“I’ve learned the hard way that it’s very hard to sell any story that doesn’t fit neatly into a known category,” writes Paula Munier in her book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings. “I won’t know where or how to sell it, the editor won’t know how to pitch it to her publishing board, the bookseller won’t know where to shelve it, and the readers won’t know where to find it.
Meanwhile, themeisle.com adds, assigning categories to your own blog posts prevents Google from doing the indexing for you, perhaps in ways that are not the most beneficial in helping you get found.
When you categorize a new blog post, that quickly tells readers what the post is about, as well as providing a helpful way to group posts together, making it easier for readers to find related posts. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension offers a list of best practices when using categories, including:
- Plan what categories you plan to use throughout your site and stick with those.
- Assign each new post to one-three of those categories.
- Use consistent capitalization and spelling (WordPress treats capitalized and noncapitalized versions of the same name and two different categories).
- Use terminology that you believe will be familiar to your audience.
- Don’t use categories that are applicable to only one or two posts.In keeping with all this good advice, at Say it For You, we’ve always used categories to help our clients’ readers find their way to content that matches their specific interests. But after reading the book “the Lean Startup”, I had an additional thought, based on using a lean production principle in assigning individual blog posts to certain categories. When you‘re studying your Google Analytics, you can see which categories were most frequently viewed by readers that week. Let’s say there were twenty five “sessions” for a particular category. That tells you to “replenish” that category with new content in the same manner as the car dealer might replenish its stock of front bumpers based on 25 customer orders. In other words, the content creation would be driven by the ‘demand” for each category, with the blog itself functioning as a consumer survey tool!
“For lack of a genre, the sale was lost,” Paula Munier quipped. Don’t allow the effect of your blog content to get lost for lack of a category!