What do you think a Tag Cloud is?
Is it a cloud floating in the sky with a flag stuck in it – just like the big cheeses at the cheese counter? Or a fluffy cumulus with a brigh orange plastic marker punched in its ear like a mountain sheep so that we know who is belongs to? Or is it a tracking device for my named cloud so that I can watch its journey from one county to another, and like our best balloon races – for the lucky few clouds who manage to travel from one continent to another, I can puff myself up with pride knowing that MY cloud has flown far afield?
I am sorry to disappoint the poetic flights of fancy on this one – it is far more technical than that. A Tag Cloud is all about website searches and key words. It sits resting on the right hand side of your screen – cloud like (although not floating high up on the page as there is not enough room). It consists of key words – which are linked to the search function of the site. The most popular keywords are bigger and bolder than the lesser ones that are not so much in the limelight. They are the meek and more humble words over-shadowed by the big bold bullies of the popular gangs of favourite searches.
What happens when you click on a key word in a Tag Cloud?
The very clever software does an immediate search of all the articles on the site looking for that particular keyword. The results will appear as a series of short paragraphs and snippets taken from the articles containing that word with the word itself highlighted in a pretty pink – just so that you can see exactly where it can be found. Each snippet has a clickable link taking you to that article. Clever innit?
If you are actually looking for something particular – rather than playing fluffy games with my Tag Cloud – then another search option appears at the bottom of the screen which when clicked will search for that same word on Google. Other than that you can choose to look for another word or phrase in the seach option at the top of the page.
Which keywords appear in the Tag Cloud?
In the early days of a site which has little content the keywords may appear irrelevant as it will pick up random words such as "and" or "not". These words can be blacklisted so that they do not appear but actually when more content is published, the Cloud software will pick up the more specific keywords searched for most regularly by the site users. Added to this we can create a whitelist of words that we DO want to see. Over time and with regular use the Tag Cloud will become more representative of the site theme and content. So happy searching!