Better Tagging for Increased Traffic

Tags are great for getting more exposure and for finding interesting new blogs to follow.

What interests you? Cooking? Drawing? Photography? Fishing? Travel? No matter your hobby or passion, there is a community of people on WordPress.com who share your interests.

Exploring tags in the Reader is a great way for you to discover great new authors to read and blogs to follow. What’s more, tagging your posts is a great way for the like-minded to find your posts in the Reader and discover your blog.

Tag your posts to attract new readers

While many bloggers write purely for the love of it, it feels great when someone reads your post, clicks on the like button, and takes the time to comment thoughtfully. Tagging your posts helps people to find them in the Reader, increasing the chance that a new visitor stops by to check out your blog.

Tagging is one part art and one part science. Shane Francescut often shoots Toronto, Ontario’s busy streets. In Black (&White) Friday: Old Friends, he’s tagged the photograph not only by location (Toronto), but by type (monochrome) and genre (street photography). Shane does a great job of tagging judiciously, selecting a few descriptive tags* that represent a different pool of potential readers. Here’s some more excellent advice on tagging your posts.

Hashtags work, too

Try tagging your posts using hashtags popular on social media, such as Twitter. For example, #nofilter is a popular hashtag photographers use when sharing photos on Twitter, which denotes a photograph that hasn’t been retouched.

The good news is that you can search hashtags in the WordPress.com Reader, too. Try out nofilter, or the ever-popular selfie.

And now, over to you

Tell us about your experiences in tagging posts: which have you found most effective in attracting new readers? Which tags helped you discover great new blogs? Under which tags are you finding an active community?

*Remember posts tagged with a combination of more than 15 tags and categories are removed from the Reader to ensure that tags contain relevant content. You can use any combination of tags and categories, as long as the total count doesn’t exceed the magic number 15.


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Krista

52 Comments

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  1. verbiageorwhat

    Would it seem too redundant to tag a post with synonyms? e.g., cinema, film, movies? To me it seems that ‘movies’ would be more sought-out by readers but that word has a distinctly different feel to the word ‘cinema’. Do any film review bloggers have any thoughts on this?

    Like

    • trailerseternity

      Hi,
      I’m not necessarily a film review blogger, but I do blog about movies in a different way. Yeah, I recommend using the ‘movies’ tag on your posts because that word registers with the general public more. However, adding ‘cinema’ and ‘film’ as tags isn’t bad either because you never know who might be searching those terms out. Remember that everyone’s different and if tagging different terms won’t hurt, it will only help! :)

      Like

  2. christrocks

    I didn’t realize that the fifteen tag limit included categories! Thanks for mentioning that, I’ve probably been exceeding the limit.

    Like

  3. Temporary Variable

    Well written! Is there any secret tag to get featured in “Freshly Pressed” ? :)

    Like

  4. Novembre Pleut

    Just a few comments:

    WordPress can show what tags are being written about most but is there anyway that it can show which tags are being read the most.

    I also find when I tag some of my work, it doesn’t come up in my reader and this is only with a couple of tags attached.

    Is there anyway to separate out normal tagging from generic section organising, it feels odd I have to use up tags just to sort out posts on my own blog, if you see what I mean?

    Like

    • Krista

      At the moment, there’s no way to find our which tags are being read most widely.

      Searching your posts via tags and the Reader can be tricky at times. If there are a lot of posts using the same tag, you may need to do some scrolling to find your posts.

      For general section organizing, I’d suggest using categories. Categories tend to be broader in scope, whereas tags are more specific to the topic at hand. For example, I use a category called Reading 2014 on one of my sites to organize all the books I’ve read so far this year. Tags you’ll find on my site alongside that category include book titles, book authors, as well as locations in some instances.

      Like

  5. The Om Room

    Thank you for the reminder. I’ve re-checked my blogs and added a few. I’ve been using them for a while now but had no idea when I first started what they were. I love that you can go in and update them whenever you want to.

    Like

  6. Matthew Taylor

    I don’t think my tagging has been very effective so far, even though I’m using all the tips and tricks. I’ve browsed the popular tags in my Reader to find which tags I could tap into to draw more traffic. I see tags like “blog,” “people” and “top stories” which don’t seem very descriptive to me. And there’s the tag “Yolanda Adams” (1,495 recent posts). Maybe I should write more about Yolanda Adams, whoever that is.

    Like

  7. C.B. Dixon

    Thank you for your post.
    I am still learning about wordpress and don’t have my tagging down. I didn’t know about the ‘magic 15′, good to know. Do tags also help it show up on google?
    Cheers!

    Like

  8. suesconsideredtrifles

    I find blogging, Bible, humour, humor, parenting and words are fairly popular tags. I imagine people use search engines for more specific subject matter. Sue

    Like

  9. aborrowedbackpack

    Typo?
    “You can (???) any combination of tags and categories, as long as the total count doesn’t exceed the magic number 15.”

    Like

  10. Shane Francescut

    Thanks for the amazingly helpful post Krista!

    I’ve taken what I’ve read from you and other WordPress tipsters, and tried my best to incorporate that info into my blog as much as possible.

    Personally, I’ve found that deciding on just a few categories and tags has been greatly helpful in determining what my readers latch on to, and I see the results in my stats. I have also put some thought into my tag names early on, and limited them to just a few, but relevant words. For example – #toronto #streetphotography #nikon #monochrome, etc.

    I put thought into the tags I like to search by, and used those tags in my posts… where relevant.

    Thanks for the post, and thanks so much for using my work as an example… I’m supremely humbled :)

    Like

  11. Chelle

    I was wondering what the differences were between the categories and the tags?

