07 January 2010

Bloggiesta: Labels/Tag Mini Challenge


This is the home of the Bloggiesta Labels/Tag Mini-Challenge. I hope you'll take this one on because you know your labels need some help. If you don't know what Bloggiesta is, pop on over to Maw Books Blog and read all about it. It's not too late to join in the fun.

Why Should You Care about Your Labels?

Each of your posts should be clearly tagged or labeled so that visitors can easily find the material that is important to them. Your labels should be broad enough to direct visitors to a number of related posts but narrow enough to make them useful.

What do I mean? Let's say you have a series of posts about attending author events (signings, readings, and so on). I come to your blog because I want to read these posts. The first thing I'll do is look for your labels gadget (Blogger) or categories/tags list (Wordpress). Then I'll scan the list looking for "author events," "author signings," or "author readings."

In the best case, you have all such posts grouped under one recognizable label ("author events," for example). Once I click on the link, I'm all set to read. You might also have a label called "author signings" so I if I'm interested in only those posts, I can find them easily too.

In the worst case, you have these posts labeled only by the author's name. When I see that label, I have no idea if I'm going to get a book review, interview, spotlight post, or wish list post. I don't want to waste my time clicking on a number of author links in the hopes I'll find what I want, so I'll likely give up and move on to the next blog in my reader.

Another bad choice is to have a label that isn't clear. "Authors in the wild" is cute, but what does it mean? Will all your visitors know that this is the link to your author events posts?

When thinking about how to label your posts, always remember that they guide your readers to the content of your blog. You want this to be as easy as possible for your visitors.

How to Label?

Ah, well, this is up to you. If you are totally confused, do some blog hopping and look at different bloggers' labels or tags. What do you like, what do you dislike? Here are just a couple of types of posts and a few ways to approach your labeling.
  • Review posts: Some people add a label for every author reviewed on their blog. This can be useful, but you can end up with hundreds of labels for which there is only one post. Some people label their reviews by genre and medium, which is almost always a good idea. You might want to think about labeling reviews by year of review or year of publication.
  • Memes/Awards: You can label your meme posts by the meme's title. This is helpful to your readers, who might remember you had an interesting book in a Mailbox Monday or a Friday Finds. If your meme post is also a review or opinion post, it might be a good idea to give it additional labels so that visitors who usually skip memes won't miss something good.
  • Opinions/Conversations: Opinion posts and conversation starters should be clearly labeled because these are just the types of posts that people revisit. They think, "Didn't I see a good post about the importance of using the library on this blog last year?" If they find the label "library" in your label list, they'll soon find the post they want.
How Labels Can Work with Tabs

I don't use author names or book titles in my labels because I don't want a lot of labels that cover only one post. Instead, I have tabs at the top of my blog that direct readers to my reviews by author, title, and genre. This saves me from creating a lot of labels.

On the other hand, I failed to take this to its final step: One of my goals this Bloggiesta is to label my tabbed pages (with "reviews by author," for example), so visitors who don't see the tabs can find the list by checking out my labels gadget.

Your Mini-Challenge

I admit that I created this mini-challenge because I really need to clean up my own labels. In fact, this is going to be my main Bloggiesta task. I have almost 650 posts, and I plan to assess each and every one!

You might not want to examine every post, but you really should think about the state of your labels. Ask yourself if they are currently useful and how they could be better. So here's the deal:
  1. Set and state a goal (fix labels on all posts, fix labels on review posts, set up labels for 2010)
  2. Meet goal
  3. Blog about this mini-challenge (in a separate post or as part a Bloggiesta progress post or in your wrap-up Bloggiesta post)
  4. Come back here leave the link to that post in Mr. Linky
If you leave a link in Mr. Linky, you'll be eligible for a great bookish prize.

A Little Help

If you are using Blogger then you have access to a label gadget. Open it up, look at your options, and see if you have the settings the way you want them to be. Here are four links with some advice on using and editing labels:
If you are using Wordpress then you have both categories and tags. I don't use Wordpress, so I can't give you technical advice, but I can direct you to some articles that explain the difference between the two. Categories are larger (reviews) and tags are specific (historical fiction, fantasy). Here are four links that should offer help:
Good luck and remember that everything you do during Bloggiesta will benefit your blog and your readers. Be sure come back to Mr. Linky so you'll be eligible for a prize!


