I said it quite often, niche blogs have never been a thing for me. When I started my blog around 2011, I had no clue how far I would go, I just knew for sure that I would not limit myself to a single topic. And today I am pretty sure, this is the main reason why I keep updating my site. It’s not a niche site, it’s my personal outlet for ideas, things I create and thoughts I want to share. Since it is a broader blog, it also depends on the seasons what I write about. In summer for example there are a lot of photography posts or I share photos that I shot during my hikes. During autumn and winter I am reading a lot or I play PC games, which is why that is the time my technology or gaming category grows. There is always something to say, because I am not just interested in a single subject. I like it how a personal blog evolves over time. At some point you notice what type of topics you write about the most.
In my case it was always gaming, and I also wrote many technology or software related tutorials because I always liked to write things down that might help others. Photography just came later, because when I started the site, I wasn’t totally into it. But today I would say that there is a very high focus on photography because now I like to take pictures and I like to share them. What has always been a big part of my life was music, but that is ironically a subject I neglected the first years on my blog. I am especially interested in guitar playing and recently I started to record some music videos more often. Even if I did put them there, they didn’t really fit into my technology category. I also like to take photos when I get a new guitar, because guitars can be very beautiful, and the photos did somehow fit into my photography category. But I’ve seen I continue to make guitars and music a topic on my blog, and sometimes it’s not related to photos of guitars. So, I started to think that I need a music category on my site.
Talking about blogs, you need to distinguish between a category and a tag. And while you can describe the difference, it can also be about your personal preference and how you want to work with tags and categories. I personally see categories as a sun umbrella on the beach, and tags are the grains of sand on the beach. Categories are umbrella terms, while tags are either more detailed descriptions (sometimes long-tail keywords) or just subordinate terms that don’t deserve it to be a category. I said personal preference because I drifted away from certain rules. For example, the term music could be a category because it’s an umbrella term, but it never made sense to create that category if I just have a couple of posts written for it. And if that is changing, you still can convert the tag to a category at a later point.
In other words, I generally use tags but at some point I might find out that it becomes one of the main topics, and that’s where I start to convert a tag to a category. It’s all about the importance, because if you wouldn’t make that difference, you would end up with thousands of categories on your blog, and that would be awful. So, this is how I work with tags and categories. Right now I decided to convert the music tag to a music category, because I want to highlight the topic on my front page, and since music is one of my main interests, I know that the category will naturally grow. That’s is what I meant when I said that it’s interesting to see how your personal blog evolves. Sometimes you have to add things, other times you removed things and things might change over time, because as a person you do too. That’s why I like my personal blog, it’s pretty much like a book that describes what I have been up to over the years. With that said, you could also argue that the categories on my blog describe my main interests over the last years. I just can repeat that, I like broad blogging, because there is always something to say.
2 thoughts on “Structuring A Personal Blog And About Categories And Tags”
I do it pretty much the same way and over time I’ve added categories to the original ones I set up. Naomi likes to photograph cars, especiallyvintage ones so I added a category for that. We have quite a few sub categories but for things that we don’t post about a lot I just use tags. I try to imagine how people will search for a subject and I think tags are very useful for that.
Yes that’s exactly how I do it too. With the vintage cars example, I would just link it to the photography category and add tags like “vintage cars” and othes that fit… but I see your point, since Naomi does focus on these cars, it totally makes sense to give it a category. I use tags also for internal structuring like “brown horses”, or if I want to describe something in more detail for myself (to have tags that I can link to within my posts) or for search engines. It’s structuring your site, but it is also helping search engines understand what the post is about. Yes even sentences work… for my tutorials I often use tags like “How to do this or that”, they work great if you hit the right ones and if not too many sites offered the same tutorial.
Back then I didn’t really get the difference. It took me some time and I had to clean up a huge mess. Today I would suggest newbies to just start with tags. If they have like 100 entries for one tag, it’s probably time to convert that one to a category. Especially for broad blogs, it’s a great way to find out what the main subjects will be. I should have done this as a newbie, but I took the hard way and cleaned up afterwards 🙂