Posted in Of Bloggingly, Of Culturel, Of Life's Dramedies

Of Tagging

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The single most reason why all my previous blogs, including the present in its initial incarnation, failed were because I did not know what tagging was. When you start a blog, it is unlikely you will know what will be your focal point in terms of content, or how you will structure that content. Most of us attempt to do life blogs anyway, even if their focus may be on food, relationships or Anthropology. But, whatever wibbly-wobbly blogs you begin with, ( and they are likely to be awkward, as you don’t know yet what you’re going to do ), proper tagging, or even improper tagging, will at least get your blog seen. Tagging’s relationship with writing a blog is what an audience is to a stand-up comedian. You may be brilliant or extremely dull on your side, but you will never know unless someone is on the other. Even if it is just the one, you have enough affirmation to go on, and hope that there will be more from where that single other came from.

A tag isn’t a name ( though, didn’t Rachel have a boyfriend named Tag in Friends? Maybe it was a cool name in the 90’s. And if your name happens to be Tag and still is, I apologise on behalf of the internet ) but it is a means of identification. It hints at something, promises to take you close to something, something you may have been looking for. But, while formulating suitable tags for your blog post, it almost becomes a separate creative, statistical and business activity, wholly separate from that piece of writing you had so far laboured on. Okay, so you’ve written something. But, for whom? What is in that piece that would be of interest to them? It isn’t simply tagging along the lines of what it is about. If you are exclusively specific in your choice of tags, you’re hardly going to find readers. You have to cast your net wide first, and then get specific.

However, what you usually get is either one or the other. There are many websites out there completely pandering to the commercial, so that their tags often have very little to do with their content. Or, what is worse than even that travesty, the content doesn’t match up to the tags it carries. On the other hand, there are bloggers who like to size it down, as little attention is better towards maintaining quality, than unwanted attention. Thus, great content often goes unseen, while passable to poor content gets viewed by many. And when you think about your own blog in those terms, it is rather depressing.

But, there are two things to remember in order to be practical and yet hopeful about tagging. First, blogging is about communities. Being a democratic platform means anyone can blog. Which means several million do. Therefore, in order to share your ideas, it is not enough to just let them out and wait for them to be discovered. You have to look for people who share the same interests as you do, engage in their ideas, ask them to have a look at your own. It is all very well to see the numbers go up. Increasing views is definitely a great source for motivation and satisfaction. But, it is most gratifying when people are actively engaging in your content, perhaps leaving comments or sharing your post with their friends. The second is to tag intelligently, which you only learn through trial and error. And having your own blog means you can go back and rectify those errors even after your post has gone live. Like with any skill worth learning, blogging also takes a lot of practice until you get it right. I don’t really know what right looks like, and I’m still learning a lot. But, I’m willing to learn. Though all my awkward tagging through these months may not always have brought as many readers as I would have liked, they did bring those who kept me motivated to keep learning.

Do you find tagging difficult? How do you go about it for your own blog?

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

31 thoughts on “Of Tagging

      1. Yeah, that’s great too. It’s nothing fussy though buddy don’t worry it just allows readers to know what to write about πŸ™‚

    1. I didn’t either. But, in all my previous blogs ( none of them were on WordPress sadly. Unlike other platforms, WordPress does have a lot of resources for the blogging newbie ) I never added any tags as I did not know what it was. Even when I started Of Opinions, I didn’t have any tags on my posts and so gave up because no one read them. But, WordPress kept piling my inbox with emails, making me come back and write again. Since then, through trial and error, I’ve been learning how tags work. A good place to start would be to go on the “Explore Tags” option on your reader, and see if any of those tags pertain to your post. I’ve been doing that and it seems to be working.

      1. No, you don’t have to add a hash to it. When you are preparing your new post, look at the left hand side column which have sections for ‘categories’ and ‘tags’. Go to the tag section and simply type the word that is relevant to your post. For example, type ‘blogging’ and press enter. It will turn into a blue bar-like thing with a ‘x’ mark next to it, which you can click if you want to remove the tag. Continue writing such relevant tags. Even if there is more than one word, say ‘book review’, just be sure to write it down and then press enter. Categories operate the same way, except you get a check box (that looks like a small square) next to the category, and you have to ‘tick’ the category you want to include simply by clicking on the check box.Of course, you have to make the categories first by typing them in. Be sure to make a total of 15 or less categories and tags for each post, otherwise it won’t show up on the WordPress Reader. I hope that has cleared things up!

  1. I think the “net wide” thing is also where the other section “categories” come in. But yes people see “tags” mostly not “categories” but even then you might not be seen. It may be your content is badly written or ironically it may be well written but no one who read it understood it much (many bloggers are young and do not always like complex philosophical discussions in their work) and it may be also a long read. I noticed that WP does separate chapters on “long reads” because of this because unfortunately in this era of the “status” and restrictive “twitter” feed no one likes reading long unless it is a book they have gallantly chosen. Sometimes I know people don’t have the time to read something but apparently “tl;dr” as in “too long; didn’t read” has become an urban slang that I also recently became aware of.