Alice 1/7/10, 10:10 PM  

Great tips, Beth. Thanks! I'm keeping my tagging as simple as possible. So far it has helped me find lots of things in a very quick time, so I guess it's working well. :D

Anonymous,  1/7/10, 10:23 PM  

Are you talking about tags, like the ones I put to each post that are like clues as to what's in the post? Or the categories each post goes in, like "Sunday Salon" or "Book Review" or "Challenges"?

LOL... I'm OCD about both, either way ;-)

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) 1/8/10, 7:01 AM  

Coming up with a good label/tagging stategy is really important, but it is so hard to decide exactly which words are important.

Good luck with your tagging - it is a massive task to try to do all your posts at once!

Julie P. 1/8/10, 8:47 AM  

I don't think I'm doing tags correctly -- or at least as well as I could be. Something definitely to think about!

bermudaonion 1/8/10, 9:13 AM  

This is a great post! I'm not doing tags right. I don't think I'll go back and fix any, but I can change what I do from now on.

Care 1/8/10, 9:26 AM  

I know my tags and categories are a mess but I still don't think I have it in me to go look at every post WOW! My hat is off to you and good luck and CHEERS!!!

Anonymous,  1/8/10, 10:10 AM  

I wasn't planning on participating in Bloggiesta, because I just don't think I have the time (and I'm a little lazy), but cleaning up my categories is on my unstated goals. Thanks for the ideas.

Esme 1/8/10, 11:24 AM  

Beth-thanks I have noticed that even myself-I go looking for something and think I posted it one way an d it is not that way-and get frustrated with the labels.

melydia 1/8/10, 11:38 AM  

I'm participating, but I won't sign Mr. Linky until I've actually completed updating my tags.


Natasha @ Maw Books 1/8/10, 11:53 AM  

Thanks Candace for hosting a awesome mini-challenge! My categories and tags needs some work.

And as a sidenote - For wordpress users there is a plugin that lets you do mass tagging and categories. Makes it much easier and has saved me tons of time in the past. Site: http://robm.me.uk/projects/plugins/wordpress/batch-categories/

Anonymous,  1/8/10, 12:45 PM  

I'm in, I have way to many labels in my list.

Jen - Devourer of Books 1/8/10, 1:48 PM  

Oh, I *really* need to do my labels. I'm going to do a few other things, then come back and work on this and stick with it, I think.

Unknown 1/8/10, 3:00 PM  

Thanks for this challenge - I often think, after I create a new label, that I really should go back and add it to such-and-such a post, but I rarely follow through. I'm amassing such a to-do list for this weekend!

Heidenkind 1/8/10, 3:54 PM  

I have always had trouble with labels. I'm just really inconsistent with them and forget to add labels sometimes. :( Bad me.

Amused 1/8/10, 5:53 PM  

This was so useful! Thank you for explaining this in such detail!

Amanda 1/8/10, 8:23 PM  

One of my goals was to clean up my labels. I just put in the linky my goal sheet which has that particular goal crossed out. I think I spent more time doing that than all the rest of the things I did for bloggiesta together...

Unknown 1/8/10, 8:48 PM  

Beth -
Labels done.
Thanks for the additional suggestions. I will be back when I change my template and get tabs for your suggestions!

Jacqueline 1/8/10, 8:57 PM  

Great tips! I've been trying to make a point of using tags more wisely since the new year. A tip for those using blogger that have forgotten to tag in the past. It's really easy to add tags/labels after the fact. Go to your blogger dashboard and under the Posting tab click on Edit Posts. This brings up a list of all your posts with a list of all your tags on the left hand side. At the top of your posts list is a box that says Label Actions. Clicking on the arrow on that box bring up your labels. You can check the box of the posts you want to label and apply whatever labels you want to them. Hope that made sense. I want to know how to make the tabs like you have, Beth, at the top of your blog

Alison (Alison's Book Marks) 1/8/10, 9:09 PM  

Who knew labels were such a big deal? DOH!

I started out by trying out some ways to make my blog easier to navigate (buttons, index, etc.). Now, I'm another two hours in and I'm re-tagging and un-tagging. Your tips and links REALLY helped. I would have been here 'til midnight just getting rid of superfluous tags.

