Tag, You’re It

I’m afraid I may have been leading people a bit astray on the usefulness of tags.  I had always thought of tags as a way for people to navigate within your site.  For example, if I meet someone at a meeting and then later they come to this site, they could look at my tag cloud to get a snapshot of the site’s content, and they could use the tag cloud to find old posts that they might be interested in.  However, talking with Mica recently, and reading around the wordpress help pages made me realize that tags are also an effective way to get NEW readers to your site.  So, continuing the “how do we get more traffic on Jblogger blogs?” thread, here are some thoughts about tags (and keywords, but “Tag and Keyword, You’re It” didn’t really work as a catchy title).

First of all, tags are one way that people might find your blog.  Because of this, you might want to use more general tags, like John Jay, or freshman year, on lots of posts, so that if someone is searching wordpress for these tags, your blog comes up.  WordPress suggests only having 5-10 categories, tags, or a combination of the two, so don’t go crazy with this, but it might be something to consider…

Second, I would suggest registering your blog with Google’s Webmaster Tools (click here for wordpress directions for how to do this – you will need a google account).  Webmaster tools give you even more stats than you get on your dashboard, and they can be really helpful because they show you what google sees when it crawls your site.  For example, for Jbloggers.wordpress,com, the keywords that google picks up are “blog,” “post,” “wordpress,” and then a little further down “john” and “jay.”  That’s not so great, since I these are very generic words that will never lead a searcher to my site.  So, something for me to think about is what words would someone be searching who I would want to find my blog, and then I need to start using those words more and more.  I am still learning about SEO (apparently that stands for “Search Engine Optimization”) and for the Jbloggers site it’s not really a concern for me, since my audience is really people who I work with and know the site because I tell them about it, but for some of you Jbloggers who want to build your audience you might want to snoop around the Webmaster Tools site for their getting started info.

Finally, here are some thoughts on expanding your audience from another wordpress-er whose blog was freshly pressed today.  I promise I am not linking to it just because the blogger agrees with a lot of the stuff I’ve been saying.  I’ll keep thinking about this issue – and if you have any ideas, please comment!

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