29 March 2012

Bloggiesta 2012: Labels/Tags Mini-Challenge

I am obsessed with my label system, I admit it. And thus my favorite Bloggiesta task is to work on cleaning up my labels. And so I've become the traditional labels/tags mini-challenge host.

This post has been revised from previous Bloggiesta events, so even if you've done this challenge before, you might want to skim through.

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 It's All About the Books 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 (eBook, audiobook, print), which is almost always a good idea. You might want to think about labeling reviews by year of review or year of publication.
  • Personal style/advocacy: You can use your labels and tags to help promote your blog's viewpoint or strengths. For example, if you like to bring attention to debut authors then you should have label that will make it easy for your readers to find that content. In some cases, you might want to consider adding more information to your labels, such as "Debut Author - 2011" or "Indie Bookstores - Detroit." If you are on Wordpress, you can use your tags and categories in a similar manner.
  • 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 a tab at the top of my blog that direct readers to my reviews by title. I am in process of adding pages (with links in the sidebar) to my reviews by genre and author. These lists save me from creating a lot of labels.

Your Mini-Challenge

I admit that I created this mini-challenge because I really need to clean up my own labels. In fact, this should be my main Bloggiesta task. I have published many new posts and have taken my blog in new directions since the last Bloggiesta, and I really should review each and every one post and all my labels!

You might not want to examine every post on your blog, 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 the all 2012 posts)
  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
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 to let us know you finished the challenge.


Alex Baugh 3/30/12, 12:39 PM  

Labels and tags are one of the things that drive me crazy. I tend to go overboard, and need to clean up so this is a perfect challenge for me. Thanks for hosting it.

Tales of Whimsy 3/30/12, 12:51 PM  

I'm a label queen. So much so that I had to taper down.

It's the organizer in me.

Great post.

Jenners 3/31/12, 1:55 PM  

This is one of the things that I'm always redoing and tweaking and then cursing myself for having to go back and relabel or tag 800+ posts! It helps to work all this stuff out at the BEGINNING of your blogging career!

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 3/31/12, 6:14 PM  

I have way too many categories. I need to simplify them and use tags for the detail. Bloggiesta is giving me a reason to tackle this. I don't like doing the minutia.

Laurie C 4/1/12, 8:58 AM  

I think I've improved my use of WP categories and tags over the past year, so you've convinced me I should go back and re-tag and re-categorize earlier posts. I'm afraid I'd use this as a way of procrastinating on my "Catch up on reviews" goal, though. ;)
Maybe next Bloggiesta!

Rikki 4/2/12, 6:01 AM  

How come I did not see this challenge on the weekend? Was it on the master list??? Tags were on my to do list so I would have needed this one badly. I will go through it this week...

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