What are tags?

Tags & Categories

Tags and categories are both WordPress taxonomies that can be applied to posts (but not pages), to help you organize your site’s content by topic. If you compare your WordPress site to a book, categories are like the table of contents, and tags are like the index.

Categories typically describe the site’s main organizational divisions, and tags provide a way to follow concepts or keywords that span across multiple topics. You can use either categories or tags on your site, or both in conjunction.

  • If your site were a collection of cooking recipes, your categories might include meats, vegetables, breads and soups. You could create another set of categories that described your content along another axis- appetizers, main courses, desserts. A single post can belong to multiple categories - so you post "French Onion Soup" could belong to both the soup category and the appetizer category.

    The tags for this site might include specific ingredients (e.g. kale or milk) or dietary restrictions (e.g. vegan or gluten-free). While these concepts are important, they might not make sense as the primary organization principles for your site.

  • Often, deciding if something should be a category or tag is a blurry line, and it might come down to what extra features come along with the taxonomy.

    Category Tag
    Can be viewed as a group with other posts in the taxonomy Y Y
    Can easily be included in custom menus Y N
    Can be displayed as a sidebar widget Y Y
    Can be hierarchical (have parent/child relationships) Y N
    Can define what's included in an RSS feed Y N
    Can be sorted by date or title Y N

Assigning tags to posts

tags-metabox1The tag box is located in the right-hand column of the post editing interface. You can assign a tag to a post by typing the tag's name into the text box and clicking the "Add" button. As you begin typing, any pre-existing tags that match what you're typing will show up as auto-complete options (see right). Click on the auto-complete suggestion to select the tag, then click the "Add" button to assign it to the post. If you don't use an auto-complete term, a new tag will be created on the fly.

Alternatively, you can click on the "Choose from the most used tags" link (see red arrow) then click on the tag you'd like to use, then click the "Add" button.

Tags can also be added to posts using the quick edit interface.


Deleting tags from posts

Once a tag is added to a post, it will be displayed under the text box, and can be removed by clicking the x to the left of it (outlined in red).

Tags can also be removed from posts using the quick edit interface.


Managing tags


From the Posts -> Tags interface, you can manage the tags themselves. From here you can:

  • Add a new tag
  • Rename a tag
  • Delete a tag
  • See how many posts are assigned a tag




Left column

A tag cloud of all your site's tags is shown on the top left of the tag editing interface. The size of the font represents how many posts are associated with each tag. If you wanted to put a tag cloud widget in your sidebar, it would look something like this.

You can also add new tags from here. Description is optional, and only for internal reference.

Right column

A list of your site's tags are on the right. Hover over a tag name to reveal action links (see red arrow above).

  • Edit & Quick Edit will let you rename the tag
  • Delete deletes the tag (but not the post associated with it)
  • View lets you see the collection of posts with this tag like a visitor would- from the front end of the site.

Clicking on the count number (green arrow) will take you to the dashboard post interface, filtered to only display posts assigned that tag.