    WordPress tags (inbuilt) are now just like Ultimate Tag Warrior stuff of the past.

  37. Posted November 9, 2008 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    @ Erick:

    Yes. That is correct.

  38. Milo
    Posted January 9, 2009 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Tags/categories, whatever. Be creative and different people can see or use it differently.

    Whoever thought that “Thyme” used by Egyptians for embalming are now widely used by the best chefs in the world as a herb for fine dining?

    You can define it whatever linear way you want, but people would find workarounds and use both of them in different ways. However; people should not abuse it by spamming tags…

  39. Posted February 8, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I realize this post is over 2 years old, but I just stumbled upon it. I had a blogger blog for over a year before I purchased my own domain name and upgraded to wordpress. Within wordpress 2.7 there is an option to import your blogger blog. I found it interesting that all of my “tags” in blogger, were automatically changed to categories in wordpress. I too, now have to go back through and change all my info. *sigh*

    • Posted February 8, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Tags in Blogger are a fairly new thing and not well handled by them. They are considered Categories in WordPress, and thus you do have a problem with those if you used Blogger labels as tags not categories. Remember that many people don’t understand the difference between tags and categories, thus abuse them. Hopefully, this is a chance to not only clean up your tags, but also your categories, streamlining them to help people clearly understand what you blog about and direct them towards related content.

  40. Posted March 27, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your extremely informative post which has cleared up some minor confusion on my end as well as many others over the years. Bravo and keep up the great work.

  41. Posted May 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index page of a book.

    THAT is the most useful sentence I’ve read on the subject. Thanks.

  42. Posted July 14, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I seconde Denise’s comment!

    By the way, I am looking for a way to have hierarchical tags in WordPress (not .com). Like this
    # CSS:font
    # IRI is /?tag=CSS and /?tag=CSS:font

    Any ideas? Thanks

  43. Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Tags, Categories, Keywords…. I know that there are probably over 1,000,000 explanations about what each are and how they differ to one another, I’ve only read a few. I don’t have a lot of time to read about the relevancy of each and how they work or why they are even used…..referring to tags here, do you have any suggestions on some reading materials that will give me the laymen terms definition and usage? I want to create a few video tutorials for my customers but either I’m just an idiot or there is so much contradicting info that it really is in fact confusing.

    Thanks in advance!

    Courtney

  44. Posted September 10, 2009 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    thanks for the information, keep up the good work

  45. Posted December 12, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    m really glad i read this post.i have had enough of this tagging for now n now will follow the way you have tagged your this post.:-)

  46. Posted January 2, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    “I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index page of a book.”

    Nice logic, I agree with you. Now that im moving my posts from Joomla to WordPress, I thought of reorganizing and making a new start.

    When I write something, Its category will be its main subject e.g. its a phpBB hassle, but a PHP after all, the caregory is phpBB and will make sure I tag PHP.

    However, sometimes, it happen that you have the same title for a tag and a category. e.g. within my PHP code i deal with SQL, then the post is in PHP category, while tagged with SQL, however, i already have SQL category in my blog, it just not the main subject of this post.

  47. Posted February 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Your tag analogy with the index page is what clinched it for me. Why don’t they just call the categories table of contents or chapters, and the tags indeces or keywords? If it’s not intuitive and requires one to look it up, then it’s wide open for interpretation by those who don’t like to ask for directions.

  48. Posted June 22, 2010 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    I’m new bee to wordpress. If I click on the tag then it goes to “http://en.wordpress.com”. can anyone tell me how to solve this..

    • Posted July 6, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Please ask such questions in the WordPress.com forums. When you click on the tag on your WordPress.com blog, it is doing what it is supposed to do, link to others with similar tagged content.

  49. Posted July 4, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    This isn’t such a simple discussion. Conceptually some of you are right:

    categories = table of contents
    tags = index of terms

    The problem is that I’m trying to build a decent URL structure for posts but the inability of WordPress to provide some measure of precision creates compromises. If you have subcategories, all your posts will have nested categories and your URLs will be over 80 characters long (cat/subcat/subcat../postname). Given that WordPress supposedly can use tags, some people might use those as “table of contents” for quick leaving to categories via a URL. So while I’m all in favor of what was said before of how to think of tags, there is also the question of functionality to compensate that may change what is important to you.

