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How Important are Blog Categories?

Paul Chaney asks if Categories are important to a blog?

‘How important are categories when it comes to blogging? For example, popular blog platform Blogger doesn’t even offer them, something I think is a flaw in their design.

In my opinion, categories are very important and for a number of reasons. First of all,

they’re useful to the reader. Categories serve as the means of navigation on a blog.

Secondly, they are important from a search engine standpoint. Technorati.com uses a folksonomy called “tags” for organizing the way it returns search queries. The site looks at blog categories as tags. Without categories, you’ll have to use a special piece of HTML code – which you may wish to use anyway – for tagging purposes….’

So how important are categories to your blogging strategy?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Reimer says:

    I started with only drei categories and now, after 500 entries in my blog, I know that I should start with more. But now it is too late to add categories to each entry :(

  2. Smart Money says:

    Categories are important to me. I have my site set up to track clicks on the category pages, therefore I can know what my readers are looking for and adjust content and products to their taste. If you’re publishing for $$ this kind of feedback is essential.

  3. Sean says:

    Have actualy stopped using categories as they are too rigid for me – now I tag each post with whatever keywords I feel fit it best and then allow posts to be conected through those keywords. It takes more blogging technical know-how to set up but I think this offers much more to both readers and to blog writters than traditional categories do. (Also, one can track visits to these keywords just as well as they can track categories)

  4. David says:

    I think post keywords are probably better than categories, but would die without having my posts seperated somehow. I have a friend that posts everything into one super category known as General. It drives me nuts for some reason. To find any specific post, I am stuck using search…

  5. Tim Yang says:

    Categories are useless for blogs because our lexicon keeps changing, we keep changing and our blogs keep changing all the time — tags are more flexible and context sensitive and better suited for websites like blogs that get updated constantly.

    See Categories are useless for blogs.

  6. Satish Talim says:

    Blogger has no categories. I wish they give this in the near future, but then what all should one expect from a free service?

  7. Vix says:

    I disagree that categories are useless. They serve good purpose in separating content so that you don’t have all entries in the catch-all “general” category. Though Tim Yang has some good points about how the nature of blogging would make certain categories obsolete. I say leave them as archives even if they have a few entries as they reflect the views and opinions of the times.

    I like the combination of categories and tags. Categories for the main subject, tags to classify further just what the topic is about.

  8. Frank Steele says:

    I disagree with Tim Yang. He’s right where general purpose weblogs are concerned, but for targeted weblogs, categories can be a very good thing.
    I run a bicyle racing weblog, and use categories for each rider I’m tracking, for major races, and for more standard category fodder: “photo galleries”, for instance.
    This helps me drive quite a bit of traffic, because my weblog category pages for each rider tend to rank quite highly with people searching for particular riders: for a rider with lots of entries, my category page becomes essentially a dedicated weblog on that rider.

  9. Categories are a great idea to organize your posts and very essential to get readers content they might be intested in at one place. I wish so much Blogger would introduce categories soon.

  10. stefano says:

    For me either categories and tags are useful and have a distinct roles on my DigitalDivide blog.

    The categories fill the needs of “general sections” while the tags, more like keywords, identify the content of each post more accurately and assure that the post will be indexed in the right palce by technoraty, feedster and so on.

  11. Matteo says:

    I aggree with what stefano said, but probably tags are innovative becuase in a small scale we cannot make a sort of taxonomy.. like using a lot of categories…
    We can have only tags and a virtual small world without classification…
    And tags are a way to navigate “horizzontally” between contents in the site…
    It can be useful, but it has a lot of limits…
    Using a lot of tags we need a way to organize them… and compare them…
    that’s the point: and that’s is the direction of Semantic Web initiative…

    A good point for start it’s this

  12. Ramki says:

    IMO, Categories are very important. Look at it from a visitor point of view. How easy would it be for someone to find posts if they are set in a hierarchial category rather than getting lost in the blog?

    Blogs are less usable, navigation-wise, compared to a standard website and therefore it must be made easy to access and read to visitors

Trackbacks

  1. [...] esti limiti e a porvi rimedio… Anche digital-divide ne discute, tra l’altro: Darren Rowse si chiede, in un post di qualche giorno fa, quanto [...]

  2. [...] There is some debate on the utility of categories. Of course, having categories will allow you to see which categs are more read than others – this is good for $$$ purposes. Others just file them so that their readers will be able to sift through content faster. [...]