Hopefully, I'll change my format a bit and work in that index. In the meantime, I have limited myself to 10 tags. (down from 121) Nice, huh?

Thank you, Beth!

Jenners 1/8/10, 9:14 PM  

Great tips. When I got my own domain name, I did spend quite a bit of time relabeling things to make them easier to find. I added in ratings of books, authors by letter and genre. There are a few things else I can do ... I'm going to look over them now.

Pam 1/8/10, 10:18 PM  

I am going back and attempting to make a simple tag system for my blog. Thanks for the tips.

Molly 1/9/10, 2:08 AM  

While I was already using labels for my posts, I found that I had too many and it made the blog look cluttered, and management difficult. I tried to streamline the labels and make them a little more user friendly.

Thanks for the motivation to do what needed to be done!

Molly 1/9/10, 2:18 AM  

While I already used labels on my blog, I found that I had used too many, which made the blog look cluttered and and they were not user friendly. I followed your suggestion of simplifying and streamlining and I like the new system. Thanks for the useful suggestions - and the motivation.

Zee 1/9/10, 5:15 AM  

I've done my labels but I have some questions for my readers. I would greatly appreciate some thoughts if anyone has time. http://readinginthenorth.blogspot.com/2010/01/bloggiesta-what-i-did-day-1.html

Anonymous,  1/9/10, 6:37 AM  

What a great resource!

jlshall 1/9/10, 10:43 AM  

Thanks for all the information about tagging. Have to admit I had never really given it much thought. When I started blogging, I wasn't thinking in terms of a readership. The tags I use are mostly just indexing, for my own benefit - so that I can navigate through my posts if the need arises. But I do try to keep my tags as general and simple as possible. Good luck with your label clean-up - it sounds like a huge but worthwhile task!

Aarti 1/9/10, 1:25 PM  

I don't think I am going to tag posts by the year I do the review since I feel the archives set up by month/year sort of already do that. But I did clean up my labels, and I'm quite happy with the smaller number I have, though I think they're descriptive enough :-)

The1stdaughter 1/9/10, 2:55 PM  

I feel like I jumped the gun on this one, but I'm glad I did. My site is new enough that I started this in the beginning and thankfully didn't have much to do now. But it's really a great idea and way to make things easier for readers. Thanks!

Helen 1/9/10, 3:03 PM  

This challenge has been very useful! I was using too many different labels but have simplified them now. Thanks for the tips.

Esme 1/9/10, 3:29 PM  

Thank you this is a great suggestion with helpful tips.

Anonymous,  1/9/10, 4:29 PM  

Finished and my labels look so much better.

Thanks for a great mini challenge!

MotherReader 1/9/10, 4:53 PM  

I've been good about my labels in the last year or so, but before that was inconsistent. My goal was to tackle make sure as many of the Book Review posts were labeled as such and with the correct genre. It was fairly easy in the beginning, and tough as I went back in time and wasn't labeling correctly - or at all. One lesson learned though, if I have a book review post, title it with the book title. All those clever titles of the past are impossible to figure out now.

Thanks for the push to update this aspect of my blog.

Unknown 1/9/10, 6:18 PM  

It took 2 hours and 45 minutes, but I made it through all of my posts and updated their tags! What I also found helpful was looking at the full list of my tags and noting the ones that were only used 1 or 2 times - did I really need those tags, or could I do away with them and/or fold it into another tag? I kept a few of those tags that had only been used rarely - I'm hoping to read more books that will utilize those tags - but others were deleted. Thanks for the incentive!

N. R. Wick 1/9/10, 7:13 PM  

I love labels! So shiny and organised. Heh. I'm lucky because my blog is only a couple months old and my website's article section is brand new. I did, however go through and make sure I had all of the labels and categories I imagine I would need, and fixed some that I felt were not as appropriate.

I can't imagine how crazy it would be to go through 600! Good luck with that!


Anonymous,  1/9/10, 7:39 PM  

Thanks for the tips and for hosting this mini-challenge! I don't have many posts yet, so re-categorizing and re-tagging wasn't too difficult overall. I think I've set myself up with some categories and tags I'll continue to use in the future. Time well spent!