    Don’t worry. In my blog I mostly reblog and write poems. I don’t have exceptional life experiences nor do I think so analytic-beautifully as you πŸ˜‰ all the time and even if I do either laziness, procrastination or forgetfulness makes me not write something. And though I tag appropriately and also with some other “personalizations” in mind when I tag I hardly have a long chain of followers and to be honest I can understand. Poetry is not liked by everywhere. I don’t have a life that is so adrenaline rushy that people would tune in. There are blogs that are very fun and intelligent like the one with Aussa Lorens that does get its well-deserved share of attention and I am happy for her. There are some blogs that I can personally say are not so cool but have followers and have made me wonder truthfully. Also there are many intelligent blogs that are hardly ever even read once or read when it is “Freshly Pressed” but then forgotten about very much.

    Tags are a great way for publicising your blog but I notice that avid or very serious bloggers publicise in MANY other ways too. Like using FB, twitter doing podcasts, having the social blog like Tumblr, making Youtube videos having another site. So, people who really wanna be read really initially I think do a lot to be read and I can see it.

    Also originally, I really did not know much about tags and tagging or was lazy and didn’t care or didn’t bother thinking why are tags so crucial but to a certain extent they are. The internet is more populated now so you need tags to just show a “name tag” that “hey I am here” so that people can meet you or shake your hand or look at your wares so yeah that is important.

    1. Thank you for the “analytic-beautifully” comment! And also for the reblogs. I don’t understand categories at all, and I don’t want to go too search engine optimization-y with my blog. I’d rather have readers who are at least interested in one piece, if not the entire blog. I barely knew anything about blogging when I restarted Of Opinions and there are so many things to learn everyday. I recently started publicizing on twitter, just to see if I can manage multiple platforms. I don’t know if it will work yet, and my readers still come along only through the WordPress reader. I am happy with it for now, happy enough to keep writing, which is my main agenda.
      There are great Poetry blogs here. Also, have you tried sharing your poetry on GoodReads? It is a website where you can keep track of what you read as well as discover books. They also publish a poetry newsletter, where they select a best poem every month. I think Poem Hunter too lets you publish your own poetry now.

      1. Well, the reblogs came naturally as you write about interesting things and I am happy to reblog cool things anyway πŸ™‚

  2. I think my posts lend well to tags since I am very specific in my stories…when I write anout sex I tag “sex,” when use a quote I tag the author, etc. Sometimes I forget to tag at all and have to go back and do it later. The only thing I wonder is if tags lead to disappointment… For example, every day I get a hit from someone who searched a tag “blow job” and I feel like when it just leads them to a funny story that probably wasnt what they were looking for!

    1. Ha ha! I once wrote a post on “sharing bodies” which was not about sex but about less intimate communication ( I even had a disclaimer at the beginning of the post ). However, because I used the tag “bodies”, people interested in porn and fitness dropped by in almost equal measure! I wonder what kids googling their Biology work get as search results.

  3. Thank you for the post. As a fairly new blogger I still have a lot to figure out about tagging and organizing my posts, and this was quite helpful.

    1. Hi Gretchen! I think your posts are great. Keep up the good work! I don’t understand tagging too well, so you have to have patience with finding out what works for you. However, what I’ve seen is that you have too many specific tags on your post. First of all, you can have a total of 15 tags and categories if you want your post to show up on the WordPress Reader, which I suppose is your main source for readership. Second, go to the Explore Tags option on your reader, and try to look for tags that will go along with your post. For example, in your post on meal planning you should have tagged “food” as it is a pretty popular tag and goes with your post. What I do is, because my content is more or less consistent, on “life”, “philosophy” and “psychology”, I will usually have them, and then add specifics. Psychology, for example, is relatively a less popular tag. As I said, you have to tag intelligently, but please try to have as few tags as possible. My limit is 9.
      Hope that helps!

  4. I’m glad I saw this post. I’m quite new at this, decided to go into it cos I love writing. I really need traffic to my blogs. Please how EXACTLY do I tag my posts? How do categories work?
    I use an android phone.

      1. Thank you. I’ve read the post, I’ve gone to the Explore tags option in my Reader, and there were plenty tags there. I clicked on one and it linked me to posts having that tag. But I still don’t get how to tag my own posts. Do I go to the post and type hashtag with a word or what?

      2. I am sorry I was sleeping all this time, Amy. Yes, you type it in your various setting options when you are typing a new post. If you have any other problems, feel free to ask again Also, do check out The Daily Post. They have lots of resources for blogging here, and should clear up a lot of stuff.

  5. Wow … I really appreciate all these helpful comments. Since I am completely new at these computer things. Well I have found much of it a bit confusing. And have heard or seen the word “tag” used often these daze everywhere from cereal boxes to comedy sketches. Yet up till reading these helpful blogs here I felt like I was missing out on some inside information. Well I guess I was. πŸ€” So I would like to thank each and everyone of you folks here that have so patiently explained what a “tag” is along with how …and why they are used. It has been most helpful. I am looking forward to seeing more of you all in cyberspace. Good Happens / Love Shall Prevail. πŸ€—πŸŽΆπŸ₯πŸ’–πŸŒ»πŸŒ…βœŒοΈπŸ™‚

  6. Hi Amrita !
    Really enjoyed the write up. very easy to understand and relate to. Thank you for compiling your thoughts and sharing as I am sure it will help a lot of beginners like me.

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