Monday, 2 December 2013

Tag Cloud

A tag cloud is a stylized way of visually representing occurrences of words used to described tags. The most popular  topics are normally highlighted in a larger, bolder font. Visitors to a blog or site using a tag cloud, are able to easily see the most popular tags within the page - making it easy to discern the topics covered in one quick look. Also called a weighted list. 

Tag clouds offer a quite interesting approach for site navigation; although the technique is sometimes considered to be an “alternative”, it shouldn’t replace the “common” navigation but support it giving users additional clues about the content of the site. Due to their “cloudy” form the design of tag clouds sets them apart from other design elements on a page. And although designers don’t really have that much choice in designing them, they still find their ways to break through the bounds of creativity and come up with some unusual approaches and solutions.
Tagging is the process of labeling data with related keywords. The basic idea of tag clouds is to represent tags according to their meaning, their weight and their frequency relatively to other tags. This is done with appropriate font sizes and colors. The more important a tag is, the bigger and louder it appears (or at least should appear).

Tag clouds are often considered as one of the typical design elements in Web 2.0. However it’s possible that the concept is recently loosing its popularity. Over the last years many sites used the technique, because they wanted to look “smashy”, although they really weren’t. This resulted in unusable and boring designs, supported by the quick’n'dirty-tagging. The best example are probably Technorati’s tag clouds which have a number of repetitions, sometimes have spam and basically consist of mainstream and irrelevant terms.

A list of tags in what is called a 'tag cloud', where the size of each tag is determined by how many times that particular tag has been assigned to posts. 

Types of Tag Clouds

There is a variety of ways to implement tag clouds. Some methods are more popular than the other ones. Most clouds are primarily sorted alphabetically.

Tags are sorted alphabetically. The most important or frequent terms are highlighted via an appropriate font size.
Tags are sorted alphabetically. All terms have the same font size and weight. More important terms are highlighted with a font color or a background color.
Tags are sorted according to their importance or frequency. Both font-size and colors can be used to emphasize the importance of terms.
Tags aren’t sorted at all. Font-size, font-weight and colors in use.
Tags are sorted according to their similarity. Similar terms appear as neighbours next to each other. A variety of visual formatting can be applied.

Complete Tagpages

Since tag clouds tend to use large areas of layouts, sometimes they are moved to a single page. There they have much space and designers can risk experiments they wouldn’t risk in a sidebar. Such design solutions are quite rare.

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Benefits Of A Tag Cloud

On your blog, your tag cloud will show a list of popular tags. Tags, or subject keywords, will appear based on frequency of use. If your blog is about dieting, you might have many diet-related words in the cloud but the most popular tags will appear to be the largest.

Not only does the cloud show popular words but is clickable as well. If someone sees a word that appeals to them, they’re going to click it and be taken to a category search, where they’ll be directed to a results page filled with blog posts of yours that use that tag in them. Each click that is made on your site could be a click closer to a sale.

The tag cloud shouldn’t be overbearing or incredibly large on the blog but it’s a good idea to make sure people can see it. You might place it on a sidebar just below the fold, for instance.

Choosing Tags

Keyword research can help you choose tags to use. Using tools that help you determine keywords to use and then sprinkling those words throughout your text can help you get search engine traffic based on those words. When creating your WordPress blog post, be sure to enter those tags into the tag field as well as use them in the blog post itself.

It’s a good idea to pick a few standard tags that you’ll use regularly. 


Nidhi Jain [ MBA eComm]
Asst Project Manager [ eComm]
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