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Considering Tags

Considering Tags

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.

See Also
detecting plagiarism

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.

For Plugins
WordPress: Ultimate Tag Warrior
Movable Type: Technorati Tags Plugin
Blogger: Categories and Technorati Tags for Blogger 1.0

View Comments (12)
  • The wordpres plugin I’m using allows me to add tags to the atom feed without adding them to the web page.

    So I get the benefit of being correctly tagged in Technorati without having a thousand extra links all over every page. Do a search for Jeromes Keywords

  • I use this Technorati Tags: ‘;for(var i=0;i 0){a+=’, ‘;}if (checkplus==’-1′){a+=’‘+tr[i]+’‘;}else {var chat=”;var plus=tr[i].split(‘ ‘);for(var q=0;q’+tr[i]+”;}}a+=’, ‘;prompt(‘Copy this code, press OK, then paste to your blog entry:’,a);})()”>favlet/

    Just drag and drop that javascript link to your toolbar and click it when you want to add tags. A window pops up, you type in the tags, and it generates a code for you. It does them within a div so you can add some CSS to your site and they will still be there but they won’t display

  • Go ahead and tag away, just put them where they won’t be seen. Here’s a bit of overkill CSS that will do the trick:

    #technorati {
    position: absolute;
    top: -800px;
    font-size: 0px;
    visibility: hidden;
    }

    Just put your tags in an HTML element with an ID=”technorati” and you’ll be stylin’

  • Anyone using Typepad can tag via the RSS/Atom feed. When a post is published, providing the blog is pinging Technorati:
    http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
    the categories associated with the posts are read by Technorati as tags.
    Adding in tags using Typepad is a chore, as there isn’t an easy plugin to insert into the blog, as with WordPress or MT.

    [tagname]

    I particularly like Mark’s idea of masking one’s tags from posts using a CSS control. I think I’ll try that for my Typepad blogs.

    A nice twist is to change the Technorati tag link to point to your own pages- this becomes a traffic driver for your own site, rather than pushing users to Technorati.

    I like to be listed on T, but wouldn’t want to send users back there!

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