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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blog Pages, Posts, Categories, and Tags… HELP!

When should you use a blog page instead of a post? How do you know what should be a category versus a tag? After this post, you will know exactly what to do. I’ve received questions about this from readers and clients this week about pages vs. posts and categories vs. tags, so I wanted to answer them in a post for everyone else who also be struggling a little with these.

Pages vs. Posts

Blog pages are timeless permanent content. Blog pages live outside the normal date/time chronology of blog posts. Most of what you write for your blog should be posts. Frequently updated new content belongs in posts. Here are some examples of what should be in pages:
  • Information about you and your blog (the “About” page)
  • A contact form
  • Advertising rates
  • Disclaimers, terms of service, and comment policies
  • Products and/or services you sell
  • Email list sign-ups (yes, I know I’m not doing this, yet, but it’s coming)
Here are some things that could be in pages instead of being posts or being in your blog’s sidebar:
  • Archive links
  • Blogroll or resource links
  • Author information on a team blog
  • Articles (longer than posts)
  • Glossaries
  • Image galleries
  • Affiliate product reviews
TIP: If you plan on having a lot of pages, choose a blog design that handles many pages well, and which can work easily with parent pages. Parent pages allow you to designate any existing page as the parent of another page. This sets up a link structure that is seen in your blog’s page links (in various ways). Look for themes that have cascading menus or other navigational goodies, like expanding & collapsing sections.
Any other content you create should go into posts.

Categories vs. Tags

Categories have been around for a long time. Tags are a more recent way to classify content on your blog. There is a difference between them. Categories only live in one place, but tags can repeat themselves and live in many places at once. Categories are like big buckets to divide the information itself, but tags are ways of labeling and identifying characteristics about the information.
Food blogs are a great example of how to use categories and tags correctly. Take Feelgood Eats, for example, who is a blog consulting client of mine. Sue has categories for major types of recipes. In fact, they’re not even called categories, they’re just called recipes:
But the tags on Feelgood Eats are a more detailed breakdown of the ingredients that might end up in any recipe, plus other ways of classifying food info:
The analogy works for any kind of blog: what are your “recipe types” compared to your individual “ingredients”? Think of it that way, and you’ll be more easily able to assign categories and tags to blog posts.
Does this clear things up for you? Let me know if you have further questions in the comments!




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