Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Do I need labels / tags for this blog?

A reader wrote me and said he would prefer if my blog had tags, called labels on Blogger, where you click on lets say the WAR label to see all my posts about WAR. The reason I don't have those is that Blogger didn't have the option when I started the blog. While it would be easy enough to start now, I'm so no going back through 2,200 old blog posts to add labels, that would take forever. So do you think that it would be a good idea for me to add labels anyway, even if they only cover my new posts?

If yes, I'm looking for suggestions about what labels to use, beyond the obvious like WoW and WAR. I don't think it would be a good idea to have a label for every minor game, otherwise I get a too long list of labels. What do you think of an "other games" label? And I was wondering whether I should group my more theoretical posts that aren't really about one specific game into some "game theory" label. Suggestions about whether and how to tag my posts are welcome!
Well, google does already let us do a search such as "WAR site:". So in my opinion, if you do not want to spend too much effort on this, just use general tags for such as "game theory", "economics", etc. and skip tagging every post with the game name.

Tags IMHO are nice to have on a blog, but not really mandatory. Especially when that blog is dedicated to one subject. Now if your blog covered both games and other subjects, I think tags would be in that case really helpful.
Yes you should.
It is an easy way to separate posts, and it brings in readers via searches.
I love to read your blog and yes, I came here while I was searching the information for WAR. However, your other blogs such as Wizard101 and Spore are funny and interesting. Definately worth reading. Personally, I feel its okay for the shape right now.
Tags would be a great addition. While it's true that using google's site search feature works (as well as the search box in the Blogger bar), tags add a convenient way to get at content that interests readers.

As for what tags to use apart from the obvious industry leaders, Game Theory sounds good. May I suggest going a little more granular when tagging posts with Game Theory? For instance, a post comparing WoW and Eve economies and how a new MMO might implement its own would be tagged thus: "WoW, Eve, Game Theory, Economy"

In lieu of just an Other Games Label I think a selection of Genres may be better-not too specific that you'd soon have an unwieldy tag cloud but not too generic that nearly every non-major MMO post gets tagged "Other Games."
tags/labels are nice for searching, but personally I just read from an RSS feed and never find myself searching for an old post...

So, it couldn't hurt, but I dunno how much it will help either.
Even though I use the search tool more that I use labels I think there is definitely merit in labelling. In your case Tobold labelling by game would allow a quick way to browse posts about the major games. A tag for each major game and perhaps category tags for the minor games (other mmos, strategy games and so on). Of course don't forget the "miscellaneous tag" for your occasional posts about US polictics, buying a new car and so on.

By the way labelling old posts is much less of a chore than you might imagine. The edit posts menu of Blogger allows to modify labels in batches.
Alternatively let Google do the hard work. As anyone already can do a search on your blog, in reality not many know how to do it (using site: operator)

The trick could be to add a custom search in your right nav bar.

Basically a custom search (powered by google) is a search box that will search only on selected website.

So, add your own blog in the list of website to be looked for.
And eventually (as you choose) add other selected website if you like.

Or eventually add 2 search bar..
one for your site only...
and another for selected blogosphere and news sites

a link for custom search:
Aeh, there is already a custom search for my blog up, at the very top left of the main page. And as it directly lists the blog posts containing the search words, and not just a link to them, it is actually better than the Google CSE (but of course the Blogger search engine is Google-based as well).
wops, my bad I didn't notice the search box located at upper left corner...

/beg pardon
Might as well start doing it now, when you write a new post, as it's not much effort....
I was the user that wrote Tobold. Lest you all think this is my first week on the internet, I do know how to do a Google site search. However, even the great Google does not truly know what a post is about as well as Tobold knows. I think tags can be incredibly useful to new readers and to readers who are interested in very specific things.
I use a reader so tags don't affect me. And I agree with the posters here who say blogs don't really need tags. Having said that, it doesn't cost much to include them and it makes it a little easier for visitors to your blog to browse old posts.

If you do decide to tag, I wouldn't agonise over what categories to use — the best tagging schemes enable different users to access your content in different ways. Tag stories WAR *and* game theory if the topics overlap. Don't have a tag that fits? Create a new one.

Clearly, tags will be of limited use to start with if you don't go back and tag your old posts. But it will matter less and less over time.
I have to agree with Merlot, regarding tagging schemes - use as many tags as you think a story fits.

Tobold, in your post you wrote that you didn't want to get a " too long list of labels". In a good tagging scheme, you'll have a very long list of labels - but that will be okay, because each will enable your readers to reach the content in a different manner.

The only thing I would watch out for is tags with typos for the same "label" or using both singular and plural form, stuff like that. Having both "dog" and "dogs" will actually make it harder for people to find content, as some will be filed only under "dog" and some only under "dogs".
To prevent this, choose a tag naming scheme and stick with it. As long as you're consistent and don't make typos, you should be okay.
I think it would help. Though really the value is in the old posts. But going forward it would be useful as well to someone that say wanted to read all of your thoughts on the first year of Warhammer.
I just added Tags to my Blog entries. I currently have 383 posts, I've Tagged 306 of them and it took me the good part of a day to do that.

Tag 2,200 posts? Fuhgedabout it!
up to you, it would help people find things I think
I would count the cost before embarking on adding tags to new posts. Would you rather spend the time writing more blog entries or tagging?

My personal opinion is that the current search engine is enough. I do really like the Monthly Archive list on the side, though -- it lets me go back and see your initial impressions of The Burning Crusade, etc...
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