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To be honest, if you dropped by my house for a cup of tea today I would be the last person you would categorize as “organized” — ever since taking up the Murphy-Goode application process I have *harrumph* neglected more than just those dust bunnies who are happily reproducing in every nook and cranny.  However I do hope you stick around my blog and learn a bit about virtual “organization” with me.

I received an email request for some lessons on “tags” — how to use them, what benefit they have etc.  So I quickly realized that this might actually interest some of my readers.  Let us start with the essentials:

What is a tag?

It’s really simple. Tags are keywords you can use to organize your posts and make it easier to find what you’re looking for, especially when you have tons of stuff on your site. Using tags is similar to using folders on your computer to organize your documents. The main difference between folders and tags is that a document can only be in one folder, but you can categorize a post using many different tags, by adding multiple tags to a single post.

Example 1 — if you have your own URL:

For a great wine blog example of organization, hop on over to Caveman Wines — just pick any post and if you can actually scroll down to the bottom (ok, you may also read the post 😉 ) to the “tags”, and hit one… you will see how this helps the reader to find stuff as well as helps Mike keep his sight clean and accessible:  a user friendly layout.

Example 2 — if you have a wp.com blog:

If you click around here on my blog, you will notice that a wp.com blog does have a different structure:  the “categories” are what keeps the *blog only* structure, whereas the “tags” take you to all wp.com tags.  A great example can be found over at the not so cluttered blog of Todd Havens — check The Average Wine Consumer and hit the tag “Ashley Bellview” and you will see how a wp.com blogger can use tags to reach an even broader community than their own readers.

Example 3 — the blogspot solution:

Rarely do I find blogspot to do something better than wordpress, however I do like how they solve the “tag” issue by keeping it all “in the blog” — meaning blogspot tags work just like in example 1.  For an example of this hop on over to Ashley Bellview’s A Really Goode Girl and have a look at her tags.

Summary of playing tag

Not only do tags help you organize your stuff so it’s easy to find things, they also make it more fun and interesting to visit someone else’s site. Suppose you saw Caveman’s write up about his guest post here and read it.  Maybe you agree with Mike that this is just the beginning of a wonderful wine web2.0 era so you clicked on The Talking Stick tag when you saw it. You’d have seen all those tons of other wine pr-related posts  that you might not have otherwise known about without taking time to look around Mike’s site.

So off you go to greater blog success!

Hopefully this gives you a good idea of how tags work. If you have a question about tags that wasn’t covered here, feel free to catch me in the comments.