I mentioned being organised in my last post, but I didn’t actually talk about organising of the actual blogposts themselves. I use WordPress so I’ll mostly write from that perspective here, but I imagine other blog sites would be similar.
Give the posts (and visitors!) some structure
A long time ago, maybe around the first anniversary of this blog, I cottoned onto the idea that I should be categorising my blogs posts to make them more manageable. I chose to use the categories feature to sort posts by the name of the MMORPG(s) that each applied to – this blog has been overwhelmingly about onling gaming to date. The benefits to doing this simple box ticking exercise when writing each new post, are twofold. As content creator I can easily filter older posts by category to see what I’ve written about in the past – that may sound unnecessary if you’re new to blogging, but I now have over 1600 posts to sort through. Also, I guess at least, it’s useful for visitors to the blog to have easy links to narrow down posts to their own interests. Many gamers are more focused in their pursuits than I, so I imagine this allows them to focus on what appeals to them.
Categories and tags
At the time of implementing categories, back around 2012, I thought the idea of categorising and tagging posts seemed like redundancy. It may be that it still is, depending on how varied and complex a blogs content is. As I have read it categories are for broad areas of content, tags for more specific topics. So rather than organise everything under Gaming then the name of the MMO as categories. I could have had a category for MMORPG and then tags for each of the games. Equally I could stick to the current use of categories but add ‘meta-tags’ to allow for a parallel categorisation of posts along the lines of screenshots, gameplay, industry commentary etc.
I’m thinking of using Blaugust as an excuse to increase my tabletop RPG post output, that means this kind of organisation will be more important as my output and readership has been 99% focused on online gaming to date.
As a consequence it’s something I’m considering as I write this but, the thought of tagging all those old posts to ‘upgrade’ all my historical posts to the new organisation doesn’t fill me with joy. My point here is that any structure is better than none, but that your blog may outgrow this structure someday!
Presentation on the site
Finally you need to ensure that your blog actually presents the organisational information in a useful way to visitors – so that they can benefit as much as you. Having a categories menu as a sidebar gives readers one way of navigating through content. The category link(s) within each post also allows them to “find something similar”: in WordPress these appear womewhere within a post as a “This entry was posted in …” text (my template places them underneath the post).
For quite a while I chose to prepended the title of each post with a tag-like hint at the game I was writing about, e.g. GW2: leveling away. Back in November last year I decided to start using Twitter-inspired hashtags in the title instead; in a sense these repeat the categories I’m already using, but I do look at what hashtags the developers of a game or the fanbase are using and that spelling might be different from my own self-made category list. This is just another way to add organisation to your posts and to make it easier for readers to find what they’re most interested in.