Thursday, June 4, 2009

Checking Out Blogs: Do You Pay Any Attention to the Labels?

Labels Screenshot2Earlier this week I was talking with someone here in Kansas City about my blog and I invited him to check it out.  That got me to thinking…when someone checks out my blog, do they just look at the top post or two and decide if it is of any interest to them? 


But I would suggest a much more productive way of using my blog (or most any other blog). And that is by paying attention to the labels.   Almost every blogger of any seriousness will label his/her posts.  It is a (albeit imperfect) way of indexing posts as you go along.  After 10-15 posts, you realize that you are posting on a variety of subjects.  It might be (and is) helpful for people to be able to go back an see what you have posted on any specific subject.

For most bloggers, somewhere on their main page there will be a list of “Labels.”  While Blog Archive serves as a sort of chronological “Table of Contents,” the Labels are more useful as an “Index” for the entirety of the blog.

After a while you begin to standardize your labels.  The labels can be SO post specific as to be fairly useless.  For example, long-time readers will (maybe) remember that in the early days (most of 2007), I would label a post with the name of any person I was discussing in the post (C.S. Lewis, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Bill Hybels, etc).  They were labeled as:

  • People-Bill Hybels
  • People-C.S. Lewis. 
  • People-Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Unfortunately, I would only focus on a person in one or two posts and the labels list got unwieldy and more and more useless, since you had to scroll through all of these People-… entries in the list.  And so through the years I have standardized my labels list.  That doesn’t mean that I never add a label (I did the middle of last month when I added the label “series”).

For what it’s worth, I am currently working with a list of 130 labels. 

I made a list of the labels on which I have blogged 10 or more times in the 2+ years I have been blogging here.  For your reading pleasure, here they are in descending order:

  • Preparation (48)
  • Preaching [Generally] (35)
  • Personal (32)
  • Illustrations (30) –I probably should subdivide this out into posts about illustrating sermons from posts that contain specific sermon illustrations. 
  • The Preacher (29)
  • Listeners (22)
  • Quotes (22)
  • Conferences & Workshops (17)
  • Bible (15)
  • Introductions (15)
  • Politics (15) –this number is boosted by the series of posts I did when the lives of a number of us Tigard pastors were threatened and I was harassed by Neo-Nazis a little over a year ago.
  • Extemporaneous Preaching (13) –this was a special personal focus at the end of 2008.
  • Prayer (13)
  • Culture (12)
  • Outline (12)
  • Holy Spirit (11)
  • Humor (11)
  • Application (10)
  • Books (10)
  • Powerpoint (10)
  • Stewardship (10)

Check some of them out. But more important, when you check out a new blog, go to their labels and see on what sorts of things the blogger posts.

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