Tags, Categories or Custom Search?

Hi there,

I’m working on a new website with Wordpress that is a niche product review site
The overall goal of the site is to help guide people to making the best purchasing decision for every day carry (EDC) pocket knives.

There are several criteria people might use to help them search for what they are looking for:
•Is the knife manual or assisted-opening? (2 variables)
•Blade Steel Composition (anout 10 variables)
•Blade Shape (about 6 variables)
•Country of Mfr (about 5 variables)
•Locking Mechanism (about 5 variables)

So for example, someone might be looking for a “assisted-opening”, “AUS8”, “Drop Point”, “Made in the USA”, “Liner Lock” knife - ideally I’d like to be able to have the user select these options and return a list that fits this criteria. This is, of course, only one “Use case” for the site, but I think it adds a lot of value in the selection process.

What might be the best way to help guide users through this selection process?
•Use of tags?
•Use of categories?
•Custom Fields in the post?
•Custom search plugin?

Would love to hear how others might have solved similar issues.

You might need to read up a little bit on organisation of your content and taxonomies. It can get a little confusing to know how they all relate to each other so I won’t do any explanations myself. There are plenty of good little tutorials and such available. You could start here.

And as for the custom search, it is always easier to search and filter when content is already tagged and categorised correctly. You’ll find lots of the custom search tools rely on these things being in place, so it isn’t an either or, it is a both and.