Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

The importance of taxonomy

From: CMS Fundamentals

Video: The importance of taxonomy

In the chapter on terminology, I discussed what taxonomy is and described some of the tools and techniques people used to create taxonomies on their sites. In this movie I want to talk a little bit more about the 'why' behind it and give you some advice on building taxonomies for your site. Let me see if this scenario seems familiar to you. You read a fascinating article or watching an entertaining video on a web site and then return to the site about a month later, because you want to share it with a friend or link to it in a blog post, only you can't find it.

The importance of taxonomy

In the chapter on terminology, I discussed what taxonomy is and described some of the tools and techniques people used to create taxonomies on their sites. In this movie I want to talk a little bit more about the 'why' behind it and give you some advice on building taxonomies for your site. Let me see if this scenario seems familiar to you. You read a fascinating article or watching an entertaining video on a web site and then return to the site about a month later, because you want to share it with a friend or link to it in a blog post, only you can't find it.

Or you'll find it after what seems like hours of searching. I'm betting that this has happened to you, and probably more than once. One of the things that we've come to expect from the web is to have the ability to instantly find the exact piece of information or content we're looking for, and if that process is clunky, slow, or doesn't work at all, it leaves a very negative impression of the site. One of the most important tasks for any CMS is the organization and retrieval of content. After all, what's the point in managing your content if no one can find it? As sites get more complex and their content becomes more diverse, it's increasingly important to have a predefined structure in place to properly classify items and add meaning to how those content types relate to each other.

Taxonomies give us that structure, and they allow us to apply meaningful tags and categories to content that offers clarity. Creating taxonomies isn't hard. It just requires a lot of thought and discipline. Start with the terms that describe your content in the broadest sense. One way to do this is to think of the main navigational links on your site. If you offer products for sale, one of the top-level classifications will probably be products. Next, build a structured hierarchy of terms that describe that section.

Let's say that you sell healthy food products. After the products heading, you would list the top level of products that you sell; terms like bread, supplements and juices would make up the next level. From there, you simply flesh out all the terms that you need to accurately describe this section of content in terms that make sense to everyone. Now of course that's not all. After creating your initial terms, you should focus on creating synonyms for each term that people might use to search for the content. Instead of just listing milk in your taxonomy, for example, you'd want to include dairy or even lactose.

You also want to create generic tags that will help you to establish relationships. Although healthy wouldn't be a specific category, it is a tag that will help you identify related items later. And this doesn't mean that you have to overdo it. It's easy to just keep creating terms and categories until you have a taxonomy that's too complex to be effective. Content creators will simply stop using your vocabulary if it takes too long to add metadata to the content. Part of the challenge is to strike a balance between having a comprehensive vocabulary while still being small enough for it to be usable.

So what benefits do we derive from all this work? Well, obviously this content structure is going to make it easier when searching for content within your site. In fact, when I hear taxonomies discussed, search is the most frequently presented benefactor of it. As important as that is--and it is important--let's talk about some of the other ways taxonomies can improve your CMS's performance and enhance its value to your organization. Taxonomies can also greatly assist in improving your site's navigation. Obviously, creating sections and categories will help you understand what your site is all about, but it will also help you understand how your site should be structured.

By clearly defining content types, their internal structure, and how they relate to each other, you can accurately predict what type of information visitors are likely to be looking for and give them clear links and top-level access to assist them in finding it. Taxonomies will also help you find related content. Now often, we're not good at connecting the dots and understanding how content should be grouped. By taking the time to create structured taxonomies, you'll have a better idea of how content relates each other and make it easier for your CMS to show related articles, products, and services.

Another reason to take the time to build taxonomies for your site is to simplify vocabularies. If you work in a specialized industry, the medical field, or a governmental agency, you're probably surrounded by complex terminologies that the average visitor might struggle with. By associating these terms with simpler but associated vocabularies, you're improving the access to information within your site. Taxonomies also make it easier to reuse and repurpose content. For example, if you successfully tagged individual sections of an article, you'd be able to mine that article for sections that you'd want to republish at a later date or reuse within a related article elsewhere on the site.

These examples highlight the benefits of the content organization that taxonomies can bring to your site. Take the time to build out logical and well-structured taxonomies for your content. Once you start the process of managing content with your CMS, you'd be glad you did.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for CMS Fundamentals
CMS Fundamentals

44 video lessons · 24125 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. What CMS means for this course
      1m 44s
  2. 22m 52s
    1. What is a CMS?
      2m 47s
    2. The evolution of CMSs
      4m 4s
    3. CMS types
      6m 7s
    4. Basic CMS capabilities
      5m 4s
    5. When is a CMS right for you?
      4m 50s
  3. 1h 23m
    1. Comparing CMSs
      4m 28s
    2. Core features to research
      4m 41s
    3. Commonly overlooked issues
      4m 12s
    4. Properly assessing needs
      4m 39s
    5. Knowing when to seek assistance
      4m 15s
    6. Choosing a CMS for designers
      4m 45s
    7. Choosing a CMS for organizations
      4m 12s
    8. The pros and cons of hosted solutions
      2m 58s
    9. Hosted solution examples
      5m 51s
    10. The pros and cons of open source solutions
      4m 36s
    11. Open source CMS examples
      7m 6s
    12. Proprietary CMSs
      7m 48s
    13. A closer look at Drupal
      5m 7s
    14. A closer look at Joomla!
      4m 0s
    15. A closer look at WordPress
      5m 33s
    16. Resources for comparing CMSs
      9m 2s
  4. 43m 58s
    1. What is an open source CMS?
      3m 4s
    2. What is a LAMP stack?
      2m 53s
    3. What are WebDAV and FTP?
      2m 39s
    4. What is MySQL?
      2m 24s
    5. WYSIWYG editors
      3m 56s
    6. Understanding users, groups, and permissions
      4m 12s
    7. What is metadata?
      5m 19s
    8. Understanding taxonomy
      3m 35s
    9. What is version control?
      4m 23s
    10. What are themes and templates?
      3m 30s
    11. What is SEO?
      4m 42s
    12. What are web analytics?
      3m 21s
  5. 36m 31s
    1. Content management as a process
      4m 38s
    2. Properly defining roles
      5m 3s
    3. Planning a content strategy
      4m 1s
    4. The importance of taxonomy
      5m 7s
    5. Controlling content lifecycle
      6m 22s
    6. Challenges for CMS migrations
      3m 45s
    7. Steps for migrating content
      4m 16s
    8. Avoiding distractions
      3m 19s
  6. 2m 24s
    1. Additional resources
      2m 24s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed CMS Fundamentals.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.