    Like

  12. Lic. María Raiti

    When tagging I tend to form short sentences, such as “how to develop child authonomy”. Reading this I am now thinking my tags may be too long and by no way they will be appering in the Reader. Am I right?

    Like

    • Krista

      Short sentences might be a little long. Consider that to find that your post in the Reader, another user would have to search the tag, “how to develop child autonomy,” which is unlikely. A more effective tag might be “child autonomy.”

      Like

  13. claudiajustsaying

    Magic 15, that I’ll remember. I change my tags and categories with every post depending on what I’m writing about, is that the way to go?

    Like

  14. Erin Kurnik

    Thank you so much for this! I am refining my tagging. At first, I misunderstood tagging and thought it was for the search engine and also used too many tags :-( My question is, can a single tag contain more than one word, such as “going green” , “new habits”, etc. ?

    Like

    • Krista

      Yes, tags can have two words or more. For example, one of the tags I follow in the Reader is “Internet Culture.” I also follow “Game of Thrones,” “Creative Nonfiction,” and others such as “Chinese New Year.”

      Like

  15. iyengar6459

    Thanks Krista. I have never tried tagging to my posts. will have try it out that I have read your article.

    Like

  16. ywwp

    thanks for writing on tags. i will do audit for the tags i mentioned for my posts, and will update it. I hope this will help me get more audience.

    Like

  17. Little Miss Menopause

    I am confused. My “reader” only shows the blogs of people I follow? Is there another “reader” that is showing all of WordPress??

    Like

    • Krista

      The post from Blogs You Follow are what you see as the default when you visit the Reader. You can also search any tag of interest. (There’s a search dialogue on the right-hand side you can use to search tags. Once you enter a tag, it remains in your sidebar (click on the “X” to remove it) and you can then click on that tag to see what’s new since you last checked it. Additionally, you can click on the “Explore” link next to the Tags list to see a tag cloud of what’s popular on WordPress.com.

      You can also follow any blog in the Reader (the blog doesn’t have to be on WordPress.com). Here’s how:

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/following/#follow-a-blog-not-on-wordpress-com

      Like

  18. John Vanormelingen

    Browsing through the replies to this post, it appears that many WordPress users were unaware of that 15-tag/category limit – me included.

    Hmmm… if there is a limitation of more than 15 tags and categories combined, shouldn’t the WordPress software warn/notify me *proactively* automatically that my post will be removed from the Reader when exceeding that limit (rather than finding out months later by accidentally stumbling upon this blogpost)? Cheers, John

    Like

  19. kishanpro2014

    Great info, not aware of the point that tags should not exceed 15. Thank you.

    Like

  20. alexandrairina

    I am new to WP. This is helpful, thank you :)

    Like

  21. Wordscroll

    Thank you for stressing the fifteen rule! My blog was pretty much invisible for a year until a few weeks ago when I read that rule. I made an immediate change and within an hour had four new followers. Wow, who knew?!

    Like

  22. jpeggytaylor

    I’m a fan of tags and categories on my blog … though I was under the misapprehension that the magic “15” referred to tags alone – I hadn’t understood that it included categories too. I think I’d better go and do some counting …. :)

    Like

  23. freidasuniula

    Hi Krista! Thanks for the info. I’m new to WordPress so am looking forward to writing and connecting. The tagging sounds handy for that. Thanks xo

    Like

  24. Niejan

    A good way to attract new readers is to connect your WordPress to Tumblr, and then let the tags work their magic.

    Like

  25. Shelley

    Well let me see, I’ve tried humour, funny, comedy, family, writing, added Rv’ing and travel, and most recently, photography. Not to mention where I’ve travelled, and the activities. Too much??? :)

    Like

  26. kyleeorriss

    I love this post about sharing interests. WordPress is a great communication channel for different people to connect over what interests them. You’d be surprised how many people you have common interests with, no matter how bizarre!

    Like

  27. chikadestiny

    I just started blogging and I don’t really know the rules but reading this article was very helpful ( I know not to exceed 15 tags). Thanks

    Like

  28. Joan T Warren

    I never knew categories were included in the total, either. I wondered why I had so little show in the reader! If I go back and delete tags and categories, will older posts show up in the reader now?

    Like

    • Ben Huberman

      Yes — if you bring the total of your tags and categories to under 15, these posts would no longer be invisible in the Reader.

      Like

      • Joan T Warren

        Okay, thanks. Done. Although they are pretty old so it’s not like anyone reads that far back in the reader. It explains, though, why I have had such a slow start this year–at least in part. :-)

        Like

  29. MartinAus

    I’m enjoying blogging, I’m a big wordpress fan, and I’m still learning about tags and how to use wordpress better. I’m working really hard on making my blog worthwhile and well researched so I really appreciate reading others comments as well as posts like this. Thanks for posting!

    Like

  30. ridwan sunaryo

    Thanks very much for the reminder, very helpfull. and of course, i’ll refine some of mine :)

    Like

  31. chris39robinson

    I’m new to WordPress and blogging! Great to know the importance of tags from this article, and from readers comments. Thank you!

    Like

  32. d1zzlefoshiz

    Thanks for the info. :)

    Like

  33. lucysmilesaway

    Excellent post! Awesome info, cheers.
    Seems like nobody knew about the magic fifteen (myself included), perhaps this is something WordPress should make clearer?

    Like

  34. Claris Kapi

    Love it, very helpfull!!

    Like

  35. SmokeMasterAllenD

    Thanks a ton for this post. I need all of the tagging advice that I can get! It’s so nice that it is provided professionally and for free! Thanks again!

    Like

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