Since Wordpress official introduced tags, there is a question what to do with categories?

I think that tags are very flexible and also somehow naturally to use, you don’t have to think very carefully which should be taken, and which was used before, you just tag it with firs you get in mind. Tagging or labeling is something natural to humans. Everybody has normally meanings about things in his near environment, we used to label every thing, even then when we don’t really understand them. So tags seems to be more universal and could even completely make usage of categories redundant.


However I think to pass on categories is not so good, because we can treat tags and categories for different semantic purpose. Let me try to build on this. There are two main properties of category, that discern them from tags.

  • Classification
  • Hierarchies

What I mean by Classification? Usually you think about your category structure at the introduction of the blog. So you take time and divide your further articles wilful in some categories. That helps yourself and your readers to find only such articles that are from their interest. So your classify all your post in some careful considered categories.

Further categories enable building semantically hierarchies in this classification, because you can build sub-categories (with Wordpress at least), even big category trees (btw. sounds not as good idea to me). However that makes categories to something different as tags. Categories should be more stable over time and also be on top of your classification hierarchy.


To me the solution is a symbiosis of both concepts. I think categories should not try to copy the flexibility of tags, categories should keep tags in order with small well considered category set. In other words i propose the use of categories as coarse grained classification of blog articles and fine grained flexible classification or labeling of articles with tags.

Example Restructuring of my blog

I begun to write in this blog before tags became standard in Wordpress, so i tried to categorize my articles only, this led to such categories:

  • Database Systems

  • Distributed systems

  • eCommerce

  • General

  • Hardware

  • Humour

  • IT Architecture

  • Java

  • Software

    • IDEs
    • Scripts
    • Servers
  • Web Development

    • Ajax
    • Css
    • JavaScript
    • PHP
    • Semantic Web
    • XML (XHTML)
  • Web2.0

  • Wordpress

    • Plug-Ins

Well ant that is definitely to much. Some of them can be easy be cowered through tags. So i decide to build only such categories:

  • Internet

    • CMS
    • Web development
    • SEO
    • Blogging
      • Wordpress
  • IT Architecture

    • Software Engineering
      • Java
  • Business Informatics

  • Software

  • Hardware

  • Humour

  • Personal

  • Off Topic

Fine granularity will be managed with tags. Thank you for reading. I begin with restructuring now. ;)

Update Dez 2015: Most information here is outdated. Post left here for history…