How to Display Most Popular Tags in WordPress

Do you have a lot of tags on your WordPress website? If so, you may want to consider displaying the most popular tags on your website. This will allow you old and new visitors to find your most popular content by tags. If you’re not already using categories and tags on your WordPress website, then you are missing out.

Both categories and tags have their own advantages and both are equally helpful to your visitors. They also greatly help your website’s SEO in different ways. Your most popular tags in WordPress are always tied to your most popular content since tags are used to identify content. Today I will demonstrate how to show popular tags in WordPress using the Simple Tags plugin.

Why Display the Most Popular Tags to Visitors

It’s no surprise that all content is not viewed evenly on websites and that is fine. In fact, it’s extremely common for certain pieces of content to have more than three times the number of views than other pieces or to keep up with new releases weeks or months after the initial release. If we consider how a YouTube channel works, then this is easy to understand. Videos and blogs are definitely different content, but the concept of popularity distribution is the same. Go on your favorite YouTube channel and find their most popular video and compare that to the others on the channel and yes, the length of time the video has been out will be a factor. Is it more than double or triple than the other videos on their channel?

You may want all of your content to have the same success, but that certainly will not happen. You should not fight it either, but embrace it because it still generates a lot of website traffic and that can easily be translated into ad revenue and really help your website out. Tags are tools that help you sort your content in a very similar way as categories do, and if a tag is popular, then the content related to that tag will also be popular. This allows you to intentionally try to create similar content so it can share a tag with your most popular content.

How to Display Most Popular Tags in WordPress

Today I will demonstrate how to show popular tags in WordPress using the Simple Tags plugin. This is a popular tag focused plugin with over 100,000 active installs. It has plenty of tag related features, but we will focus on how to display the most popular WordPress tags. Remember, if you have not taken the time to create and set up tags on your website this tutorial will not help you.

Let’s begin by clicking on Plugins and selecting the Add New option on the left-hand admin panel.

Add New


Search for Simple Tags in the available search box. This will pull up additional plugins that you may find helpful.

Search for Simple Tags in the available search box.

Scroll down until you find the Simple Tags plugin and click the “Install Now” button and activate the plugin for use.

click the "Install Now" button

On the left-hand admin panel click on Appearance and select the Widgets option. This will pull up the widgets page, which can help you customize your website.

click on Appearance and select the Widgets option.

The widgets are arranged alphabetically to help you locate them quickly. Find the Tag Cloud (Simple Tags) widget. Do not get it confused with the normal WordPress Tag Cloud, which should be very close to it because of the way they are ordered and displayed.

Find the Tag Cloud (Simple Tags) widget.

Drag and drop the widget into your active widgets on the right side. Its location on your website is up to you like most widgets. Once it is placed, you will see a long list of settings that you can use to customize what you are displaying.

Once it is placed you will see a long list of settings

You may change any of the settings you want, which can customize things like color and fonts, but this tutorial is focused on displaying the most popular WordPress post tags. Find the setting labeled “Order by for display tags:” and in the drop down select the “Counter” option. The option underneath is labeled “Order for display tags” and you can select between ASC and DESC, which stand for Ascending and Descending respectively. If you want the most popular first then you must pick the DESC option.

 select the "Counter" option.

Once you have made the previous change and any other cosmetic changes you wanted to make click the “Save” button at the bottom of the options to save your work.

click the "Save" button at the bottom

Congratulations, you can now visit your live website and see your most popular tags displayed where you placed the widget. Remember, you can freely move the widget to better complement the design of your website. The settings can also be freely changed at any time, so don’t be afraid to change them.

Keep Your Popular Content Strong

It’s important to understand and accept that not every piece of content you produce will have the same success and it is important to promote your most popular content and shape future content after it. This will allow you to use the same tags, which can also benefit you because you will be able to draw attention to the other content that shares a tag with your most popular content.

Tags are only one type of the many taxonomies available in WordPress and you should definitely make sure you are using categories as well to help sort your content. Organizing your content can really help your viewers and search engines find your content easily and both will help your website grow. Remember, the longer you wait to organize your website the bigger the process will become.

What is your website’s most popular tag and are you surprised at its popularity? Have you tried to make more content using the tags that are on your most popular content?

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