When I reorganized my website and blog earlier this year, I redid the categories that I had used for five years in my older, now-archived blog. They seemed reasonable given what I usually wrote about. I went intothis morning and looked at those categories and discovered that some of them had no entries at all. That is, I had designed the categories based on what I thought I would need rather than adding them as necessary. This was probably a 90% successful exercise.
I deleted those unused categories but it got me thinking about tags and categories for the blog. In truth, this has bugged me from time to time since 2004 when I began blogging. I decided I was doing something fundamentally wrong.
My error, though this might not be a problem for you, was that each blog entry could be in multiple categories and have multiple tags. This was made even worse by my daily links which threw a lot of tags and category usage into the mix, making it harder to find the core entries in, say, the Linux category.
So my new philosophy is that each entry will be in only one category. I’ve renamed some of them and have a designated one now called “Daily Links.” Over time I’ll tighten up the tags, but I will still use them more liberally. However, tags that are used in only one or two entries probably aren’t that useful, so I may delete them.
For all my attention to categories and tags, I know that the real way people find things on the blog is through search, either the one on each blog page, or one of the big external search engines. The categories and tags do go into the meta tags in the HTML, so better discipline should lead to more accurate search results.