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Wattpad lets you give your story a genre to help make it more discoverable and fit within certain categories so readers can easily access it. It also helps to make sure it relates to other stories, prompting recommended works and What's Hot lists.

However, Wattpad allows for far more specific ways of identifying your story in the form of tags, one of the most underused systems on Wattpad, yet one that is probably the most fundamentally important to the discoverability of your story through the search engines. Each story gets about 20 tags to work with and they help to give clarity to subgenres and general aspects of your work.

But why do they matter?

1) You can search by tags! This is not commonly known among anyone on Wattpad, but if you put a # in front of any word you type into the Discover bar, you will search all stories by tags. It won't search by author or title like usual but will instead identify with tags. You can then further refine a search for its categories that it falls into, so if you want a fan fiction story about pokemon, #pokemon and then clicking fan fiction narrows that down pretty quick, as opposed to only searching stories with pokemon in the title. But if you don't tag your work, readers can't find it by searching that way!

2) They can be clicked through stories. If you're reading a story you can click the tags it was given to see all other stories with that tag, leading people from one work to the next. This also helps guide Wattpad in automatically recommending stories to someone. Which means automatically recommending your story! Always remember the more data you give Wattpad about your story, the more it can give back to you.

3) Trending tags. This is a relatively recent beta addition to Wattpad that can be found when hovering over discover. There are currently four major tags that are trending though they can always change, as indicated in the name. If your story falls into one of the four current tags yet you haven't given it that tag, you're missing out on potential readers.

4) Tags have very high retention rates. Obviously nobody could know this without data from Wattpad, which is why I'm sharing it to help you guys understand why tools are important on Wattpad. People who search stories using tags or click through the trending tags, tend to stick to the story longer, as compared to recommended stories or discover. In theory, this is because people searching with tags know what they want and they want something specific. Most of us go to the bookstore and head to our favourite genre section, but we probably also want something specific in it, so we spend hours searching. But with Wattpad's tags, you can specifically indicate what is in your story and thus can drag in those readers who wanted exactly what you're offering.

Tags can seem really strange and meaningless when you first start. They don't appear to do anything upon inputting them. However, they are a critical component of your story. Even this work has tags as an example. Also, as you type in a tag, note the drop down menu that appears showing you if that tag has ever been used before. If you begin to type in "dragonette," the title of your book, and notice there is a "dragon" tag, you may just want to go with dragon because it already has more works and people searching for it. If you create a new tag you run the risk of being the only story in that group.

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