A Question For Bloggers

Folders Icon with variations of colorsIf you’re not a blogger, this is probably not the post for you because I’m seeking opinions from others who run their own blogs, or at least have good suggestions.  See, way back when I restarted this blog a couple of years ago, I ran a blog that appealed to several different sensibilities.  Of course, my primary reason was the absurdity of religion, but I also talked about a lot of politics and I also had my little geeky corner where I talked about other stuff that appealed to me and probably nobody else.  Since then, I have spun off the geeky stuff into a separate blog, but I’ve continued with the atheist and political stuff.

My question today regards categories.  This will make sense mostly to people who use WordPress for their blogging software of choice, but I suppose just about anyone can have an opinion on it.  When I re-started the blog, I didn’t really have a plan on how to construct my categories. I just started  building more and more and more categories and sub-categories as time has gone on and this has, to be perfectly honest, gotten unwieldy.  This problem is twofold and quite mutually contradictory so let me back up a little.

On the one hand, I think I have a lot of categories available, even though I think they are horribly organized.  I’ve accepted that I’m stuck with all the geeky categories because I didn’t move all of those posts to the other blog and never will, it’s just too much work and therefore, people will continue to come here to read the old posts, thus the categories stay.  I’m really just stuck with how to properly organize and/or categorize the posts though and that leads to another problem…

On the other hand, I think I don’t have enough categories available.  I’d really like people to be able to find different articles on different subjects easily, but if you look at my list of categories, most of those have a huge number of articles.  There are 247 articles in the “atheism” category, for instance, and while they are all at least tangentially about atheism, that’s probably a lot to page through for someone interested in just some aspect of atheism.  The same is true of religion.  I don’t even have a way to split up between general-purpose religion posts and posts specifically on one religion.  And then there’s politics, where I had a couple of sub-categories but mostly, everything just falls into the catch-all “politics” category.

I eventually put all of my categories in a pull-down because I thought the list was both too long and too short to really be of much use.  Every time I write a new post, and as most know, I write a ton of them, I cringe every time I have to pick a category or categories for it to fall into. I need a new plan and I’ll be damned if I even know where to start.

So how do you handle your categories?  Do you have a ton of them?  A few?  Do you rely more on tags (which are also a mess IMO)? How do you let readers know that there are more things they might want to look at, without having to do a ton of extra work on every post?  I’d like to actually put my categories out where they’re visible again, assuming I can find a way to do it right.  I’m open to ideas, suggestions and any help that you can give, especially the mental process you go through, or went through, when you set up your system.  Right now, it’s just driving me crazy.

Thanks all!

5 thoughts on “A Question For Bloggers

  1. That's a tough one. We all seem to use categories/labels differently. I have no idea what the optimal number is, but I'd guess that you are close to it. Too many seems to defeat the purpose a bit and make it harder to wade through; too few isn't helpful. This really is a great question and one I've wondered about many times.

    My recent post Is Separation of Church and State Still Relevant?

    1. Maybe I'm just a neat freak but I really want to have a plan in place and I can't even think of a reasonable plan for this and apparently, nobody else can either. 🙂 I just feel like nobody who is looking for a particular post will be able to find it but maybe I'm overthinking things.

  2. I use tags myself to categorize. It is messy, but it works for the reader that has read the post and is looking for something similar to just click the appropriate tag.

    The second thing I have is a tab dedicated to websites I find I am often debunking. This however I am not sure if its for me or for readers. It seems to be not used very often according to stats.
    My recent post Creationists and the meta-information fallacy

    1. I just hate messy and I feel like that's all that the category system is. What's worse, SEO, as worthless as it is for a non-commercial blog, whines every time you use the same key words. Every time I use "atheism" for instance, it says "you've used that key word 9 billion times"! Yup, I write a lot about atheism, get over it! SEO is so pointless for non-commercial blogs.

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