The arrival of the new year means it’s clean-up time–for your house, your garden, and for your topic pages! With legislative sessions around the corner in most of our states, we want our tag buildouts and topic pages ready and clear so that our audience can find your content easily.
So let’s review what our founding parents said about topic pages, or tag buildouts:
1. New tag buildouts/topic pages
To get started, read Elise’s post “What, Why and How on Tag Buildouts“. The post includes a video that tells you how to build a new topic page.
2. Managing your tags
Use Matt Thompson’s post “How to classify your posts & manage your tags” as a reference to manage your tags. Here’re some highlights.
The best tags are the discrete entities (i.e. specific individuals and organizations) named in your posts. In general, it’s best to use full names rather than abbreviations. Instead of tagging posts with “Obama,” use “Barack Obama.” It’ll look better as the title to a topic page, and it will aid search engine optimization.
It helps to start off by creating a set of tags you know will be salient to your beat, and thinking through which types of posts each tag would apply to. For every site, we’ve asked the editors to do this work in advance, so you should have a good list to start from.
In addition, try to avoid overlap or redundancy in your tags. If you’re producing a site about organized labor, you want to avoid having a tag for “bargaining” and another for “negotiations.” Having two overlapping tags dilutes your search engine optimization and increases the likelihood that neither topic page will represent an authoritative view of the topic in question.
In order to avoid overlaps in your tags, use WordPress’ “auto-suggest” and “most used tags” features. After you start to type a few letters into the “Add New Tags” input box, WordPress will suggest options from your existing tags that match what you’ve typed.
Most importantly, be consistent and disciplined in your tagging.
3. Merge and delete tags
If you found your tags don’t fit Matt Thompson’s rules on tags, or if you’ve discovered that you have overlapping tags (gasp!), it’s time to do some cleaning. To that end, here’s a quick tutorial on merging and deleting tags.
There. Now doesn’t that feel good to get that done?