Design: Implement tags for web usability?

When I set this blog up, my intention was not to go overboard on SEO or anything like that, so I created a basic set of categories, none of which were particularly keyword-rich. The list of categories stands at:

  • At Home – Seldom used, was originally intended for personal stories, but I realise I rarely post those (here, anyway)
  • At Work – Originally intended as somewhere for posts about work and things I was doing in professional life. I’ve used this as a home for my tech tutorials as well though.
  • On Blogging – Contains some good tutorials and posts about blogging.
  • On Web Design – Another favourite category containin my notes and thoughts on web design. Has some good Drupal discoveries I’ve made recently.

The problem with the categories is that they’re extremely broad and not really specific at all. Hence my shoehorning of Ubuntu tutorials into the “At Work” category.

The benefits of tagging

Drupal (the publishing software I use for this site) has some extremely rich features for categorising content – you can have categories or tags or both. Because Drupal allows you to have different types of content, you can have a seperate set of categories for each type of content.

On this blog, I currently use categories for the blog, but when I set up the photoblog, I decided to use tags.

The tags on the photoblog are fantasticly flexible. For example, I tag photos from my travels as travel, but I also give the city or country where applicable. So, if I want to see all my travel photos, I click on the travel tag. But if I just want to see the stuff from London

If I applied this to my blog, I could quickly isolate all my posts about Ubuntu, or WordPress, or Drupal.


Since tags are a way of using words (or short phrases) to describe content, naturally you’re driven to use good, descriptive keywords.

I would say that this has SEO benefit, but these days there’s very little likelihood of a tag page making it to a position in Google where it’s likely to get much traffic. Imagine a photo page for London ranking in Google? Ha ha!

Anyway, the appeal of implementing tags on the blog posts here is immense – visitors to the site would be able to quickly find related material. If they came in on a Linux-related search, they’d be able to find the other Linux themed articles I’ve written here.

I’m strongly considering changing to tags for the blog content here – not so much for SEO, but for ease of finding related content. Not just for the readers, but for myself too. Obscure categories are difficult to work with. If I go ahead with this over the weekend, I’ll document the process for how to set this up in Drupal.

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