I’ve moved a lot of people from Blogger to WordPress. When doing so, I usually go through and convert most of their old “labels” to tags, because by default they’re all set as categories, but really most of them should be tags. When doing so, I get a good glimpse of what peoples’ tags look like. More often than not, they’re a mess!
The point of tags is to create relationships between your posts
If I tag something as “Contemporary”, then the goal is to associate that post with other “Contemporary” posts (books). That way, when someone clicks on the “Contemporary” tag, they can immediately see every single post with a “Contemporary” tag.
But if you tag different posts with different spellings of the same word, you lose your relationships!
Here’s an example of some of the different tags I’ve seen on the same blog:
- book blast
- book blitz
- chic lit
- chick lit
- comtemporary (typo)
- in my mailbox
What’s the problem? Well, half of your “chick lit” posts are tagged with chick lit and the other half are tagged with chic lit. That means your posts are divided. If someone clicks on the “Chick Lit” label, they’re not seeing all your chick lit posts, they’re only seeing half!
This is clearly a case of the blogger not checking to see what their existing tags are before adding new ones. There are typos, some tags are plural but some aren’t, etc. This results in your posts not being connected properly.
I challenge you to clean up your tags!
Go through your tags and delete all the duplicates, the typos, or the similar tags. For example, I think book blast and book blitz could go under the same tag (or category).
Using WordPress? There’s a quick way to do this!
There’s a super fast and easy method for cleaning up your categories and tags in WordPress. Go to Posts » Tags (or Categories) and find the tag you want to merge with another. On the right, you should see the number of posts with that tag. Click the number. This will take you to a list of all the posts with that tag.
If your results span multiple pages, then in the top right, click on Screen Options and change the number of posts to the number of results you have. Then click Apply.
Now you’ll be seeing all the posts on one page. Then, click on the checkbox in the top left to select every single post. Then, above that, click on the Bulk Actions dropdown and select Edit. Then click Apply.
Now you’ll be able to edit every single post at once! Simply type in the tag you want to apply to the post (the tag you’re keeping) in the Tags box. Then click Update, and you’re done! Now you can go back and delete the tag you want to remove.
For the future: always check your existing tags
When you add tags to your post, don’t just start typing at random. Type slowly and wait for WordPress to prompt you with existing tags. That way you can ensure that you use existing tags whenever you can instead of creating new ones with different spelling variations (or typos!).