Blog Baby Blog Week 4: Let's Talk About Labels

Hey hey! I'm back with week 4 of Blog Baby Blog.  You can catch up on all of this summer's posts here:

This week we're talking about something really glamorous.  Labels.

Okay.  That's a lie.

Labels are pretty kind of a boring topic, but they can be a useful tool for your readers.  They are also one of the most under utilized tools on your nav bar.  Let's start with the basics.  What are labels, and where are they?

What and Where

When you're writing a post in Blogger, you know that little bar of text to the right of the post area that most of us completely ignore?  The first tab is Labels.

Labels are a way to categorize your posts.  When you click on Labels, you can give your post labels like reading, math, freebies.  Conveniently, any labels you've used in the past show up, and you can just click on them.  Thank you, Google.
Two things happen with labels.  If you have the labels gadget on your sidebar, they will show up there automatically.  (Don't have it? Go to Layout-->Add a Gadget-->Labels.  Boom.)  Also, at the bottom of your post, the labels show up.  Readers who enjoyed your post can click to read more posts from you on that topic.

What Kind of Labeler Are You?

Bloggers mainly fit in one of two categories-they don't use labels at all (wonk wonk wonk) or they label all the things.  That's fine.  You can label all the things, but it may be time to clean up your sidebar.  Good news? It's super easy.

If half of your sidebar is labels, it's time to narrow it down.  You do not have to remove labels.  You'd have to go back into old posts, clean them up.  It would be a pain, and you would die a little inside.  Just look at your blog.  Do 40 of your 50 labels only have one post?  Click on the little wheel beneath your labels gadget.  Change the selection from "All Labels" to "Selected Labels" then Edit.  Turn off the labels that you don't have a lot of content for.  You can always turn them on later.  I turned off Collaborative Work.  It's a great topic, but apparently it was a one time blog thing for me.
This next tip may hurt your heart a little, but I'm going to say it anyway.  That cloud option?  It looks great, but it's much more difficult to navigate as a reader if it’s not alphabetized.

Haven't labeled posts before?  No problem.  You can go back into old posts and edit them to add in labels.  No biggie.

Maximize Important Labels

Now-that big deal about the nav bar?  Do you have a page on your nav bar that says "Reading" or "Math" or "Freebies" and you had all the noble intentions in the world of putting your good ideas on there but you never did because TIME is a real thing.  You don't have to.  You already wrote lots of good posts about reading or math or whatever that page is.  Once your label shows up on your sidebar, it has a web address.  Instead of "Reading" going to a new page, you can have it go to all of your reading posts.  This is much more efficient and realistic.

And how do you do this?  If you have a nav bar that's part of the graphic on your header, you'll need to ask your blog designer about that.  If not, . . . .

•Grab the address for your label by right clicking or just clicking on it and copying the address from the address bar.

•Go to Layout-->Pages gadget-->Edit (If you don't have the pages gadget, you'll need to add it.)

•Your first option is "Add External Link".  Give it a title, paste in your link, and you're good.  You can drag it around on the list to show up in the order you would like.

Happy labeling!