Query/Poll: How do you naviagte? (or Tags in Blogs)

Anyone who is here reads blogs (at least one) and some of you also write your own blogs.  I am curious about the use of tags in blogging.

It seems to me that the main point of tags in blogging is to drive page hits, up a blogs interaction with search engines, and generally drive traffic to a blog.

It does not seem to me from the blogs that i read or use in research that tags are particularly useful as navigational tools within a blog.  I believe this holds true for regular as well as new readers, but these are just my impressions.  It is also conceivable that tags could be useful for navigation on a complex or poorly organized blog as well.

So far, i am not using tags.  I am using categories and i believe that is working well for now, and i think that the structures i am building will work well into the future (granted that i do still need some re-writing/re-design on my static pages).

What have your experiences been? What do you think?  Do you use tags on your blog(s)?  If so, why (driving publicity, navigation, organization)?  Do you use tags to navigate blogs you visit?  Have you wished there were tags on my blog?  Would it be helpful to you if there were tags here?  Do you want to see tags here  Do you not care about this subject in the slightest?

Any and all feedback will be welcome and appreciated!


Thrashin' up France



6 thoughts on “Query/Poll: How do you naviagte? (or Tags in Blogs)”

  1. As a reader and writer I don’t use tags. But I’m quite the philistine when it comes to the web. I blithely do it my uninformed way until someone like you comes along and makes me think a bit. So a month ago I had a google reader that I never utilized, and now I use it every day. Although I am reading every entry here at your blog, the tabs at the top of your page for categories are very appealing to me. They certainly make sense. Since my readership is very small and mostly people I’m friends with I haven’t given much thought to the reader who stumbles upon the blog. Actually, I haven’t given much thought to what I’m doing with the blog period. You are clearly a planner, and much more orderly. Personally, I find many tags people use unhelpful and annoying. But it might serve a pretty utilitarian purpose if I go back and use really straightforward tags like “parenting” “miscarriage” “relationships” “family”. Wooh, this got a bit rambley. Not sure if there is anything helpful in here, but thanks for making me think.

  2. Shocking, I’m with Karen. 🙂 Yup, I didn’t use them at all until recently, and then only as my own organizational tool. But I think you’re spot on with your thoughts about what their purpose is, particularly within wordpress. It seems that the tags is what generates the “similar posts” links, etc.

  3. I am with both of you two ladies. Thanks for sharing. Now we need to find someone who actually uses those things to see what the appeal is (if there is one aside from generating traffic)…

    Karen i started a longer offline reply to you 11 days ago – and i got side tracked. It is in a digital pile of stuff to finish to share with Karen.

  4. I usually put 5 tags per post, and a lot of times they are not serious. Check out Acid Sweat Lodge – I love getting lost in the tags like a maze of nonsense. That’s why I use them, to weave more nonsense into my nonsense.

  5. I find tags particularly useful when I discover a new blog and want to read back posts on a particular topic. Tags don’t make much sense to you until you have hundreds of posts. Then, all of a sudden, you realize how valuable they are and you have to go back and tag everything. I’ve “retagged” my blogs twice now as my priorities and categories shifted. Important tags one year seem less important in another year, and that tag will get sucked into a larger category. For example, the first year I blogged, I wrote a lot about the use of Avatars in online classes, so “Avatars” was a tag. Since then, I’ve moved on to write about lots of communication tools, so now “Avatars” has been sucked up into the label “Communication Tools” New readers can be overwhelmed by the 600+ posts, so with tags, they can just dip into a single category of older material. Also, as I look to compile a book from my many writings, the categories are EXTREMELY helpful to me – think tag = chapter.

  6. Interesting stuff from two taggers, and i can see both of their perspectives.

    I may have to begin experimenting with it to see what works. I dig Maria’s point about “tag=chapter” (for future book oriented uses) but i do not yet see that concept providing a distinction between “tags” and “categories”. It is not important that there be a distinction – i am not sure if there really is one.

    The biggest downside to me about tags as i have seen them used in practice is the giant weird-ass modern art looking field of word salad in sidebars. I would like to avoid having one of those as they tend make me see chaos rather than order – order being what i am searching for in any organizational system.

    I did think the other day that i probably do not have enough categories, which lead me to recognize that i already do have a lot of categories, and soon, the list of categories will become less useful (to others if not to me as well) than it has been so far.

    I recall that there does seem to be a way to do nested categories and as a fan of folder trees, that could be useful and appealing to my brain – but you have to set up the proper hierarchy. Does “India” go under/inside “Travel” – well i lived there so probably not, and lots of the stuff in “India” does not really have anything to do with “Travel”. I can sort this out and i did create several structures in my head on the last dog walk, but it does seem that there are no easy answers. It also seems like a combination of categories, nested categories, and tags will be the best at the end of the day.

    I will be tempted to keep the tags hidden so that only i can see them for my own purposes, but i would not want to limit the search capabilities for someone whose brain works differently than mine. But i would have to have a button or a link to a Tags page or something. If i have to see that word salad image – then i aint using them no matter how much utility they might provide…

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