Categories & Tags: Advice for New Bloggers

The WordPress Discover prompt for today is BELOW.

If you look BELOW every WordPress post, you’ll see a list of words: the categories and tags the blogger has chosen to describe the subject matter of their post. WordPress allows us to use up to fifteen of these on each post, so choose them wisely. WordPress says these multi-tagged posts will automatically be sent to SPAM.

Some bloggers seem to think “the more the better” and plaster oodles of tags on their posts — a lot of them worthless for actually finding the post. This is like coming to a beach party in tux and tails, gold cuff-links and a flashy silk tie. Too much is overkill. Go home and change.


Back when WordPress had their First Friday feature, I’d drop in now and then to meet and greet some new bloggers. Since they were learning the ropes and open to a little guidance, I often left this advice about categories and tags. I’ll publish it here in case some new bloggers are reading this; maybe some long-time bloggers who haven’t bothered much with C’s & T’s can benefit, too.

The purpose of Categories and Tags is two-fold:
— Primarily, they help other people to find your posts
— Secondly, they become, over time, your blog’s filing system

When it comes to choosing those fifteen C’s & T’s, my first question is:
When was the last time you searched cyberspace for “MY AUNT?” Or “NOTES”? Or PETER?

Does anyone else in the world care about MY AUNT or my NOTES or some generic PETER? You might get posts about some famous performer, or the Apostle Peter, but otherwise…

Categories & Tags are very useful creatures. New bloggers can create them when they publish each post, using the sidebar on the right. For those of us who’ve been around the block a few times, we already have a list to pick from, and can add others.

Tagging our posts is how we invite other bloggers to check out what we’ve written. For example, if I add an ARTICLE or EDUCATION tag for my post, it will send my post title and a couple of lines to the Reader. Other bloggers searching for posts on Articles or Education will see mine listed and hopefully come and read what I’ve written.

C’s & T’s & TITLES: Working Together

Choose clear, catchy post titles. Are you going to be interested in a post titled “AUNT LINDA’S IDEA ABOUT WHAT HER FRIEND NEEDS” and goes on to say: “Yesterday my Aunt Linda stopped in for a brief visit and she said we should check up on…”?

But if a parent sees a title like “WORKABLE IDEAS FOR HOME-SCHOOLING” and the opening line reads, “It’s a real challenge for parents who find themselves with several children to teach at home, but I’ve found a few things that may help…” they’ll very likely want to read more.


Some bloggers use C’s and T’s; some may use only one or the other. It’s up to you. Both go to the Reader. However, categories and tags also become, over time, your blog’s filing system. I wish I’d understood better how they work when I started blogging. In fact, after a few years I started a brand new site and slowly reposted all my writing so I could use suitable categories and tags for each item.

I use CATEGORIES as the drawers of my “filing cabinet.” The C’s you see in the Menu below my Header, like Poetry, Fiction, Books. My tags are like files within the drawer. Under Poetry you’ll see tags like: Nature, Seasons, Home, Inspiration, etc. Under the Fiction category you’ll find tags like Stories, Children, Family, etc

Among the Widgets there is one bloggers can install that puts a list of Categories on your blog’s front page, or you can create a visible Menu of them as I’ve done. Or you can display them in your sidebar. Another option is to install the widget that gives you a Tag Cloud. You can choose how many tags will display.

To each his own, but in my opinion it’s better to limit the number displayed, or choose “Display as a drop-down list,” rather than having a list of seventy-five tags running down the Home Page sidebar. Generally speaking, try to make things as simple as possible for your visitors. I’ve stopped to have a look at some sites, but they were so cluttered I just left again.

Be selective when choosing C’s & T’s. Pick something pertinent to your post, topics people are actually going to be looking for. “Aunt Sue” may be an intriguing person, but not a very compelling tag for someone who doesn’t even know who YOU are. Ditto with Flowers or My trip. Titling your post Cheap Vacation Spots and tagging it Travel, Adventure, River rafting, Timbuktu adventure would be far more apt to draw visitors than simply Vacation. The specific English language tag will draw readers more than the general Grammar. Here’s a good place to go for more ideas on what C’s and T’s to use:


The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is SHAMBLES, and this describes the hodge-podge that goes into Uncategorized. Uncategorized is the default setting that comes with every new blog. It tells no one anything about your post.

I consider this the waste of a perfectly good tag. Like dropping a luscious ice cream cone in a puddle. My advice: get rid of it.

A blogger can change their default by going to the left hand sidebar and selecting Settings. Next you see a screen where, across the center at top are four words: General, Writing, Discussion, Traffic. Click on Writing

The first line under writing is for Categories. You’ll see how many you have and what the Default is. Click on the arrow at right. Now you get to add more categories and also change the default to something that better suits your blog’s general theme. If there’s a Save Changes button somewhere on the screen, hit it. You should be good to go.

I’ve chosen Reflections as my default, because most of my posts are of a reflective nature. If you’re a poet, choose POETRY. If you like giving your thoughts on this and that, choose OPINIONS. If your choice doesn’t suit a particular post, you can click the check mark on the Default to take it off that particular post.