  50. Jim
    Posted August 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    As a newbie to wordpress I found the tag idea confusing. Do they mean keywords? If not what are they? Why can’t you enter keywords and short description of your post for use in the metatags? If there is a way how?

    • Posted August 5, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Please see Tags and Tagging in WordPress. Categories are your table of contents, and tags are your index words. Metatags are no longer supported nor indexed by search engines, thus are a waste of time. If you have to find an analogy, tags are keywords.

  51. andrewgould
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    So clearly explained… and just what I needed as someone new to blogging seriously on WordPress.com. Thanks!

  52. Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you thank you thank you! Table of contents = categories, Index page = Tags! Finally a metaphor I can understand, remember, and USE! YAY!


96 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Lorelle is getting a little vexed about the the precise semantics of and usage of tags and categories. [...]

  2. [...] My friend Lorelle has a great post titled Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? and she states “I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index page of a book.” which is a great way to think of tags and also a great way to use tags. Because when I want to find something ’specific’ I go to the index of a book – which explains why I have created my own Social Bookmarking tool. [...]

  3. [...] There has been a lot of talk about the differences and similarities between categories and tags, and how to implement their use. I’d like to talk about the process of choosing categories for your posts. [...]

  4. [...] Lorelle on WordPress » Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? (tags: wordpress tags 2do) [...]

  5. [...] Lorelle have this to say in her entry: Tags Are Not Categories – Got It?: Tags need to be clearly defined as distinctive from categories. I’m very selective about my category choices. I have only recently added a few more specific categories, which I will discuss soon, because my content topics have now expanded beyond my core four categories. [...]

  6. [...] Kalo dari http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ di bilangin bahwa (gw terjemahin sebaik mungkin) [...]

  7. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  8. [...] The epiphany arrived for me when I realized just how flexibly I could identify almost any of my posts using tags.  In the post on Lorelle on WordPress entitled Tags are not Categories – Got It? Lorelle describes some of the undesirable effects of confusing the two.  Some of the problems exist at the practical level of handling layout issues.  The proliferation of categories (if they’re mistakenly used instead of tags) will create a fiasco of a sidebar navigation panel with so many, finely grained, or insubstantial categories that it is of no use to a reader.  On the level of meta-data, tags are supposed to offer another angle of approach to finding something on the web.  If there are too many tags then a tag-cloud becomes so large and the elements of it so specific that they offer very little guidance to the desired content.  User defined tags and content provider defined tags can result in very different pictures of content and the inter-relationships in within it. [...]

  9. [...] Lorelle is getting a little vexed about the the precise semantics and usage of tags and categories. [...]

  10. [...] Update: 23Oct06 I was searching over the web for good tag related comments to see what other kind of filth I could attract with my experiment and ran across Lorelle’s comments on Tagging . Basically, it was agreed upon earlier in the year that Tags are not categories, but meta-data. I couldn’t agree more myself. Tags of today are like the meta-keywords of HTML past. [...]

  11. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  12. [...] I recommend the use of both ways for structuring your posts because categories are not the same as tags. [...]

  13. [...] categories. In this scenario categories divide content the traditional way and tags spice it a bit. Lorelle explains it an excellent way: I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index [...]

  14. [...] δίνουν ένα παραπάνω χαρακτηριστικό στο περιεχόμενο. Η Lorelle το εξηγεί πάρα πολύ καλά: Σκέπτομαι τις κατηγορίες ως [...]

  15. [...] beyond the reasons listed here, there are other issues with using categories in lieu of tags: As tagging has grown, it gets harder and harder to use [...]

  16. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  17. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  18. [...] very pleased with it. While I was searching for a tag plug in, I was surprised to see a lot of discussion around the difference between tags and categories. I don’t disagree with what’s been [...]

  19. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  20. [...] tagurile sunt un fel de etichete, deci mult mai individuale decat categoriile, Lorelle avea un post dragut pe tema asta (engleza). Tagurile au diferite moduri de adaugare a lor, au casete speciale, ori se [...]

  21. [...] tagurile sunt un fel de etichete, deci mult mai individuale decat categoriile, Lorelle avea un post dragut pe tema asta (engleza). Tagurile au diferite moduri de adaugare a lor, au casete speciale, ori se [...]

