Are You Using Tags, Labels, and Categories to Organize Your Website?

Everyone has a digital camera. Even people who don't consider themselves "photographers".

My mother has one. My father has a nice DSLR (although in his youth he did fancy himself a photographer) he uses it primarily to take pictures of his grandkids.

If you chose photography as a vocation you likely have your digital photos organized through a program like Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture.

If you aren't a "photographer" you may try to utilize iPhoto or maybe Adobe Elements in an effort to keep them orderly. If, however, you fall into the vast majority of people you simply dump them all into a folder on your desktop.

Photographers the world over are shaking their heads in disbelief. They simply cannot fathom that most people just have thousands, or even tens of thousands, of digital photographs sitting in a folder on their desktop. Professional photographers are typically much more organized when it comes to this stuff. They have to be.

I'm cringing as I think about it.

Imagine this very common scenario: You're looking for a picture you took a few months ago of your significant other while you were in Vegas. You took several dozen, or even hundreds, of photos while you were in Vegas. And your common practice of just dumping your photos into that photo folder on your desktop seemed like a good idea at the time.

The images were saved. Good. Done. But now that you're looking for them you have to open the folder, wait for your OS to render all of the image thumbnails for your perusal, and then you start scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling, looking for one image labeled "DSC0235.jpg" even though you don't actually know that's the name of the image you're looking for.

What you are looking for are context clues that help you pinpoint the general time.

Aha. After 20 minutes you've found some images of your trip to Vegas. Now you start looking closer at the thumbnails, even opening up images (one at a time) for closer inspection, as you hunt for this one elusive photo.

This process has taken you way too long. And it only get's longer as more photos are added to that folder. You're frustrated.

You have to get organized if you want to actually want to find things.

You can use a photo organizing software like Lightroom or Aperture to label your photographs as you upload them.

So instead of dumping your photos into a folder you label them as you upload them. The photo in question could have, and probably should have, been labeled as such; Vegas, Nevada, (insert significant other's name), the casino's name or attraction, fun times, gambling,..etc.

Now the next time you look for an image on your computer you can start with keywords.

This isn't a post about which image editing or management software you should be using for your photography.

Life's More Fun When You're Organized by ifindkarma: CC

This is an example, one that you're probably familiar with, about how the web works.

We write blog posts. We upload photos to social networking sites like Flickr and Facebook. We have little points of data that we are using to market our businesses online and we do so with limited time.

But what most successful online marketers don't do is simply dump them online.

They label them. They tag them. They index, sort, and use keywords for everything that goes online when it relates to their inbound marketing.

While tags and categories may have fallen by the wayside from a purely SEO perspective they are still very handy from a user perspective. It's how people find things on your website when they are looking for more information related to a post they just came across.

If your post is about your latest gallery showing and a gallerist or museum curator has stumbled upon that post will they be able to easily find other gallery related posts on your blog? They may want to quickly find what other galleries you've worked with. They'll want to do this easily. Tags and categories can help them do this.

If you're a wedding photographer and you just did a blog post about your latest wedding shoot at the Magnolia Ballroom in Houston, TX did you tag it that way. So that a bride who is considering hiring you knows that you've shot there on several occasions and can easily find more examples of your work at that specific venue. She's much more likely to hire a wedding photographer who knows her venue well.

People who are browsing the Internet are often times finding things serendipitously. One search leads to reminder about one thing that leads to another search that leads to a link that leads to a related link that informs them of more information or guidance in whatever it is they are hunting for.

Help them. Guide them. Organize your blog so that people can find other posts that are related to the article they just found. Use tags. Use categories. Show them how to know you better and you'll be closer to building a relationship with that reader.

Help them find things on your website. Make sure your website is organized with people in mind.