And now I shall choose for this post as many pertinent categories and tags as possible, and hit publish. 🙂

Sampling the Offerings

According to Merriam-Webster, to PERUSE means to go over and mentally take in the content of something. Well, I’ve been perusing various posts this morning and have discovered some new and delectable choices on the internet buffet. I thought you might like to peruse them, too, if you haven’t already.

An excellent article:
In his latest post, John Pavlovitz says a lot about what is really important during this time of physical distancing. Though we’re all waiting out this quarantine, don’t miss out on the joys of today. Do take a moment to pop over and read his article HERE.

National Poetry Month:
A couple of important writing prompts have been announced. National Poetry Month starts today. For a touch of home and romance, you can read S. Thomas Summers’ verse, A Kiss, here.

A New Month-Long Prompt from WP:
A few days ago Ben Huberman from WordPress announced that they would be offering writing prompt words all through the month of April — possibly for the sake of those who are isolated at home with not much to do.  More info HERE. The first word is up now and it follows the April 1st theme: JOKE.

And there’s always Friday Fictioneers and the Ragtag Daily Prompt. In case you are sitting at home and need something to keep busy with. I noticed when the snow all melted that our yard needs a good clean-up. 🙂

A New Blog for Word Fans

As you will all realize by now, I enjoy poetry…and quotes…and idioms…and WORDS in general. When I was invited to join the Ragtag Community and provide the Sunday morning prompt, I was delighted. “Over the moon,” as they say in England.

I immediately began to collect a list of words, some ordinary, some obscure, from various quotes, poems, and writings. my list grew until I realized it would take several years of Sundays to post all these words. So I’ve decided to re-purpose my dormant poetry blog and dedicate it to the exploration of words that intrigue me.

Fr.Title.Sleeping Cat

I’ve given it a new name, WORD BUDS and a new tag line,“A choice blend of fine words and phrases to inspire you.”

For the rest of this year I’ll post words along with the brief verse or quote I’ve taken it from and maybe something about the word’s origins. Sundays I’ll post the Ragtag Daily Prompt there as well. I’m doing this for my own enjoyment, but if you love words like I do, you may want to check it out.

Since I’ve reworked Swallow in the Wind, a blog once dedicated to Quotes, Anecdotes, and Nature Notes, you’ll find a lot of these in the ARCHIVES from June 2012 to Jan 2015. As time goes on, I’ll probably post a few more now and then.

As I’m doing now with the RAGTAG DAILY PROMPT, I plan to cross-post the word only, with the link, here as well. (Did you know cross-post is actually a dictionary word?)

Click here to view the site. I’m making this a temporary venture; at the end of the year I’ll decide whether to continue. Life is full of changes, but I think I have enough words to post for a good while. 🙂

Celebrating 2600

Hi everyone! I’m starting out this morning with a celebration in honor of the fact that 2600 people have clicked the FOLLOW button on this blog. That number surely calls for some revelry!

                   Photo credit:  Hilke Fromm —  Pixabay

I was planning to do something big for 2500, but that milestone somehow slipped by, so I’ll throw the party for this one.

Does this number mean that 2600 people are reading my blog? I doubt it. Some folks seem to do a FOLLOW as a way of advertising their own product or service. They click the button once, but I get no indication that they ever visit again. However, I am thankful for all of you who READ, LIKE, COMMENT on my posts and generally interact.

Here’s a quote I found on GoodReads that inspires me today:

“Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it. Shake things up today! Be You…Be Free…Share.”

Steve Maraboli, from his book
Life, the Truth, and Being Free

My Cave of Misc

The Daily Addictions word for today is CAVE.

Dmitry Abramov — Pixabay

This brings to mind the story of Ali Baba and the Forty thieves. The brave young Ali Baba dared to speak the password, “Open Sesame,” and explore the cave. What he discovered was a stash of hidden treasure.

I have two different caves, one being the spare bedroom that I’ve appropriated for my sewing space. I’ve been working at cleaning that up. The other is right here at my desk. But rather than treasure, you’ll find half a lifetime of saved scribbles, loose and in cheap coil notebooks, that need to be gone through.

Cluttered desk
Ali Baba would have given up in despair.

This reminds me of an account I once read, the confession of a none-too-neat homemaker. She finally saw the light one day when she arrived home from some outing to find a police car in her driveway. An officer met her outside her door to explain the situation:
“One of your neighbors saw a stranger enter your house through a window and called us. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you’d best be prepared: he’s completely trashed the place. I know it’ll be hard, but you’ll have to go in and have a look around, tell us if you notice anything that’s missing.”

It was a lot harder for her, after having a look around, to swallow her pride and tell the officer, “Doesn’t look like anything’s missing. Everything is just as I left it.”

Last winter I made a start at cleaning up all my scribbles and made a small dint; now I’ll  renew my efforts while it’s -35 and I don’t want to set foot out of the house. So be prepared for a sudden gush of haiku, other micro-verses, and tidbit tales here on my blog.

Ali found a heap of treasure
hidden in a deep dark den;
in my cave, a heap of scribbles
a life of plying pencil and pen.