WordPress – Categories As Tags?

The post about Global Tags encourages WordPress users to use categories as tags. Tags are extremely important for making content available and also to connect the blogging community. Implementing tags as categories is great, but using categories only for tags can kill many other possibilities.

The contexts for a tag and category can be different. A tag is for everyone, whether outside or inside the blog. Lets consider an example of a blog about car test drives. I will want a person looking for “four wheeler reviews” in tagging services to know about the reviews on my blog. So, I will include a tag called “four wheelers”. But once someone is already inside the blog, they know it is about car test drives, it becomes redundant to have a category called four wheelers. The categories can cater to the reader who is already inside the blog to lead him to finer details of the cars. So, I might need to have some tags in addition to the categories I have. For example, for this post, I might want to include test drive as a tag, but I will not like to have it as a category.

Secondly, I consider multiple heirarchical categories in WordPress as one of its best features. Why? Consider our earlier example blog about car test drives. Each blog post will be a car’s test drive. Even if implemented as a blog post, it will still be a test drive in concept. The different aspects of the test drive I can consider are type of car (sedan, hatchback, SUV, …), make of car, type of engine (petrol, diesel, …), size of the car and there will probably be many more. Even if we consider these three, my readers might want to read by car type, car make, or type of the engine. One of the ways of implementation is to have these three as top-level categories – By Type, By Make and By Engine Type. Within these I can create child categories of actual types, makes and engine types. These top-level categories are now more of indexes rather than tags to the posts. The actual text of the categories will more depend on the content classification and the user profiles. WordPress categories being so flexible, don’t pose any restrictions to the user. If all the categories will be used as tags, then their text will be affected by this.

In essence, only the categories cannot be enough as tags and all the categories cannot be tags, it will change from case to case. This is not a restriction, but a flexibility for me as a developer. If categories are used as tags, I would like an option to select if some category should be used as a tag or not.

I have written earlier about using something like this in one of the article management systems done using WordPress.

What do you think?

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Copyright Abhijit Nadgouda.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Abhijit Nadgouda @ iface » Blog Archive » Where Is The Link Manager? said:

    […] An unrelated change is that the post categories for a post now link to the category archives instead of the WordPress global tags . […]

  2. Tagging and Cataloging on iface thoughts said:

    […] However, I think that this tagging is effective only when the audience participates in it. Because then it can let the reader/viewer/listener build the tags using their language. This overcomes the disadvantage with traditional categorization where the terms used are decided by the author or the creator. Tags can now be used to express the audience’s perception. If it is not so, then I think the possibilities with tagging gets limited. For example, on this blog, the categories are subjects which are more useful for internal navigation and within the context of this blog. Whereas tags are keywords, which stand on their own even outside. I had tried to express this as a developer when categories were being promoted as tags on the WordPress.com service. […]

  3. Using Categories And Tags on iface thoughts said:

    […] WordPress allows you to categorize your blog posts. There are also some plugins that let you work with tags. Seemingly both of them can be used for the same thing – qualify your posts. However, I think they are different, or at least my usage is different. On this blog I use categories for topics and tags for keywords. Both can be used for navigation, but categories present structured navigation, its language is specific to this blog. The keywords are global, which would stand their context and meaning even outside this blog. Posts by Carthick Sharma and Lorelle give the best explanation. […]

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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