Typically, they show as links at the top or bottom (or both) of each article.
However, depending on the theme you’re using, they may not be visible at all. If this is the case, and you don’t want to change it, you should still consider adding tags to each post, especially if you use a related posts plugin. The reason? The plugin may use those tags to determine which posts to show at the end of an article.
Let’s look at it another way…
For the sake of a few seconds of your time and some not-so-deep thinking, adding relevant tags could greatly improve your website and the user experience. Not just today, but for months and years to come.
As your blog grows it’s very easy for a sparkling article to get lost. That post you wrote three months ago goes deep in the archives if you’re publishing a few times a week.
For this reason, it’s important you provide ways for regular readers and first-time visitors to find relevant content and keep them on your site for as long as possible. It’s also important for you to guide people to the content you want them to find: sales pages, detailed tutorials displaying your expertise and, of course, the all-important revenue generating articles.
One way to do this is to add what’s known as internal links to your content. These links sit in the body of your posts and, using relevant keywords and descriptions in those links, direct people to other pages on your site. You can see the process in action in the first few sentences of this article.
Internal linking also helps improve your overall SEO.
Tagging your posts is another way to help people find your content. This method is more random than the internal linking method, but could still lead to more clicks and pageviews.
What makes a good tag?
More often than not, you’ll want at least two words in each tag to give it some deeper meaning.
A tag such as ‘website development’ or ‘project development’ has much more meaning than ‘development’. The same goes for ‘portrait photography’ and ‘nature photography’.
Using one-word tags is perfectly acceptable, and required in certain cases (think of brands such as Facebook, Apple and Nike) but giving your tags more meaning will help with your reader’s expectations and perhaps encourage more clicks.
How to add tags to WordPress
There are two ways to add tags to your posts.
Navigate to Posts > Tags
Look for the section in the screenshot below and fill in the blanks. Note: the Description section is optional.
About each section:
- Name – This is what you see on the front-end of your website so it must make sense to you and your visitors.
- Slug – This appears in the URL. For example – https://yourdomain.com/tag/slug. It usually replicates the Name section but you can use something different if you want to.
- Description – This is usually hidden but some themes may show it.
When you’ve completed each section click on Add New Tag.
The new tag will then show on the right-hand side of the page, like this.
As you add more tags, the list will grow. And as you add the tags to posts, you’ll notice the number in the Count column grow larger.
The second method is from the admin area of a post.
Look for the tags widget in the sidebar.
You add new tags by typing the name of the tag into the box provided. If you want to add multiple tags, separate each one with a comma. When you’re done, click on Add.
The widget with then look like this.
Now Save your post to add the tags to the post and database.
To remove a tag from a post (but not the database), click on the white x in the blue circle which precedes the tag you want to remove.
Remember – this only removes the tag from the post. To delete the tag from your site, go to Posts > Appearance (liked Method 1), look for the tag and hit Delete.
If you’ve already created tags, click on the “Choose from the most used tags” link and choose from the list.
You can also add tags by typing in the first few letters of that tag and choosing it from the options that appear.
Where, on a post, do you find tags?
However, some themes don’t display tags. This is purely down to the choice of the theme’s creator. If they decide to leave the tags in the background, you may be able to add some code to your site to make them appear. If you’re using a premium theme, you might be able to switch them on or off from inside the theme’s admin area.
How many tags should you use for each post?
WordPress lets you use as many as you like. From a personal perspective, I prefer to use a maximum of five. Especially if the tags are visible.
Some blogs use 20+ tags for each post, some use a handful. The choice is purely personal – I suggest you use as many as you feel comfortable using.
What is a WordPress tag cloud?
If you have never heard of a tag cloud, you may have seen one on your favourite blog. It’s a sidebar or footer widget which shows the most commonly used tags on your site.
I’m not using it on here, but it would look something like this if it was active.
How to add a WordPress tag cloud widget to your site
You can add a tag cloud widget to your site in one of two ways.
Navigate to Appearance > Widgets and look for the tag cloud widget.
Here it is in a default WordPress installation.
Click on the Tag Cloud widget and choose where you want to place it.
Once you’ve decided, click on the blue Add Widget button and check how it looks on your site.
The second method is through the Customizer.
Click on Appearance > Customize and look for the widgets option.
Click on the widgets link and go through to the next section. It looks something like this. Click the link to where you want to place the widget (Blog Sidebar, Footer 1 or Footer 2).
Now click on the + Add a Widget button to add the widget to the sidebar or footer area.
Now chose the Tag Cloud widget from the list of options.
Hit the Publish button at the top of the screen and you’re done. Go check your site to see how it looks.
Related posts plugins
A related posts plugin typically adds a group of 10 links to the end of each post. The additional links provide readers with direct links to articles on your blog covering similar topics to the one they’re reading. By providing these links, you’re encouraging the reader to stay on your site and engage more with your content.
Many of these plugins use the categories and tags you’ve assigned to output the links.
Over the years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with tagging. It’s not something I particularly enjoy, but I do see the value in adding a few tags to each post.
If you’re not sure what to do about them, I suggest you add at least three to each post.
The reason I suggest this is because going back over tens or even hundreds of posts further down the line is so much more work than tagging as you go. I’ve been there, so I know how much of a pain it is.
With all of that said, the choice, as always, is yours.