Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to Use Labels on Blogger Blog Posts

Using post labels correctly is one of the things that I wish someone had told me when I started my first blog.

Note - on other blogging platforms, "labels" might be called "tags" or "categories", but they're basically the same thing.

When I was just starting out, I read an article that said you should use a lot of labels for each post to help search engines find them, but that's wrong. Here's the problem with using a bunch of different labels every time you post - you wind up with dozens of labels after only a few months. When you have that many labels, it's difficult for readers to navigate your blog and find the topics they're looking for. Instead, before you publish your post, think about one or two terms that best describe the topic.

Use Labels to Organize Blog Posts 

When you first start your blog, think about which labels you want to use for all your posts. For example, if your blog is about your favorite TV show, think about which fifteen topics you might want a label for. You might want a label for each main character, each season ("season 1", "season 2", etc.), a label called "awards", and so on.

Remember, the point of having labels is to divide your posts into categories. That way, it's easy to find and read everything you've written on a particular topic. The idea is to assign one or two labels per post and have no more than about twenty labels total. Also, most blogging experts recommend that a label be no more than three words (one word is best). You don't have to decide on all the labels at this point - just have a general idea of how you want to categorize your future posts.

If you look at the right sidebar on this blog, you'll see I have a widget titled "Labels", and after one month I only have six labels. (I started this blog on Jan. 6, 2013.) I tried to keep the topics fairly broad so I don't have to constantly create new labels for each post. I want to keep Bloggerz Tips nice and organized, so I'm being careful about how I label posts. By the way, you should know that labels aren't written in stone. You can always change the labels that you've assigned to posts.

Add a Gadget for "Labels"

Help your readers find other posts you've written by adding a gadget that lists all your labels. Some people also think a label gadget helps search engines crawl your site, which is a good thing indeed.

screenshot of label gadget, bloggerz tips
Screenshot of "Label" Gadget (click to enlarge)

It's easy to add a label gadget to a Blogger blog - 

  1. Go to your blog dashboard.
  2. Click "Layout".
  3. Click "Add a Gadget".
  4. On the pop-up window, scroll down til you find "Labels".
  5. Click the "+" symbol.
  6. Go back to the dashboard.
  7. On the "Layout" menu, drag and drop the label gadget to wherever you want it.
  8. Click "Save Arrangement" in the top, right corner. 

Key Points about Blogger Labels 

  • They help organize your blog
  • They make blog navigation easier
  • You should have no more than twenty labels for the entire blog
  • They should not be longer than three words
Of course, Google has support pages that give the basics of creating labels, but they don't give advice about how many you should create.

I hope the tips I listed here are helpful. Has this post given you ideas about how you'll organize your labels? Let me know how you use labels on your blog.