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Cover image for Dev.to Writing: Tag, you're it!

Dev.to Writing: Tag, you're it!

kallmanation profile image Nathan Kallman ・3 min read

Cover photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash


Tags here on dev.to play an important role in the discoverability of articles. They are one of the main factors in presenting articles to readers.

Without tags your post with be dead before you even publish it (trust me, I didn't tag some of mine and they still have less than 25 views...).

How to tag

The mechanics of tagging articles is as simple as can be. It is simply a list of up to four words, separated by commas.

If you are using the Basic markdown editor, simply edit (or add) the tags: line with the tags you want. This post is tagged meta, writing, and tutorial; so it would look like this:

tags: meta, writing, tutorial

If you are using the Rich + markdown editor (like me), then there's an input right below the w̶i̶t̶t̶y̶ title (with a helpful placeholder telling you what to do).

Dev.to Rich + markdown editor showing the tag input with placeholder text of "Add up to 4 tags..."

Like the Basic editor, just put in a comma separated list of tags.

Dev.to Rich + markdown editor showing the tag input filled in with the tags meta, writing, and tutorial

What to tag

While the mechanics of tagging are simple; choosing what tags to use is anything but (and a topic I am by no means an expert on).

While a tag can be any "word" like potato or besttagevar, I recommend starting with the "official" list of tags here on dev.to. This will give you a starting point of tags that already have a following. Sample a few of the tags that interest you to get a sense of whether your article fits in with others already tagged with a particular tag.

Try to apply as many appropriate tags as possible, but don't force it. Having a mistagged post will just annoy your readers.

Feel free to make up your own tag after using a few "official" ones. Writing consistently under a tag might make it official one day!

What tags do

Tags have three main affects:

  1. Quick meta-info displayed under post titles giving readers a sense of what they will click into.
  2. Users can view a feed by a single tag (like javascript)
  3. Tags users have followed will be prioritized in their regular feed (and this can be adjusted from settings; higher numbers give more priority to the tag and negative numbers give anti-priority, aka unfollow).

Hope this mini-tutorial helped clear any questions you have about tags on DEV. And encourage you to start writing!

Checkout the previous installments about the editors and how to make a series like this one. Follow me for more articles.

If you have your own question, just ask in a comment. I read all of them and would love to add another post in this series that will actually help other writers in this awesome community!

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Nathan Kallman

@kallmanation

Developer; Husband; Father; Gamer; Tinkerer; Writing about code on DEV.

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