Making sense of categories and tags

I’ve been blogging off and on for almost eight years now. In that time I’ve ported my blog from one platform to another many times. I started on Blogger, moved to Wordpress.com, played around with self-hosted Wordpress and Sqaurespace and, as of late, have settled on Postach.io And while I do enjoy blogging at Postach.io, I still find myself searching Google now and then for the best blogging platform. Yes, I’m restless. It’s a kind of illness. I know.

Perhaps because I have spent so much time searching for the perfect home for my blog, I don’t think I’ve given nearly enough thought to how my posts are organized. I don’t have an insane number of posts (170-ish) but my use of categories and tags has been very nearly random, and certainly not helpful. Moving forward I would like this blog to make a little more sense to someone just dropping by.

Of course, the task of making sense of this blog is made a little more challenging by the fact that I blog about a pretty broad range of topics, often as the mood strikes. I started intending to blog mainly about the experience of surviving leukemia, but along the way found myself ranting about Winnipeg politics (how could I not?!), Canadian politics (again, really?!), urban planning, environmental issues, co-operatives and democracy, interesting ideas and life in general. How can I make sense of that?

I’ve been giving some thought to the concepts of categories and tags, and how best to use them, particularly in the context of a blog that tends to wander all over the place. Following on the advice of many, I want to keep categories to a minimum, but still make them useful for readers to find the type of content that might interest them. Given that I am inclined to write about just about anything interesting that passes through my head, trying to devise categories based on subject areas seems like a lost cause; keywords may be more useful for that. Given my posts often take on different tones depending on my mood and the subject I am writing about, I thought about categories based more broadly on something like “activities" or action-based states of mind. I came up with these:

  • Surviving – posts most closely related to my original idea of discussing the experience and lessons learned from surviving leukemia;
  • Writing – Posts about what I am trying to do more of now – creative writing – including my own original work, as well as posts about the process of writing;
  • Ranting – My many posts, often very therapeutic, where I work through my frustrations with this crazy city/country/world;
  • Dreaming – Posts where I write about interesting ideas I come across and what I think a better world might look like;
  • Riding – Posts about the experience of riding – in the past this was a bike, now it’s a trike. This one is a bit of an outlier in some ways, but riding makes me giddy, so I have to face the fact that I will probably find an excuse to write a lot of posts that will fit here.
I’m starting to think “Ranting" may not convey exactly what I want it to. Don’t get me wrong, some of my posts on politics and policy issues can get a bit rant-ish, but for the most part what I am really doing is offering a thoughtful, well-considered opinion. I thought of calling that category “Opining," but that seems like the kind of term nobody actually uses in real life.

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking at the moment. What do you think of those categories? Will they be useful for finding the kind of stuff you might want to read? I’m going to try them out for a bit and see how they work.