Tagging posts: a question for people who use Wordpress

I host my serial through wordpress, but I'm always going back and forth on whether I should use the tagging system and if so, which tags? There are some suggested tags wordpress gives you based on what you're writing, but it often seems like when I tag, it only brings in people who pop in to like (and occasionally follow) for the sole purpose of getting you to their blog. You can tell based on views they didn't read, etc. I'm beginning to suspect it might be the 'fiction' tag that brings the most of these, so I was wondering what other people did in regards to tagging? If they used them or not? And if so, which tags?

I use self-hosted Wordpress for the most part, so I don't deal with that as directly. I do tag my posts though. Tagging is one of the useful things about the Wordpress.com ecosystem. It's also useful outside it.

You'll definitely get a bunch of people checking the tags just to promote their own blogs. Fortunately that's not all you'll get. You'll also get people checking out the blog and reading it. You might pay attention to the tags you use, and ask yourself which ones will promote your story best. Character tags are important for internal use, but you might deliberately use tags based on content. For example, if your scene includes a date, tag it with "dating" or similar tags for significant moments ("kiss" or "kissing") or if you've got a photo shoot scene "photo shoot," an audition "audition," and so on.

Worst case scenario, you have someone who's knowledgeable about something you're writing about and points out what you're doing wrong (and that's not all bad, especially if you can get them to tell you how to do it right). Best case, you get people interested in that topic checking out your serial.

I can imagine that "fiction" draws way too many self-promoters though. With the rise of self-published ebooks, you've got a lot of writers who know they need to self-promote, and do it badly.

I've avoided tags, because I'm not really sure how they should be used.

My thoughts were, that if someone found it via a tag based on the content, say "audition", then they might get a bit annoyed to reach a random chapter in a fictional series. It seems so orientated around blogs, and I'd expect everyone to be a blog reader, looking for a blog post and unlikely to be interested in a series... I guess I just don't want to irritate anyone. Though like Jim said, it could be useful if they were nice enough to point out any inaccuracies.

Maybe I should start though, as I'd probably be interested to stumble upon a good story...

I guess I tend to see a tag as a tag for anything appropriate that happens to appear on Wordpress.com.

If someone clicks on the tag "kiss," it seems appropriate to get pictures of a kiss, a blog entry about a kiss, or even fiction that includes a kiss. I suppose someone out there might be annoyed, but I think that if you're clicking on a tag, you could be getting anything even marginally related to the topic.

Inappropriate tagging (at least in my mind) would be adding a tag that has nothing to do with the blog entry just because that tag is popular at the moment.

At one point, I used tags on a (cancelled, failed, half-baked) serial. You could say it worked, but, as you said, the people that read it probably didn't actually read it, such as the lady who ran a family-oriented blog (if you've read Chaos, then you know that my stories aren't exactly family-friendly). But yeah, it might be the fiction tag. I might do an experiment with that...

I wonder how much I've mucked things up by having what Jim describes as a purely internal tagging system.

I tag recurring characters. There's 227 tags, now, for the various characters. Nothing intended for others to find Worm or anything. Just a convenient way to keep track of things on one more level.

Wildbow, I do the same. For some reason it never occurred to me to use the tags as something other than a neo-indexing system. :P

I do the same as Wildbow and Amy.

I like tagging my post with the characters featured in the post. You see, I have a rough idea where my serial is going but some characters are taking on a form on their own. Using the tag cloud function, I can see how the 'grow'. A character i never thought i would see again is showing up, time and time again.

Not sure what the benefit to other readers are, but it helps me.

I mostly use tags in the same way that everyone else does--internally as an indexing system.

That said, anyone with a Wordpress.com account can view previously unknown blogs based on the tags that are on particular entries. Using tags of your characters' names only does you and people who know your site any good. If, for example, I used "superhero" or "powered armor" as a tag, anyone who followed those tags would have the potential to be introduced to my story.

Similarly, many templates include a post's tags as links after the post. Having a work's important elements on the page as a tag again and again throughout the blog will affect how search engines list the page, and make it potentially appear higher when someone looks for that term.

It's something to think about in terms of marketing.

Thanks everyone for all the helpful comments and advice! Going to start trying to use the tag system better.

But huh, I've been using catagories in the way people seem to be using the tags....having catagories for the major characters and if they appear in a post adding the post to those catagories...since people all seem to be doing that with tags instead, I'm wondering now if I'm not misusing the catagories somehow.

I don't think there's a 'right' or 'wrong' way to use these things. Do what makes sense to you, and what you think will be useful to readers and those doing keyword searches.

Personally, I use the categories to arrange my posts into 'parts' of a story - each novel will have 5-7 parts, made up of a variable number of posts. But that's just the way that I like to organise things and break up an otherwise loooooong list of posts (or chapters).

I don't use tags. I thought about it when I started, and decided it was probably too hard to maintain (I was posting every day at the time). Perhaps I should start - maybe with the next serial. It would be handy to know when characters crop up, or certain themes/things are used. No idea how a reader would use that, though.

I've often used tags as a reader to remind myself who a particular character was. Actually as a writer, I sometimes use them to remind myself of how long ago a character last appeared.

As for categories, while there isn't a right way to do things, I'd argue that categories probably work better for designating chapters than tags do. The thing is, blogs aren't really designed to display fiction. As such, you're really making it up as you go along if you choose to use them to do so.

I have one blog on the wordpress.com hierarchy and I do surf the tags (Because it's a Tumblr habit) for other serials. I say go for it, although the variants "webfic, weblit, serial" are not popular. That said, I've found some that have never listed in this directory or muses-success.

I can't say I'm a fan of "prose" or "writing" though as there are a lot of things that get tossed in there that are not specific to serials. (As such, I don't track those tags on wp.com but still look at them occasionally on Tumblr.)

The "Fiction" tag seems decent. I will pop in and look at it every once in a while. I also think it corresponds well to one of the "Freshly Pressed" categories, so probably a good idea to use it (if to gamble on the chance on getting featured at wp.com).(ETA: Sorry it's "Writing" that is the category used on "Freshly Pressed"...)

I've been using the tags "blog fiction" "blogfic" "webfiction" "webfic" on mine, and following them to find some others. When I search those tags, I'm looking very specifically for blog fiction, but I've just realised that doesn't mean I shouldn't use the broader "fiction" or "writing" on mine to share it with more readers - thanks for that! :-)

I use categories as the characters' own internal tagging system - so while I use the tags to say "come and see my blog fiction", the "bloggers" use the categories to tag their posts by topic.

Hmm... I'm on Blogger for my works (worked well with all my google properties up until then) and I use my "labels" as my "Featuring" list for characters. That way I can easily find all the chapters where a given character appears. When I updated my "about" page it also gave me a nice way to link out for the main characters if people wanted to just read up on them.

(On self-hosted WP here).

Back in the old days, when I first released the serial, I tagged characters - when I moved to Drupal, I stopped. I've moved back to WP (within the last week), and I'm having a lot of fun tagging characters again, it gives you a little visual thing to see how often characters appear - and subsequent to that, I'm going to add bios in each of the character tags.

You've moved to WordPress! Brilliant, I'll probably find it much easier to follow the new chapters now.

Edit: Can't seem to find any follow mechanism!

Oops - sorry, still in progress of getting WP up to scratch (I have three pages of changes I need to make), I've added the floating "follow" button, as well as a static one in the sidebar.

And I should thank you - it was actually your review that was the impetus for getting this one (Drupal wasn't cooperating, and I knew WP would give a better experience). We're still under construction though. -_-

ooo I feel special now!

Your old RSS feed continues to work no problem!