What are Tag Clouds?

funny-pictures-cloud-cat

funny-pictures-cloud-cat This may seem like an easily answered question to many of you in the bloggosphere, but many others are not familiar with the concept of tag clouds.  I thought it would be a good idea to give some of you quick explanation of the concept of tag clouds.

So what are tag clouds and why are they important? I want you to look at it this way:

Every bit of content added to a site, be it videos, images, blog posts, articles, can be "Tagged" with keywords. Take this for example.   I upload a photo to my "wall."  There will be a field called Description which allows me to enter the description of the photo. 

For example: I upload a picture of a red rose.  I can type in the description: "This is a hybrid red rose grown in my science class."  Also on the screen would be a field called "Tags."  It is here that I can type in short keywords "classifying" this photo.

In this case my tags would be: flowers, science experiments, hybrid

Next, I can write a blog post.  This post will have some elements tied to it.  For example, a title field which is the title of the blog post, the story field; which is the whole blog post, and the Tag field, which I can type in short keywords classifying this blog post.

For example: I write a blog post titled "How Hybrid cars can save the world"  and the story would be something about hybrid cars and how they work and how they are good for the environment. Now and can add Tags to classify this blog post.   In this case I could tag the story with "hybrid, electricity, green, cars"

Here is an screenshot from my WordPress Add New Post screen…notice the Post Tags section to the right:

how to add tag clouds to wordpress

So now, with this added content, my tag cloud would display ALL of the tags  "flowers, science experiments, hybrid, electricity, green, cars." BUT since there are more tags for hybrid, the tag cloud would display all of the tags, but the tag Hybrid would display in a larger, bolder font.  The more content that is added and tagged with the keyword Hybrid, the bigger and darker the word Hybrid would get.

This gives visitors an indication of what is popular on the site…the bigger and bolder tags indicated the most popular content.  Here is the tag cloud from tonyrocks.com:

what is a tag cloud example

When you click on any of the tags in the tag cloud, you are presented with a list of all content associated with that tag (similar to a Google search engine result). My blog tag cloud says that Twitter and SEO are the most popular content items on my site.

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