By Jill McCubbin

The “word cloud” graphic below is the result of plugging market2world’s home page content into a free online tool called Wordle. At www.wordle.net you can generate amazing “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater, weighted prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text, giving you a graphic clue as to the effectiveness of your Web site copy.

As of today’s writing, this is market2world's word cloud:

Note that if your Web site has no RSS feed (why not?), Wordle won’t work on your site’s URL, but if your Web site is RSS-equipped, or if you want to manually cut and paste Web page copy into Wordle then you are all set.

I’ve imagined quite a few uses for Wordle clouds, including:

  • visual "confirmation" at your next board meeting that your home page is communicating the right key words / key messaging
  • a graphic tool to present a job description in an new/exciting way
  • a sidebar "illustration" that complements any content – as the illustration is based on words from the topic or newsletter or event description or blog post
  • an easily generated image that any business can use to great effect to draw attention to / brighten up an otherwise static or word-heavy Web page

And something more to look into, if you're a visualization fanatic: Jonathan Feinberg, creator of Wordle.net, also contributed a chapter about Wordle to O'Reilly Media's book, Beautiful Visualization: Looking at Data through the Eyes of Experts. Wordle is definitely a tool for graphic artists, but also is perfect for creative entrepreneurs.

Note: If you have a blog integrated into your RSS-equipped Web site and on your home page, Wordle’s results will be affected by the blog copy, which can help you make a case for more keyword-driven blogging.

(Jill McCubbin is a conversation architect with market2world communications inc., Ottawa, Canada's tech PR and product marketing agency.)

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