I LOVE to organize. My shoes, my dresses, my old papers from school, pictures, my partner’s fishing lures and computer cords and even the spices in my pantry. It’s a little embarrassing but I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. If I know about a drawer that is unorganized I think about it.
In my early 20’s I got a job as a secretary for a company who made chairs in the early days for Starbucks before they ruled the world. I lied and told them I had worked for years as a secretary and somehow got the job.
My main task was to keep things organized. So fun right?
I got SO into it and had a filing system that used subcategories for my subcategories but when I was asked to find information, like a description of one of their products (with pictures) for a potential client my boss was talking to on the phone, it took me way too long to find the information, and by the time I was able to put it on his desk the call was long over. I couldn’t remember my super complicated system and eventually lost their entire database.
No small surprise – they fired my ass.
But it taught me the very valuable lesson that systems and groupings of information needs to be simple, solid and, most important, retrievable.
Websites are the same – you need to be able to group content so that you can easily find information and make it easy for visitors to search through the site’s content. How you organize the content within a website is key to the user experience (UX) and keeps a site running efficiently.
If you are using a developer (like moi) you don’t have to understand the taxonomy details but you have to understand the overall idea that the content you generate needs to live inside of some kind of system so that you can retrieve it and integrate it into a page.
That’s where categories and tags come in. WordPress has two very popular taxonomies that people use on a regular basis: categories and tags (in addition to the custom ones). Knowing this is powerful because it means when you create content you will know what grouping it will be filed with so you can grow that page because it’s easily pulled in and out of a page.
Like categories, tags help organize the posts on your site, as well as provide searchable keywords that make it easier for users to find your content. Tags are simply keywords and phrases that are associated with each piece of content. For a single piece of content, they let the audience quickly understand the important concepts captured in the content. In aggregate, they provide a powerful way to spot recent trends by viewing the most popular tags.
These systems that people use to organize content on their website are called taxonomies. It’s one of those things that everyone use, but they do not know that they are using it. It’s a scary word but one that just means how you group your content.
Organizing still makes me super happy but I develop focus on simple systems. One of the most important things that I do for my clients is organize their content. It often overwhelms them but I let them just sit back and chat to me about what they do and then am able to come up with systems, not like when I was 20 and worked as an inexperienced secretary but as a developer with lots of experience who has done this over and over again.