Tag Clouds – Are they any good?

Politics, , , Music, Family, Religion, Personal, Random, Photography, Art, Culture, Thoughts, Food, Poetry, Travel. These are the ” items on WordPress. People use Clouds as a quick reference and a way to find new information.

Tag Clouds have not been around that long, although a crude  form can be traced back to 1995. Flickr started using clouds, and the idea grew. Now, Tag Clouds are found on many websites.

What is a Tag Cloud? Well, in it’s basic form, its a group of key words that vary in font size. The bigger the tag, the more often it’s used.

The best part about a tag cloud is that it gives you a starting point. Unlike a search engine, you have to input the criteria. Sometimes words are hit or miss to what you are looking for. Example: try typing in “Intel”. You might get information about the company, but other times you will get silly references because the word appeared on a site in an add or in the footer information. Pretty frustrating if you are searching for something.

The not so good thing about tag clouds is they don’t give you an idea of where you are going. It’s more of a “Let’s find something randomly in this area of interest”. Perfect for those who are looking for something new, but it can be a fruitless effort.

Still, the advantage of a Tag Cloud is that it looks at what a person posted – not what is on the web page. So for this article, I’ll probably put “Tag, Cloud, top, , life, news”. Any of these tags might just point someone to this article. I left out “Politics” because this is not a political post.

If you make a tag cloud, remember the “KISS” rule (Keep it Simple Stupid). Most likely each “Tag” should be one word. You can do 2 or 3, but nothing really past that. It’s a quick reference – not a search term.  

Responsible tagging is key to getting traffic to your social networking site. And no, if I went “Politics, Politics, Politics”, it won’t increase my visibility in a tag cloud.

So give it a try – check out the Tag Cloud and see where it takes you

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