Tag clouds are collections of links that show the relative importance of keywords within a website. When the user clicks on a tag, only the content that was marked and classified with it is loaded. Here I'll share my thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of using tag clouds.
- Users can quickly determine the importance of a topic through the its relation to others
- The content is quickly accessible compared to a slow search
- Trends and topics are easily discovered
- The topics are SEO friendly and may increase the traffic of the website
- Tags frequently consume too much screen space
- Tag clouds look like a random collection of text snippets, mixed in a soup
- Too many tags and options to choose from overwhelms the user, so the number of tags should be kept to a minimum
- The variations of font sizes make the tag cloud less readable, so the number of font sizes should be kept to a minimum
- There is no easy way to find valuable information that was evaluated as less important
- A higher traffic to the site due to the tag cloud doesn't say anything if users actually find what they are looking for
- Search engines might evaluate tag clouds as an attempt for keyword abuse
If you can omit tag clouds on your website, do it. Creating a large tag soup will negatively affect the user experience. Tags shouldn't be used instead of content—they are much less important. For large websites, you can offer your users a convenient way to search for keywords and display the results unobtrusively according to their relevance.