So... here I am sat in the pub (I am drinking coffee OK?!) I'm on the verge of relaunching Travelblather in a shiny new WordPress skin and very excited about it. But before I do, I am rethinking the categories that I use for organising the posts on here. And I'm struggling to decide... Clearly once I make a decision I really need to stick with what I go with.

And then it occurred to me (duh!)  Why not ask the people who read Travelblather what they think? Typepad (the platform I use right now) offers some very broad categories and I've just been using them. Not much use really - you will see if you check out the 'Category cloud' down the left side of the blog that Travel gets a lot of use (no surprise) followed by Web/Tech, Journalism and Marketing. All rather meaningless.

I need to restrict myself to say 4 or 5 categories that are as distinct from each other as possible and as interesting as possible. Here are a few ideas:

  • Travelwriting
  • Social Media
  • Marketing (or Strategy?)
  • Innovation (or Ideas?)
  • Monetization
  • Guidebooks (Guidebook writing?)
  • Opinion (or are all my posts opinionated?)
  • Sponsors (do I add a category for sponsored posts? ie posts that are paid for/facilitated?) I still don't know if I want to go down this route at all... but if I do, by separating them like this it would at least make the distinction really clear. Just like a print ad in a magazine really(?)

What categories would be useful for you? What do you come to Travelblather for? What kind of stuff makes you want to read and comment? If you fancied a trawl back through the 160 or so posts on here, what categories would be handy?

I know the answer will differ for different people. I would be SO interested to know. And, by commenting you absolutely will shape the future direction too.

I have also been trying to come up with a strapline that summarises what this blog is all about too - so that new arrivals get the idea straight away (along with a page devoted to my most popular/most heartfelt posts)

  • Travelblather - travel content that's connected
  • Travelblather - travelwriting 2.0? (Whatever that means)
  • Travelblather - working out the future of travelwriting
  • Travelblather - banter between travelwriters, prs and travel cos
  • Travelblather - the future of travelwriting is online
  • Travelblather - apparently... it's Travel 2.0
  • Travelblather - YOUR SUGGESTION HERE

(OK. I am no longer drinking coffee... I am now drinking beer.) Maybe if people do come up with some (doubtless) better ideas than mine I can select the top three and let people vote on it?

13 thoughts on “Making blogs better: categories and straplines

  1. Awesome to hear you're switching to WordPress, and I'm looking forward to seeing the new design.

    I like to read for your opinion posts, so I'd definitely make that a category. Yes, your opinion seeps into most things that are written, but the posts that go in that category could be the really passionate diatribes.

    "Travelblather - travelwriting 2.0? (Whatever that means)" I kinda like this one, only if you keep the parenthesis. :)

    Hmmm, how about:

    "Travelblather - The web's best travel banter"
    "Travelblather - Your source for opinionated travel banter"

  2. Briefly, think carefully about the categories. Stick to no more than 10. Make them useful to the reader but also SE friendly keywords. Name the categories something that people would use to find your content on the search engines. So if you write about journalism, call one category 'travel journalism'

    People do link to the category pages so they can rank well in the SE's.

    WordPress is fantastic, I could not have created Travel Rants (and my Leeds site) without it, but many mistakes can be avoided which can cause you a headache later on (that's a lesson I learnt!) If you'd like to have a chat about it before you go live, let me know!

  3. Cool. Sounds exciting. I've moved to WordPress a while ago, although a little hastily and I still owe my poor blog some quality time, putting things right.

    My quick two-penneth - Travel 2.0 sounds dated already. I like 'the future of travel is online'.

    • 'Guidebooks' can be folded into 'travel writing'
    • 'Monetization' can't be folded into anything. It's misspelled and not what you write about!
    • 'Sponsors' I quite like, but it should be 'sponsored' - rem transparency is everything in SM!
    • 'Marketing' NOT 'strategy' (unless you're gonna write about Age of Empires-style computer games?)
    • 'Innovation'.....is ok
    • 'Opinion' is too. But as Darren says, it would be better if they were stronger keywords.


