First, why am I writing about tags? Well I was reviewing a blog and wanted to see what else the artist had written on specific topics. However the content of her archive is not easily accessible - because it had not been tagged / labelled / categorised.
So what is a "tag"? Essentially it's a word which is used to describe accurately the content of a blog post. It's also known as a label (in Blogger) and some people call it a category (as I do). Terminology tends to vary depending on the blogging software employed.
This is how wikipedia defines a tag
In online computer systems terminology, a tag is a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information (such as an Internet bookmark, digital image, or computer file). This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. Tags are generally chosen informally and personally by the item's creator or by its viewer, depending on the system.
Wikipedia - Tag (metadata)
sepia pen and ink (5.75" x 4")
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Ten top reasons to use tags on your blog
Use the labels/tags function on a Blogger blog - they are very powerful in getting rankings in Google searches (see this post). Those who use tags which they know are popular but don't deliver content that reflects this are penalized.
- Improve your blog's ranking in Google by using tags which accurately reflect the content of a post
- Focus on the keywords you want associated with your artwork/writing by identifying an appropriate tag(s). Many is the time I've gone back and redrafted a post after I got to the tagging stage and realised the emphasis of the post was not what I had originally intended
- Create signposts which help people to access your archives through the use of tags. Your archive of blog posts remain completely inaccessible in topic terms if there's no way of describing what you have already written about. Much of what artists write about is time independent and consequently remains relevant and of interest long after the post is written.
- Increase your traffic through the use of tags - they provide an alternative way to find your blog. Making A Mark gets a huge amount of traffic from people accessing my five years of archives - which equates to in excess of 1,700 posts - many of which continue to be accessed on a regular basis.
- Help people on the internet who are searching for information by using tags. Once you've written enough on a specific topic (with a tag) this content can actually crop up in browser search results (ie the browser returns the tag for the topic rather than a specific blog post)
- Help visitors to your blog to see what else you've written on a topic. I find that tags provide a character profile for a blog and the blogger. If a visitor likes how the tags describe what is the focus of your blog from your tags then it's more likely that he or she will linger and look at more posts and/or may also subscribe or return again
- Identify appropriate other posts for widgets like Link Within. Tags help with prompting more relevant posts for the widget - which in turn helps with engagement with your blog.
- Tags are helpful to targeting any adverts you may run on your blog
- Tags help YOU find previous posts you've written on a topic. So, for example, I put "tags" into the Google search in the right hand column and they helped to identify all the previous posts on this topic. This makes it particularly useful for people like me who can no longer remember everything they've ever written on this blog! It was quite a shock to see it's been over three years since I last wrote about tags!
- Tags can help you to reflect on what you write about on your blog. You can see by the wordcloud for my tags at the bottom of the right hand column (where it says "CLICK a link and browse the Categories") what are the most frequent topics on this blog. I began to realise the value of tags at a personal level after I only began to realise the extent of my own interest in certain topics after realising how often I've written about these specific topics.
Here's a link to previous posts I've written on this topic:
- Why it's a good idea to use labels in Blogger (September 2007) - this is a very practical post about what to think about and do if you start using tags
- How to improve your art blog (September 2007) - identifies tagging blog posts as one of the best ways to improve your blog.
- New Blogger Update #3: Labels in Blogger (January 2007) includes more practical tips