  22. [...] through the discussions on categories vs tags from the WordPress community is refreshing to see usage disparities. Flexibility is needed. In short, since categories can be tags, so can tags be categories. Down to [...]

  23. [...] – Lorelle on WordPress, Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  24. [...] δίνουν ένα παραπάνω χαρακτηριστικό στο περιεχόμενο. Η Lorelle το εξηγεί πάρα πολύ καλά: Σκέπτομαι τις κατηγορίες ως [...]

  25. [...] created for WordPress 2.3. One of those things would be the Tag Managing Thing. It made managing Tags and Categories for WordPress 2.3 a whole lot easier, what with the new “taxonomy” thing still being [...]

  26. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  27. [...] WP mavens such as Lorelle at this point are turning white as a sheet. The mantra has always been, Tags Are Not Categories. But the benefits of ignoring the dogma were awesome; my blog’s categories were automatically [...]

  28. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  29. [...] has a good post about tags and categories. I invite you to read it carefully, before to start in filling your blog with tags. May be the wild [...]

  30. [...] of wordpress’ post about the difference between categories and tags. Lorelle weighs in with a more detailed explanation and related links. [...]

  31. [...] the version 2.3 announcement. For more details about categories and tags see this apt blog entry: Tags Are Not Categories – Got It?. These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web [...]

  32. [...] are folder-like. Tags cut across folders. You might have a need to assign both sets of descriptors. Here Technorati Tags: test [...]

  33. [...] For the curious amongst my fellow geeks, Lorelle has explained it all. Categories versus Tags – What’s the Difference and Which One? Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  34. [...] Explainer: What the hell is the difference between a tag and a category? [...]

  35. [...] einsetze. Ich habe einen ganzen Haufen Kategorien, die ja eigentlich TAGs sein sollten, wie mal wer behauptet hat. Jetzt könnte ich natürlich alle Posts überarbeiten, aber [...]

  36. [...] Esta es una traducción de un excelente post de Carthik Sharma que comenta Lorelle. [...]

  37. [...] 2.3 ואיתו גם התמיכה בתגיות בנוסף לתמיכה בקטגוריות. לורל כתבה פעם שתגיות הן לא קטגוריות ואני אפילו מוכן לקבל את זה [...]

  38. [...] not used the tags feature because I didn’t really understand the difference before I read this: Categories can be tags, sure, but not all categories are tags, and not all tags should be [...]

  39. [...] diese Bibliothek mit den von mir inzwischen hauptschlich verwendeten Tags funktioniert, musste ich kleine nderungen am Code der wordpresslib-Bibliothek machen (long lives [...]

  40. [...] oder Tag. Häufig nutzen Blogger nur eine der Varianten und schöpfen dadurch nicht die Möglichkeiten dieser beiden Konzepte [...]

  41. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  42. [...] deixo per a la classe de dimecres. No me’n vaig, però, sense afegir una entrada sobre el tema “etiquetes versus categories” i, com no, recomanar-vos la lectura de l’entrada “Folcsonomia i això què és?” de la [...]

  43. [...] tags are not categories [...]

  44. [...] on WordPress: Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? « Carnival of the Blue #21: The Oyster’s [...]

  45. [...] tagurile sunt un fel de etichete, deci mult mai individuale decat categoriile, Lorelle avea un post dragut pe tema asta (engleza). Tagurile au diferite moduri de adaugare a lor, au casete speciale, ori se [...]

  46. [...] Article Source Posted in Tags [...]

  47. [...] are to blogs as keywords are to the keyword meta tag in html pages. Check out this Article Source for further insight on the issue. Posted in [...]

  48. [...] Lorelle summed all this up most succinctly: “I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index page of a book.” Or as Carthik Sharma said, “Categories are like the huge signs you see on aisles in supermarkets – ‘Food’, ‘Hygiene’, ‘Frozen’ etc, they guide you to sections where you can find what you are looking for. Tags are like the labels on the products themselves.” [...]

  49. [...] enables your posts to be indexed by services like technorati.  Tags are not to be confused with categories and but, if you are using the Related Articles plugin, then tags provide a huge bonus to connecting [...]

  50. [...] watching the Devils defeat the Canes and Red Wings defeat the Blue Jackets I changed some of my categories to tags and started the long process of using tags on some of the near 700 posts I still have online. It [...]

  51. [...] January 5, 2008 at 03:30 (Blogging) What is a tag and what is a category? And what isnt? http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ [...]

