WordPress allows authors to organize their content using two different methods – Categories and Tags. What’s the difference and which should you use? Here is a quick comparison.

Categories

  • use of categories is required – each post must use at least one
  • broad grouping of post topics (dessert, baking)
  • act as a table of contents – essentially shows what the blog is about, guiding users toward what they are looking for
  • a category can be a phrase if applicable
  • can be nested (parent/child categories – if a post is placed in a child category, it will show up in the parent category as well)
  • generally low in number; fixed amount that stands the test of time

Tags

  • use of tags is optional
  • describe post in more detail (chocolate, brownies, walnuts)
  • act as an index
  • each tag is generally one or two words
  • do not nest; each tag stands alone
  • generally higher in number
  • can populate a tag cloud
  • can add more value as the number of posts grows

Both can be used to generate a feed.

Takeaway: Categories are more general and hierarchical, while tags are more specific and targeted.