Lori 1/9/10, 8:38 PM  

Thanks for all the tips. I have made alot of notes and will be working on all of them for the next few weeks. lol

Meg Shea 1/9/10, 9:12 PM  

Labeling was easy with only 3 posts (I'm a newbie!). You'll find them under "toe tags." I also added a list of labels to a stickie I keep on my desktop for easy reference. Happy Bloggiesta!

Helen's Book Blog 1/9/10, 11:20 PM  

Awesome mini-challenge and the Blogger links were very useful; thank you!

Melis 1/9/10, 11:30 PM  

I use wordpress, and I spent my time today fixing up the Categories in Wordpress. I used the Blog-in-Blog plug in so I chose certain Categories to show up on their own pages. the main page shows everything, but if you only want to see my book blog type entries you can go to that tab and see all of those entries, with the full html, not like RSS-ed. I have to clean up my tags tomorrow, but I am really very happy about the tabs part. My labeling...totally needs work though haha

The Bumbles 1/10/10, 12:43 AM  

I am soooo thankful that from Day One I settled on overall categories and have labeled all my posts in one of them. Makes it easier for me to find older posts and I would assume that new visitors would find it easier too. Good luck with your labeling.

Robin Johnson 1/10/10, 1:20 AM  

My posts are labeled and I'm off to check out what others are doing with labels. I love easy access!

Alethea 1/10/10, 2:33 AM  

This was really hard for me even though I have so few posts yet on this iteration of my blog. I kept forgetting to use the easy-link thing for blogger, then later after I started using it realized that I was hitting "Remove" for some of the ones I actually wanted to "Apply"! I thought this was a very useful mini-challenge and will keep doing labels regularly just so I don't have to do this again next year! LOL. I posted about it within my main Bloggiesta post - Better Late Than Never.

Katie 1/10/10, 3:23 AM  

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I so badly needed to do this and your challenge gave me the extra incentive to get it done!

Jan von Harz 1/10/10, 9:14 AM  

Thanks for this very helpful and informative post. There is so much to learn and posts like this really help newbie's like me.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 1/10/10, 11:38 AM  

This is great - thank you. Much of this I have been doing but there are a few that I cleaned up on and I appreciate the ideas of how to do so. I am linking to my Bloggiesta start up post as that is what is done now and later today I will put up my Finish line post in which I will put in more detail what I accomplished.

Chrisbookarama 1/10/10, 4:28 PM  

I did mine while watching Public Enemies.

Anonymous,  1/10/10, 6:25 PM  

I don't have that many posts, so how could my categories have been such a mess? Some orphan categories with only one post in them, some suffering from cutesiness in naming, weird stray tags that even I didn't get... fixed now, pretty much! Thanks for the useful mini-challenge!

Karla Cook @ Roads to Everywhere 1/10/10, 6:25 PM  

I just now put some of my most-blogged-about categories in the link bar at the top of my blog. Now I'm going back double-checking to make sure I have all the posts labeled that would fit in those categories. So that's my goal for today. I'll post about it when I finish.

Unknown 1/10/10, 6:35 PM  

Good tips. :-) I actually made some changes on mine yesterday BUT after reading this made a couple more changes. :-)

Farrah from...
The Book Faery Reviews (tbfreviews.net)
Farrah's Little Place in the Blogosphere (farrah.tbfreviews.net)

Alexia561 1/10/10, 7:32 PM  

Thanks for the great advice Beth! Never thought of having labels for my tabs, but think that's a great idea! Took awhile to go through all my labels, but think I'm finally finished. Very helpful Bloggiesta challenge!

Kristen 1/10/10, 9:36 PM  

Great tips! I didn't have any labels before so I'm glad I had some advice on how to keep it simple.

Heidenkind 1/11/10, 3:56 AM  

Hi, Beth. I kind of completed this challenge. I lost steam after I got past my older posts, though.

Anonymous,  6/11/10, 9:06 PM  

Thanks for the help Beth. I think I got it now!

Tracee 6/12/10, 8:04 PM  

Well, I have started this challenge but it is going to be a work in process. That's ok though because you have given me some great ideas and I am going to implement them from now on. Thanks so much!

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