Labels on your blog posts are important in order to categorize and sort them so that your readers may easily find what they’re looking for (more here). Labels provide a sort of keyword map to what is included in your blog. Of the two types of labels – tag clouds and lists – which is better for your blog?
Tag Cloud Labels
Tag clouds are much more visual cues, as the labels that are used most often in your blog posts will appear in the largest font. Rather than needing a number beside the word depicting how many blog posts have that label, the larger words tell your readers immediately which labels are the most popular topics – or keywords within topics – you’ve written about. When using a tag cloud, I find the number of posts beside the word unnecessary, therefore don’t use that option.
If using blogger, you may create your tag cloud of labels to display alphabetically or by frequency, the latter showing the larger font at the top. Deciding which method to display is a personal choice, but having the labels on a tag cloud sort by frequency, from largest font to smallest, seems redundant. The more popular keywords don’t need to be at the top since the size of the word itself, wherever it appears in the tag cloud, immediately tells you its importance. If your reader is looking for a particular topic or keyword that is less popular, thereby in a smaller font, alphabetical is the better option. I prefer to sort labels alphabetically if I’m using a tag cloud. The photo above is a tag cloud of labels from one of my blogs.
Text List Labels
Some people may not understand what a tag cloud is at first glance, or may think it looks clunky and less professional. If you’re not sure what your audience would prefer, or want a cleaner, most streamlined look to your blog, you might choose to use a list of labels instead of a tag cloud.
A list is simply a row of word labels that appear on your blog. Like tag clouds, you can choose to arrange the list alphabetically or by frequency. Since the purpose of all labels is to help your readers find specific content quickly, I prefer to make an alphabetical list as opposed to having the most frequently used words on top.
As with tag clouds, you may opt to include the number depicting the amount of blog posts with that label to show beside the word. Since all text on your list of labels will be the same size, showing the number makes more sense on a list than it does a tag cloud, but the choice is yours. Your readers may not care how many times you’ve written about a particular topic or keyword.
How You Display Your Labels Isn’t Set in Stone
I display labels on all of my blogs rather than archiving by date, and use both tag clouds and lists. Because switching from one to the other takes a single keystroke, I occasionally change from lists to tag clouds and vice versa, just to switch things up a bit. My blogs are ever evolving, and what looks good with one template and background may look completely different with another.
Play with the options available for labels and see what’s most appealing for the way your blog is set up. Unsure of what your readers prefer? Create a poll on your blog and ask for their input.