A three part post for folks who want to tag their blog posts without the "del.icio.us for categories" combo.
1: What are Tags?
Tags are keywords that label the contents of a given page in a way that is visible to certain search engines. They allow you to shape & define your material in a way that is useful to you. There's two main ways to use tags:
A - On your own posts: Attach tags to your posts, either in the body of the text or at the end of your paragraph.
B - When you bookmark other people's posts: On services like del.icio.us & furl, you can save a list of material that you'd like to refer back to later. These services encourage you to tag your bookmarks so that related material stays together, and so that users can search "all bookmarks" to see everything from a given subject. You can tag something in your account any way you like, even if the author tagged it differently.
2: Why Tag?
As a blogger you should consider tagging your own posts for a couple of reasons.
A - Visibility: These tags are detectable by specific search engines, including IceRocket, Taggling, and Technorati. All of these services offer a "keyword" search of the body of the post too, but tags allow you to pick out a small number of relevant terms to label your post, and give your post a small number of "topic" labels. Tagging this way is worthwhile because the visibility of your posts increases & people will find your stuff through tag search results.
B - Ease: Tagging is very straightforward using one of the tools discussed below. All of the detection & submission to engines & such happens automatically once the tags are on the post & the post is published.
3: Sounds Groovy!! How do I do it?
Here's the code to tag your posts, where ******** is the tag-word of your choice:
<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/********" rel="tag">********</a>
but don't feel like you have to type that every time!! You can generate these tags with a tag-generating bookmarklet. Cathome1 and Oddiophile both offer these. Visit their pages & drag the bookmarklet link to your links bar, click it when you're ready to enter your tags, put your tags in the box & click OK. The bookmarklet will generate a line of code containing tags. Click over to the "edit HTML" side of the create post window, paste in the tags at the end of your post, & you're tagged!!
Tags don't have to link to technorati. As long as they have the rel="tag" attibute, technorati & the other engines will find them. To tag for categories, you can use Ted Ernst's bookmarklet which makes Technorati tags which link to del.icio.us, and then bookmark your posts there. See the links in my upper-right sidebar for the scoop on categories.
Want to know more? Check out You're It!!, the tagging blog, and the Technorati tag help page.
Update: Fritz has edited the bookmarklet script & hosted it on a US server. Check out his "Online Tag-o-Matic." As before, drag the "create tag text" to your links bar for bookmarklet operation.
Update 12/27/05: Technorati have added a number of new features, including the ability to filter tag search results by username, effectively enabling a single-blog category search.
See other posts in Blogger Hacks: The Series