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.

4 Responses to “WordPress – Categories As Tags?”

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

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

  2. Now the tagging begins « weest bescheed Says:

    […] I find the double use of categories as tags and the absence of independent tags the biggest drawback in the otherwise wonderful service of wordpress.com. Others who share a similiar opinion are a.o. Lorelle and Abhijit. I’d strongly suggest to implement something like the ultimate tag warriour plugin into the system, as the bookmarklet-solution produces the problem of having to guess or take notes manually, which tags have already been used. Please leave a comment if you think likewise -and if you don’t agree, please tell me why. Site Search Tags: blogging, wordpress, bookmarklet, tags, structuring+blogs […]

  3. Categories vs. Tags / Web Words / WizarDev Says:

    […] WordPress – Categories As Tags […]

  4. Dan Gudema Says:

    I am trying to figure out how the categories in wordpress are used in drawing traffic to your blog. I notice you can update within wordpress all this text per category, but where does this display or get picked up search engines, bloglines, etc? Or is this a setting in wordpress you have to turn on.

    I have been working on my blog for about a year at InternetAnalysisTools.com and would like to optimize it a bit more.

    Dan Gudema

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