Looking for a good WordPress tagging plugin

Since tagging is all the rage nowadays, I’ve been looking for a good plugin that adds this functionality to WordPress. Tagging is a nice, quick way to add useful metadata to an entry or post, and besides this basic feature, it allows for other useful features as well. For example, for an entry I could display a list of similar or related entries, based on common tags. It would also make entries integrated better with Technorati. WordPress doesn’t currently include a tagging function, instead relying on its old categorization system, but I assume that tags are an upcoming feature, slated to either replace or complement categories. But there are just a few snags preventing me from fully adopting a tagging system, despite the benefits it would offer.

Firstly, there are just so many tagging plugins out there, that I have a tough time deciding which ones are good, or even which ones have the features I want. (Or even what features I want!) Reading up on other people’s personal experiences, while useful, is also very time-consuming, but I’ve run into a few potential plugins.

Firstly, Ultimate Tag Warrior seems to be a feature-rich plugin that should have everything I’d ever need. Besides tagging support, it also offers support for weighted tag clouds, similar to what you have at del.icio.us. But, since it keeps tags separate from categories (not a bad thing), it uses its own table for tag storage, which could create problems when upgrading. But this is a minor problem, as I’m sure a writing a script for the upgrade conversion would be trivial. But, I’ve also heard some negativity about it, and from playing around with it for a bit, it seems to have almost too many features for me.

This category-tagging plugin also looks decent. In contrast to Ultimate Tag Warrior, it just uses the WordPress categories as tags, and thus shouldn’t have to rely on any other tables besides WordPress’ own. This plugin thus probably does the least modification, and this is good since less is often more. An additional benefit is that no more work would be required in order to display tags, since categories would become tags. It also includes nice functions such as a weighted tag cloud. Yet another plugin, Cat2Tag also seems to provide similar functionality to this one. These plugins would also probably be the best option in considering future versions of WordPress – I believe it’s likely that categories will be supplanted by tags in the next major version.

But maybe the main reason for my apprehension is my unnatural like of the structure of categories. You see, tags have become such a big thing because they are easy to use, and natural to most everyone. But for me, it seems to be the opposite. Despite not being able to deny the usefulness of tags, I would still like to have categories alongside them. For me, tags can be too open-ended, but perhaps this is just in the sematics of how tags are used – I suppose tags can be just as structured as categories. Perhaps a good compromise would be categories for the main subject and tagging for keywords; this would provide a good structure and still have the good metadata of tags. This would also eliminate the need for a nightmare hierarchy of categories and sub-categories. (Ultimate Tag Warrior could provide this functionality.)

But, maybe I’ll just have to learn to deal with a tags-only system if and when WordPress switches over to tags. In the meantime, I’ll probably be fence-sitting, undecided on what to do, and inevitably, stuck without tags.


I’ve decided to go with the simple, but effective Category Tagging Plugin for WordPress, since it uses WordPress’ own categories as “tags”, and so integrates nicely while at the same time providing much-needed “Related Posts” and “Tag Cloud” functions. The fact that it doesn’t create another table for the tags makes it easy to switch out from using this plugin, should the need arise. Stay tuned for more details.

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