Categorizing blog posts

How important is it to categorize blog posts?

I ask this question because during the redesign process my blog and there were several features offered by the Wordpress that I have left out in this new version. Namely date grouping and tags. I’ve already stopped categorizing my entries as of late due to lack of remembering to do so. Looking at the logs almost nobody has ever clicked on a tag and very few people search by date. I suspect most people who view by date are just going into the past of my blog and seeing what else I’ve written about. Is discovery that important? Quite a few of the blog posts in my past are horribly out of date.

Tags

Almost every tag is so generic that they cover most every blog post. c# for instance is basically every post I’ve made since I’ve started this blog. parrot only applies to a handleful of posts that I’ve made in the recent history. MVC is another tag that covers a lot of posts. Maybe I’m not diligent in tagging my posts to be more descriptive but how descriptive does one need to be? I can get to the point where each post has a tag that covers it and probably no other post but that wouldn’t help. Having tags that cover almost every post is also no help to the user.

Dates

With the speed that things are changing in the dev world I’ve noticed some blog posts are out of date within months of posting them or I’ve found better ways and probably wrote a new blog post to cover that method. Does this mean that having an archive is pointless? Why would you go back in time to read articles that are no longer of any use to anyone. For me it’s a bit of nostalgia to look back and go “wow…I was really naive then”. But to the general user older posts seem to be of no use. Maybe it’s me. Maybe my blog posts are too specific. I look at someone like Hanselman’s blog and a lot of his articles are relevant today as they were 3-4 years ago when they were posted. Sure, some are very specific and may not be relevant but I could probably go back in his history and find something that I could post on twitter today and people will still get use out of it.

My Conclusion

Both tags and date could be served by search. Since my blog is currently a static site that search would have to come from Google/Bing. Each article most likely already has a good tag keyword embedded in the content already. A proper sitemap and RSS feed with published datetime will help Google/Bing/Yahoo/Other to order your posts by date and relevance. As of this point I plan on adding a search box to Google. This may or may not be the right answer. The size of my blog probably has a lot to do with it. If it was more trafficked it might be a good idea. But analytics aren’t showing me that they’re relevant or useful.

I hope to solicit the community for advice on which way to go.

-Ben Dornis

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