Imagine trying to shop on Amazon without any search options. You might be able to find what you were looking for if you knew exactly what it was, but otherwise you would be in for a frustrating and possibly fruitless endeavor. Its refined degree of structure keeps the place functional, and the same is needed for any reasonably sized website. Keeping your growing collection of content navigable is easily possible with proper usage of categories and tags.
So how do we cat-and-tag things the right way? Let’s say your website is about movies. You could have a section for industry news, a section for previews, and of course a section for movie reviews. These would make excellent categories that you would decide upon before adding in most of the site’s content.
Then consider all the things that would overlap those sections. This is where tags come into play. The tags could be about any number of topics including movie studios, names of actors, or genres of film. Tags naturally evolve as content evolves, so it’s less important to worry about them early on. In fact, it can be difficult to know what your tags will turn out to be until you have a decent amount of content.
Categories work from the top-down and tags work from the bottom-up. Following this rule and being diligent with labeling will make your library of information a pleasure to sort through. Even the best resource will be abandoned without logical navigation, because good substance and good structure go hand in hand.