A tag cloud is a name for a collection of keywords that are displayed as a big block of text. Usually the most commonly occurring keyword is the largest, and the least commonly occurring keyword is the smallest. Tag clouds are a neat way of allowing your users to navigate your content in a different way, simply be letting them look over the cloud and linking each keyword to sections of your site that contain that word.
Wordpress comes with this function built in and is already available as a widget. However, after adding a few hundred posts this tag cloud can get rather large and this widget can stretch your sidebar to stupid proportions. A way around this is to create a page that can be used to display this large tag cloud. The first step is to create a page template that will be used to run the correct Wordpress function to display the tags. This is done by making a copy of your normal page template (call it tagpage.php) and adding the following code at the top.
Template Name: Tags
When you go to create a page you will see a list of available templates to select from, one of these will be called Tags. Add in your title and some descriptive text and select this template.
Next, we need to add a call to the wp_tag_cloud() function, this basically prints out a small tag cloud. Add the following code into your page template so that is fits in with the rest of your design.
<?php wp_tag_cloud(); ?>
As with most Wordpress functions, wp_tag_cloud() allows you to add lots of parameters to change the output of the function. There are lots of different options available, but the main ones that will be used are as follows:
- smallest - This designates the font size to be used for the least commonly occurring tag. The units are by default in 'pt' or points, but this can be changed via the unit parameter.
- largest - This designates the font size to be used for the most commonly occurring tag.
- unit - Unit of measure as pertains to the smallest and largest values. This can be any CSS length value, e.g. pt, px, em, %; default is pt (points).
- number - This tells the function how many tags to include in the tag cloud. The default is 45, but to print out all tags just use 0.
These parameters are given as an encoded string, for example, to change the number of tags printed from the default of 45 to 20 use the following code.
<?php wp_tag_cloud('number=20'); ?>
Multiple parameters are separated by the & character.
<?php wp_tag_cloud('number=20&largest=200'); ?>
Take a look at the Wordpress manual for more information about the wp_tag_cloud() function.
Finally, there is also a function called wp_generate_tag_cloud() that has the same functionality as wp_tag_cloud() but will always return the HTML string that makes the tag cloud. This function is good if you want to include the tag cloud into your site template.