[This is an expanded version of the “Using tags effectively” section on my How to gain attention in the Writeblr Community guide here. Please check that out as well!]
This is a question I get often, and it’s really difficult to figure out how this works on your own, so here’s a handy little guide!
So in order to figure out how to use tags, we have to know how tagging works on Tumblr.
How tags work on Tumblr
- Only the first five tags will show up in tracked tags. (i.e., if you tag your post #writeblr, and I’m following the tag #writeblr, it might pop up on my dashboard even if I’m not following you.)
- Only the first twenty tags will show up in tumblr search.
- Reblogs will not show up in tracked tags or search.
- Hyphens (-) won’t show up in tracked tags.
That’s a lot to remember, are you still with me? The most important thing to remember about tagging your work is that the first five tags are the most important. You want to use your biggest, most relevant tags in the first five.
What tags you should use
So you know that the first five are most important, but what tags should you use? What tags are the best?
Here’s what I usually use and though I don’t know if they’re particularly popular or not, but they’ve worked for me just fine.
Tags to use for any writing-related post
- #Writeblr and #writing for any writing-related post that you make. These two are the most important tags. I also sometimes include #writblr because some people use that tag instead.
- If you have spare room in your first five tags, because you don’t have anything else to tag it with, try using #writers of tumblr, #writeblr community and #writers to maximize your tagging potential. These should only be used in your first five if you have extra space!
Tags to use for your original writing
- #creative writing, #amwriting, #original writing, are a fantastic place to start.
- Remember to tag your genre as well, like #fantasy, #science fiction, #urban fantasy, #young adult, #YA, depending on what you write for.
- Tagging your writing type can also be effective, such as #drabble, #flash fiction, #excerpt, etc., if they are relevant.
- Tags like #angst, and #fluff are also really popular, so if either of those apply to your writing, try including that!
- If you have some additional space, #WIP, #WIPs, #OC, #OCs also will work, depending on what you’re posting about.
Tags to use for writing advice
- #writing advice, #writing help, #writing tips are the most commonly used ones.
- You can and probably should specify what your writing advice is about like #description, but that can wait for the tags after the first five.
Tags to use for relatable writing content and memes
- #just writer things, #writing memes, #writing meme are the biggest ones in Writeblr, I believe.
- #writing problems also work depending on what your post is.
- Other tags not specific to the writing community like #memes, #relatable also work, for an even broader audience outside of Writeblr.
Tags to use for writing encouragement and positivity
- #writing positivity, #writing encouragement are commonly used.
- Other tags not specific to the writing community like #positivity and #encouragement also work, for an even broader audience outside of Writeblr.
Which tags you should use
So that’s a lot of potential tags to use, and only the first five will show up in tracked tags! How in the world are you going to prioritize?
Figure out what type of post you’re making, and don’t get greedy! If it’s not a writing meme, don’t tag it as such. The best way to maximize your tag usage is to use a combination of various tags that are the most relevant to your post. Try mixing and matching and experimenting!
What to do after the first five tags
The first twenty tags will show up in search, and also the organization of your personal blog tags. For example, I use #Undine writes stuff to organize all of my original writing on my blog — chances are, people aren’t following that tag, but it’s important to my writeblr. Your next priority should be your organizational tags for your own blog.
You can also include some tags that you couldn’t fit in the first five! Again, the first twenty will show up in search so if you think someone might search a particular tag, it’s a good idea to include it as well.
And finally, any comments that you want to leave in the tag should be after you get all of your important tags out of the way!
Your personal writeblr tag
So a lot of writeblrs like to use their own url as tags whenever they make an original post, so people can find it easily.
However, if you’re like me and your url has hyphens in it, it will not show up anywhere! So instead of #pens-swords-stuff, I use #pens swords stuff.
This also goes for all of your people tagging other writeblrs in your hashtags — if they have a hyphen in their url, try writing it out without the hyphens so it’ll show up!
Don’t bother trying to use popular tags for reblogs
Your tags won’t show up in any tracked tags or searches if it’s not an original post! When you reblog someone else’s posts, you can forget the first 5 tag rule, and just jump straight into your organizational tags and your tag comments.