What’s the Best Way to Present Categories and Tags on a Website?

This is a part of Q&A series where I answer questions from my subscribers. Have a website question you want me to answer? Subscribe here and drop me a line.

Today’s question is from Steph:

“How the heck do you organise a blog when you’ve got so many topics? I’ve settled for 4 over arching themes. But I also want people to know that under Wealth Goals, they can choose from business, career, debt, savings, investing etc. At the moment this is communicated through tags, but they’re hard to see.”

Basically, the question boils down to this:

Q: How do you present categories and tags on your website so that your website visitors see them and use them to explore more content?

In this video, I’ve answered Steph’s question using her website as an example, but my answer should be generic enough for you to get an idea how to do this on your own website.

Video Highlights:

Before you start solving any problem on your website, you need to take a step back and check if you gave your website visitors enough information before this problem even becomes relevant for them. Only then you can get to solving that particular problem.

So, to effectively present content categories and tags on your website:

  1. Make sure you have a clear website tagline that tells your visitors what your website is about, and a descriptive and easy-to-skim navigation.
  2. Organize your content in categories and tags properly:
    • Make all of your categories of an approximately equal size. If you have a category that is twice as large, split it in half.
    • Don’t assign too many categories or tags to one post.
    • If you use a tag or a category only once or twice, remove it.
  3. Make sure your users see a page title and a short description on all category and tag pages.

Pro tip: Add a prominent search box on all category and tag pages, as the visitors who start browsing your categories may be looking for something specific.

  1. Present your tags early on the category page, before the posts.
  2. Apart from a title and a description, add breadcrumbs navigation to your tag pages.

The solution for Steph’s website could look something like this:

How to display categories and tags on your website: Example

***

While I was making the video, Steph changed the design of the featured images of the posts and added a prominent category title.

This is how it was before:

Original version

And this is how it looks now:

blog-post-new
Changed version. Now the featured images have more text and prominently display the category to which they belong.

Which version do you think is better and why?

I have a clear preference here, but I’d like to hear from you: What do you think? Is it a good idea to display the name of the category within the featured images? Why? Let me know in the comments.

4 thoughts on “What’s the Best Way to Present Categories and Tags on a Website?

  1. I like the category displayed in the images (and applaud Steph for getting rid of the flowers) but I find the amount of text a bit much now. Still I prefer the new version, it makes it very clear where you are and where you are going.

    1. Thank you, Ineke. It means the current score is 1:0 in favor of the new version. I’ll wait for some more comments and then let you know what version I would recommend and why.

  2. Hey Gill!

    It is important to organize your blog well and work on having a seamless and clean structure. This is will help with the UX (user-experience) and also it helps with user-satisfaction – which are two very important factors for Google RankBrain.

    If you have a lot of topics you blog about you should try to categorize them in a simple way. Don’t try to go overboard and overwhelm your visitors. It’s important to keep things simple and to the point.

    You have good tips here!

    Thank you for sharing this! πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful weekend! πŸ˜€

    1. Thank you, Freddy. Glad to hear you liked the post. I’m curious: Do you have any preferences regarding the old vs new layout of the featured images?

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