I’ve been critical of “tags” and “tagging” in the past but in recent times, as much as I’m still not a fan of their practical use, I’ve noticed on blogs that I’ve included tags on that it does actually bring in traffic, not a lot of traffic but particularly for a new blog enough traffic to justify using them. Hence from today I’m also going to start using tags here at the Blog Herald as well to see what sort of return an established site can get from them. If you’ve not used tags before, or know of them but don’t know how to implement them, what follows is my short guide to tagging.
What are Tags:
According to Wikipedia: “Tags can be used to specify properties of an object that are not obvious from the object itself. They can then be used to find objects with some desired set of properties, or to organize objects. These features are exploited extensively in social software and folksonomies.”
In terms of a blog though Tags can serve both as a navigation tool (like categories), or they get you indexed under a particular tag on Technorati and IceRocket. For ease of use I’m sticking to the second use of tags.
Think of tags in a physical sense, you might stick a tag onto a plastic container and write on the tag what the contents of the container is. You know it’s a container, and it has something in it, in the same way that you know what a blog is, and that blogs feature content, but the tag defines what the content is, in one or more words and phrases, which are then indexed into Technorati and IceRocket so others can find your content based on your use of tags.
I’ll leave the last definition to Technorati: “Think of a tag as a simple category name. People can categorize their posts, photos, and links with any tag that makes sense” only that the categories are in Technorati :-)
Why use tags?
Why not, I suppose. The one thing I hate about Technorati tags is that they are ugly…really aesthetically displeasing on a blog, and I really do wish there was a way to tag a post without having to show the tags! However, on a more serious note tags can help bring in traffic. Sure, some people claim it brings in a lot of traffic, but in my experience this isn’t the case (as yet), but all traffic is good traffic, and with all traffic it’s a chance to get new visitors that you can then convert into regular readers.
How do you use tags
Two ways, manually inputting the code or with a plugin.
The instructions for doing it manually are available on the Technorati website here. I’ve seen some people also implementing IceRocket tags as well (so you’ve then got 2 sets of tags) however I’ve found where I’ve been using the Technorati Tags that I also get Icerocket traffic as well, so I’d only recommend the one set.