At first glance, there is not a lot of differences between WordPress tags and categories, but once you become familiar with them you will learn that EACH HAVE THEIR TIME AND PLACE. In this article, I am going to clear up any questions or confusion you may have about Categories vs Tags in WordPress.
Which is the Best Option for Sorting Content on Your Site?
While this may seem like a tough decision, let me make it easy for you. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS RELY ON CATEGORIES AS YOUR MAIN SORTING AND ORGANIZATIONAL METHOD because tags were never designed to be the central organizational pillar of a WordPress site.
I do like tag clouds on some websites, but I strongly prefer a well thought out category hierarchy to the haphazard nature of navigating through a wall of tags. I'm not alone in this line of thinking, so lets explore the purpose and intended use cases for tags and categories.
What Was the Original Purpose of Each Type of Taxonomy.
Categories were included in WordPress so that you can make descriptive categories that define the topic of your page or post. For example, a website dedicated to sports might have categories for football, baseball, basketball and hockey. CATEGORIES ARE MEANT FOR LARGE GROUPS OF POSTS.
TAGS WERE CREATED SO THAT YOU COULD ADD AS MANY KEYWORDS AS NEEDED TO PROPERLY DESCRIBE YOUR POST. In addition, they are also a way to insure that your post includes all the relevant search terms for the post, even if the article doesn't explicitly mention those terms in the text. Finally, they serve as one of the best ways to link related content together so that related pages and posts have a direct association through any shared tags.
How Do You Add These Items To Your Post & Site in WordPress?
YOU CAN ADD CATEGORIES AND TAGS TO YOUR WORDPRESS PAGES AND POSTS DIRECTLY FROM THE EDITOR. If you're using Gutenberg or the classic editor, you will find the Categories & Tags on the right sidebar of the editor.
Regarding displaying tags and categories on your website, that is dependent on your theme. Depending on your theme, it is generally easy to add category and tag widgets to your sidebar. Just go to wp-admin > Appearance > Widgets and then drag the Categories widget and the Tag Cloud widget into your sidebar.
How many tags should you have on each post?
Tags are for any subject covered in the post that doesn't already have representation. YOU SHOULD INCLUDE ANY TAG YOU CAN THINK OF THAT IS RELEVANT TO THE ARTICLE. Going back to our sports blog example, let say you wrote an article on the 1956 Boston Red Sox roster. You may want to add tags such as their star players Ted Williams, Jackie Jenson, and Mickey Vernon, as well as terms such as Roster, the year 1956 and any other phrase you believe may be recurring on your site.