Category Cherry-Picking (by Rey)

The Boss is down with a bad cough-cold (it ain’t pretty, let me tell ya) and asked one of us to write the Wednesday post.  JJ and Linda claimed I’d done such a good job in past, they volunteered me to do it.  Whatever.  I’ll just look at it this way: when ya got it, ya got it.

Given what she’s been recently posting about, I opted for “categories” to stay in the theme and scheme of things.  (See, I’m not just a pretty face.)

Like tags, you use categories to help organize your blog content so viewers/followers can locate similar posts.  Consider them a Table of Contents.  While it’s recommended that tags be 80 characters or less, categories should be 25 or less.

Firstly, you want categories to be obvious and clear, right?  People use them to find more of your stuff on the same subject.  Just like when you’re choosing your tags and keywords, be selective.  For example, if you have a private-investigation site, you wouldn’t want simple or vague categories such as: Cases, Issues, Consulting, or Investigations.  To better guide viewers (also known as potential clients), you’d go for something like: Successful Industrial Surveillance Cases, Custody Issues, Security Consulting, Insurance Fraud Investigations, and Corporate Investigations.  Differentiate.  Clarify.  Home Security Consulting versus Corporate Security Consulting.  Make it easy for someone to right away visit the right page or post.  . . . Right?  You got it.

Secondly, make sure category headings are understandable and are compromised of keywords.  When people search for something, they use keywords to do so.  And remember that the right keywords lead to increased blog/site traffic.

Thirdly, keep those category titles similar in set-up.  Are you going to use all or no caps, formal or informal wording?  Will you use strictly verbs or all nouns?  Every part of your blog should look professional and be consistent.

Fourthly, you don’t want a whack of them.  Like recipes in an elephant-sized cookbook, if there are too many categories, your viewer might develop eye strain . . . never mind become impatient.  Ten should be about the limit.

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Over time, you’ll probably find that some blog categories have become redundant or ineffective.  Make sure to revisit them now and again, because what you planned in the blog’s beginning may not be where you’re at a year later.  For example, you may find you only have a small handful of posts in one category.  Or you have one where all or most of your posts are lodged; this may be because the category title is way too vague.  Do some “spring cleaning”.  Change vague category headings and delete invalid ones.

Lastly, you know that you can link to your categories and tags from your pages and posts, don’t you?  This simplifies navigation for your viewers, for one thing, but it can also hold or pique their interest so that they want to see more.

This is my “Snippet of Advice” re categories.  I could dig up some technical stuff, but anything more intensive or involved would go over my P.I. – actress head.  But you can bet dollars to donuts I’m going to do some serious research, because I’m finding that learning is really kind of fun.

And the next time The Boss asks one of us to write a post, I’ll be the one who volunteers me.

Aloha.

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