    Travelblather - banter between travelwriters, prs and travel cos is the best, but improved (again, as Darren says) with keywords (banter isn't gonna work) so, something like...

    Travelblather - Communications between travel writers, PRs and travel companies

    ... what?

    Well, you asked!

  4. Thanks for the comments so far... do please keep them coming... :-)
    @ Dave - it's a tweaked wootheme... all should be revealed soon!
    @ Darren - SEO. Some people seem to suggest that categories are important for SEO... but I'm not so sure? I had intended to include category in URL for the post, eg http://www.travelblather.com/travelwriting/name-of-post. But now get the impression this is not so useful AND what happens when you want to assuign several categories to a post? I did a few Googletrends searches on variations of travel writing, travelwriting, traveljournalism etc... didn't tell me a great deal to be honest.
    @ Alastair - monetization (or monetisation).. not much about it at the moment, but it's a hot topic and one that can only get hotter... and something I too am interested in
    @ Vioky - yep... increasingly I think anything2.0 is a bit last decade!

  5. @ Dave... one other thing. 'Banter' - do US readers understand that word? I wanted to call this blog travelbanter but someone else already owned the URL! :-(

  6. I'm not keen on banter. Or 'communications'. How about:

    "Travelblather - Travel writers, PRs and business figuring out the future together" (or even "creating")

    As for categories, maybe I'm being wet-behind-the-ears, but do they really matter? I mean, does anyone actually use terms like 'opinion' and 'innovation' to navigate through the site? I've used country names & regions on my blog as categories, on the offchance that someone might want to read all I have to say about Dubai while bypassing everything on Oman - but I doubt it makes much difference really. And most of my posts have more than one category assigned, along with fistfuls of tags (do I understand the difference? um...) It generates an interesting cloud, but that's about it. Or am I missing some crucial element of SEO?

    Looking forward to the new travelblather

  7. Yes, Americans definitely use "banter" enough to get it in this context, but I agree with another commentator that it doesn't help you at all with SEO.

    The title you choose is really, really important, so you want to make each word count. You also want it to be something a person would type in Google.

    Example: For GoBackpacking.com I use "The best around the world travel blog"

    "Blather" sounds like something a Brit would say. :)

  8. Jeremy, categories are good for internal linking, which helps the posts rank better, so they do help SEO. If you do your reearch and find search terms that are useful to the reader and also what people use to find your topic of content then they can drive a lot of traffic.

    On my categories I have extracts of the posts, rather than the full post. This is because the category, archive and homepage can get caught up in duplicate content issues, and you'll find Google especially will filter any pages out it thinks is a duplicate.

    I use a tool called Market Samarui, you can get it as a free trial, but when the trial has finished the keyword research tool is free and takes Google trends, adwords data in too.

  9. One letter category titles are useless. Type in 'air travel news' in Google UK. Through the bad weather that category got A LOT of traffic, so do not rule out categories. Tags on the other hand I don't use on TR, but I do on my Leeds site - I "nofollow" the tags though because I only want them to be used by the readers to aid searching.

  10. Jeremy, you've identified a great niche. Like others I like the 3rd but prefer your 4th suggestion for a strapline; but I also like the idea of interaction hinted at in your use of the word 'connected'. So my suggestion would be Travelblather - connecting travelwriters, prs and travel cos, or even 'connecting content for(or debate for) travel professionals'.

    You'll like WordPress, it's what I use, and the category and tag cloud features automatically highlight the categories and topics you write about most frequently, as long as you take care to categorize and define key words for every post.

    I've been trying to decide about a further explanatory strapline for my blog - and was thinking of using 'of tourism and the visitor economy' so if you have any thoughts, or other comments, I'd welcome them.

    PS I think that the whole topic of monetisation is something that's of particular interest within the community you're addressing, hence the success and popularity of Simonseeks.com.

  11. I like the tagline "banter between travellers...." etc because that gives the impression that anyone reading it will get "real" rather than "wannabe" content.

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