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Fun with Word Clouds, and How to Make One For Your Blog or Website

by Corinne Battle on January 25, 2013

in Fun Stuff, Technology, Web Design, WordPress Tips

Word Clouds Are Everywhere!

I don’t know about you but I have been seeing Word Clouds (or Tag Clouds) everywhere these days – on websites, on marketing materials, on Pinterest, in stock photos, and even on school projects that my kids bring home. (Yes, my kids are doing word clouds in computer class at school!) I love how these word clouds can visually represent the relative importance of specific words or content. I’ve even heard of people using word clouds in their job search! (Paste in your resume and create a word cloud that represents your work experience.)

What’s a Word Cloud?

For those that don’t know what a word cloud or tag cloud is, here is an abridged definition from Dictionary.com: “a visual representation of tags or keywords that classify and describe content, typically a grouping of words in different font sizes, as to show relative frequency or provide links to further information“.

As en example, here are a few I made that describe my website and WordPress services:
Wordpress-word-cloud-wordle-red-600px

Wordpress-word-cloud-wordle-600px

Word Cloud example for WordPress website designer or developer(The artistic side of me really loves all the color and font options that are available here!)

How Are They Used in WordPress?

In WordPress blogs, word clouds are often called “Tag Clouds” and they enable users to see what topics in the blog are most important, or talked about most frequently. You assign each blog article some tags, relevant to the article, and then display a tag cloud in your sidebar or footer (using Widgets) showing the relative amount of content for each tag, like this:

WordPress Tag Cloud Example

Example of a tag cloud displayed on my other website, Bagalicious.biz.

Each word is a link and clicking a particular word will show you all articles in the blog that have been tagged, or categorized, with that particular word. (Tag clouds work with WordPress categories also, so if you’re using categories but not tags, you can still display a tag cloud.) Tags that are used more often are shown in a larger font size.

How Can I Make My Own Word Cloud?

If you want to make up your own word cloud, for a blog article or website I recommend using Wordle, which is FREE and easy to use. You can enter in an existing web page, or type in your own content like this:
Example of using Wordle for a WordPress website designer

Once you’ve entered either your content or a website page, click Go or Submit to create the initial word cloud, and you’ll see something like this:
Word cloud example, made with Wordle

From there you can click Randomize to see other variations, and play with the Edit, Language, Font, Color and Layout menu options (across the top) to customize it further. Once you have the word cloud as you like it, click “Open in Window” to open it in a separate window. Resize the window to the size you want your word cloud to be then click Alt-PrtScr to copy the image to the Clipboard. From there you can paste it into any graphics program, Word, etc. and save it as an image file.

Why Use a Word Cloud?

Here a few reasons why you might want to make a word cloud:

  • Word clouds are a great way to see what your main focus has been with your blog or website.
  • You can use the word clouds you create as background or cover images for your website, Facebook, or Twitter page.
  • You can be creative and make some really colorful and artistic word clouds.
  • Give your readers an idea of what the focus words are of your blog or website.
  • Paste your blog article text into a word cloud to see if you’re focusing on the right keywords, for SEO purposes.
  • Same thing for your website page content – make sure you’re using your important keywords for better SEO.
  • The word cloud is unique; there won’t be another exactly like yours.
  • It’s a lot of FUN! And It’s FREE!

Your Thoughts?

I had such a good time creating word clouds that I just had to share. :-) Have you used word clouds? Do you use tag clouds on your WordPress site? What are your favorite tools for making word clouds and what do you use them for? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to share them in the comments area below. Thanks!

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