Tags in Joomla! have been around since version 3.1, infact this was one of the hot new features then. We never created a deep dive article into Joomla tags, so we've decided to give this a good look, a detailed tutorial and description of the functionality available.
Rather than having to use such concepts as sections, and sub sections, categories, etc etc, tags are simply a way of classifiying and creating a relation between content with keywords or key phrases. You're simply organizing (tagging) the content but without having to follow the strict hierarchy imposed by the usual sections and categories in Joomla.
The great thing about tags in Joomla is that these can be used across any type of content item, whether this is a content article, a section or category, a web link, a contact, a newsfeed or whatever else - most content supports tagging.
One very good advantage of using tags is to get people to visit other related content on your Joomla website. You obviously want your users to stay on your website as long as possible, and tags is an excellent way of luring visitors to other content.
As you can see all over www.collectiveray.com, we tend to use tags as necessary.
How to apply tags to content
Ok so now we understand what tags are, but how do you apply tags in Joomla? There are two main ways to create content tags:
1. Ad-hoc tags
In each content where it is possible to apply the tags, you will see the contents as in the image here:
In that spac, you can add as many ad hoc tags as you want.
If you want to add tags which already exist, you will see that this field will auto-complete with existing tags as soon as you type the first three letters. If the tag doesn't exist yet, type it, hit Enter, and the tag will be created automatically. The next image shows the result of tags created after writing an article. The item below has been used to create the tags: "joomla", "tags", "tutorial"
2. Using the Tags manager
The Tags manager can be accessed via Components > Tags. Here you will be able to create as many tags as you want which you then will be able to use throughout your Joomla website.
Note, that with tags created (or edited) via the Tags manager, you will be able to add a description, specify various publishing options and you'll be able to associate a "preview" and "full" image.
The use of the images and publishing options associated to the tags will become apparent when we come to the next piece of the tutorial - displaying tags in Joomla.
Displaying the Tags associated with your Joomla content
As we mentioned at the top, one of the benefits of using tags is to keep users browsing your site. There are various ways to display the tags in the Joomla front end.
1. Tags in Content Articles
By default tags associated with any piece of content will automatically display on that content. You choose to show these tags or not in the Article options, though by default these will show.
Each tag is also linked to other Joomla content with the same tag, so by clicking on that tag you will be sent to the other tagged content.
2. Popular Tags module
Another way of displaying the tags (and probably the most popular and used way) is by Using the default Joomla "Popular Tags" module. This module shows those tags which are popular within your website.
You can obviously customize the module like you would customize any other Joomla module, with various options related to the tags themselves, and to the normal module parameters.
Again, each tag displayed by the module here has a direct link to content which is tagged with the same keyword, or tag phrase.
3. A menu item with tagged content
The third and very convenient way to display your tagged content is by creating a menu item which links directly to your created tags.
Since as we said before, we are trying to organize our content in such a way that we keep our users on the site, we can then guide our users via a menu item linked directly to our tags.
As you can see below, we created a new menu item, which is dislaying a list of tagged items which we chose - we chose "joomla" and "tags" to display. You can also choose to limit the content to particular Joomla content rather than everything. This obviously allows you to tweak the display to your preferences.
As we can see the native tags functionality of Joomla is rich and can be used extensively to create keyword or keyphrase based organization of content, this is particularly helpful for content which is across categories or sections, but which is still related.
Do you use Joomla tags? Have you found them useful? Describe and share your experience with us below!