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This week we're back to K2 and discussing item tags and their benefits. If you're used to search engine optimization, then most of the concepts will be familiar, it's just nice to know you have this capability on a local level, within your website, as well.
So let's look at what it can actually do for us.
You've probably spent a good amount of time developing the articles and information on your website, so you may have some pretty incredible content loaded up just waiting for the right reader to find it. However, if you don't make it easy for users to find that info, it's all pointless. Website content searches are more important than ever as websites commonly store dozens, hundreds or even thousands of articles across many topics.
But how do you make it easy for users to find that info? There are many extensions written for Joomla websites that provide search modules and various types of results pages. K2 does this as well, and there are several things that K2's tags are particularly good at, including providing great search results.
One of the main benefits to using K2's tags is the control you have over how your articles are found and displayed in user searches. This is very much like keyword Search Engine Optimization on the wider web. You can think ahead of your users or watch their searching behavior and set the tags on each item for all relevant content in each article. Performing this SEO within your website is a great way to make your users able to find the information they are looking for much more easily, and it also provides some other great search features that we'll discuss in just a moment.
One way to keep readers on your site is to make your content sticky. Web content stickiness is important if you want your visitors to stay longer than a second or so. Stickiness refers to content that drives a visitor to stay rather than click away. It can be an amazing image, some information that will change their lives or simply a big shiny object...we've all been there. But if you've just found that article that you really needed, chances are you will follow a related link if you're given the option.
What K2 tags can do to help in this situation is to provide you with a very easy way to display related items. You can show articles (called items in K2 if you've forgotten) with links to related information based on similar category and the same tags. If you've paid attention to our recent article on writing good titles, then your readers won't be able to help but click on that article title link below the amazing information they've just finished reading...tagged with the same keyword.
So, we mentioned that big shiny object, and who doesn't love a nice tag cloud? K2 provides a feature to build a tag cloud based on, you guessed it, K2 tags! These are actually very good ways to suggest topics and articles to your readers, and to show what's popular. Everyone needs to read what everyone else is reading. And if you aren't happy with the built in tag cloud feature that K2 provides, there are several extensions that work well with K2 tags.
How to create them
So how do we create these things anyway? It's actually very easy to do. You can go about it a couple of different ways though, depending on how you like to organize.
You can either:
Create the tags before hand and use them each time you create an item in K2.
You can just create your item and then create your tag fresh each time. When you tag an item, that tag is placed in the database and is accessible on the Tags page in K2. The main benefit of having them created and stored this way is that as you type the tag in your K2 article, K2 gives you auto complete hints so you can keep using the same tags instead of only similar ones.
So go to the Tags page in your K2 Dashboard:
This is where you will keep track of all the tags that have been stored for your items. You can't do much beyond change the name of the tag, but that's really all you need to do with them. It is nice to be able to see what tags you have at a glance if you need to.
Here's what that very basic page looks like:
And to add tags, whether they've been pre-defined or not, we do that from the item page itself:
Let's say we're revisiting the ukulele blog we started a few weeks back. I would like my readers to find my articles more easily. I would most likely begin with something pretty general, "ukulele". When I type that in and then hit enter, K2 lets me know that it has created the tag by turning it into a green...tag.
Easy confirmation, instant gratification.
The last thing I would do is make sure I'm tagging this item with the proper tags. I like to start general and go very specific. Try to stick to four or five tags; don't overdo it. For this article I might also use "martin" for the make and "mahogany" for wood type.
Tags on their own actually don't do all that much, but when you combine them with front end tools like tag clouds, related item links and very directed and personalized search results, you have a very powerful solution that can keep your readers stuck on your site for quite a while.