  52. [...] Lorelle on WordPress: Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  53. [...] on Sue at Blog Mum’s post about the difference between tags and categories. She quotes Lorelle: “I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index page of a book.” [...]

  54. [...] now and I just finished cleaning up the Categories (it was a such a mess, after I found the “proper” way to setup tags and categories I just had to fix them), tomorrow will be dedicated to [...]

  55. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? « Lorelle on WordPress Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  56. [...] time trying to figure out what the difference between categories and tags was. And my search has yielded [...]

  57. [...] Lorelle summed all this up most succinctly: “I think of categories as a table of contents and tags as the index page of a book.” Or as Carthik Sharma said, “Categories are like the huge signs you see on aisles in supermarkets – ‘Food’, ‘Hygiene’, ‘Frozen’ etc, they guide you to sections where you can find what you are looking for. Tags are like the labels on the products themselves.” [...]

  58. [...] in a more ore less helpful order. Got some interesting help from two articles, I found on the web: A + B. Anyway, this is not totally done and not every post is being new categorized. Posts that are [...]

  59. [...] Lorelle on WordPress: “Tags are  not categories – Got it?” Tags: category, tag, WordPress Comment (RSS)  |  Trackback  |  Print this post [...]

  60. [...] also supports labels, which is helpful for those of you adament about the difference between labels and categories (I think it’s symantics, but to each their own I [...]

  61. [...] How to Use Tags [...]

  62. [...] One definition of tags and how and why we use them. [...]

  63. [...] Blogging and Tags on January 5th, 2010 I came across this blog in a little bit of serindipity following a link about tagging.  Tags are NOT Categories, GET IT?? [...]

  64. [...] http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ [...]

  65. [...] had to make a few decisions on what to tag, and what tags to create. First, the primary focus of the site (see Site Focus [...]

  66. [...] wrote that she prefers to use a very limited number of categories so she would never have a list of categories and sub-categories in blogs she manages  like the one [...]

  67. [...] Tags: cakes,  desserts, pineapple, pineapple upside down cake. For a deeper understanding here is a synopsis of the similarities and differences between tags and categories provided by Lorelle in Categories versus Tags: What’s the Difference? and in Categories are not tags: Got it? [...]

  68. [...] 6 罗瑞利 《分类不是标签,懂吗!》(英文) http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ [...]

  69. [...] 6 罗瑞利 《分类不是标签,懂吗!》(英文) http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ [...]

  70. [...] 6 罗瑞利 《分类不是标签,懂吗!》(英文) http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ [...]

  71. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  72. [...] Tags: What’s the Difference and Which One Do You Use?, The Problems With Tags and Tagging, Tags Are Not Categories – Got It?, Putting Some Thought Into Blog Categories and Tags, Keywords Versus Tags, Tags and Tagging in [...]

  73. [...] 罗瑞利 《分类不是标签,懂吗!》(英文) http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ 罗瑞利 《分类对比标签——有什么区别?选哪个?》(英文) [...]

  74. [...] How to Use Tags [...]

  75. [...] remember though that tags are not categories and categories are not tags. It’s important to use them correctly: “Categories organize, hierarchically….Tags [...]

  76. [...] For a general discussion see “What Are WordPress Tags and Why USe Them.” “Tags Are Not Categories — Got It?” considers the differences between tags and categories and provides additional [...]

  77. [...] Need more explanation: Tags Are Not Categories – Got It?http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ [...]

  78. [...] 6 罗瑞利 《分类不是标签,懂吗!》(英文) http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/01/tags-are-not-categories-got-it/ [...]

  79. [...] 4.  Though search engines treat Tags/categories the same way, for a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between tags and categories by Lorelle read Categories versus Tags: What’s the Difference? and in Categories are not tags: Got it? [...]

  80. [...] Tags are not categories. [...]

  81. [...] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? [...]

  82. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  83. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  84. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  85. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  86. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  87. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  88. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  89. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  90. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  91. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  92. […] Categories which link to “categorized” posts on your WordPress blog increase navigation on your site. They help the visitor find related content and move around from one group topic to another. I think of categories as a table of contents for your blog and tags as the index. […]

  93. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  94. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  95. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? […]

  96. […] Tags Are Not Categories – Got It? – Lorelle on WordPress […]

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