Get to know your widgets
Posted by Webmaster
In your Admin Panel, under Presentation, is the Widgets tab. You are more than likely going to spend a LOT of time in the widgets tab. What is a widget exactly? It’s a box that contains pre-written code, and you use these boxes to create what is shown on the sidebar of your blog. All you have to do is grab one of the boxes with your mouse and drag it up to the sidebar box, and let go. The wonderful thing about widgets is that you can move them around to your heart’s content. What is in your sidebar is a completely personal decision, but I think a few of the widgets should be in every sidebar. Let’s take a look:
- Search: I like to put it right at the top, so someone looking for a specific keyword can find it without having to dig around.
- RSS: The URL for your blog’s feed, which I addressed in the last post.
- Recent Posts: Yes, even if you only have a few posts written, I like Recent Posts because it tells me at a glance what kind of content I can expect to find on the blog.
- Recent Comments: I find that readers are more likely to leave a comment if they see what kinds of comments have already been left. It’s like a mini-conversation in your sidebar.
- Categories: Again, a great way for readers to get an idea of what you write about. Some people make just a few categories, some make a lot, it’s up to you.
- Archives: You’d be surprised how many readers will spend time going back through your archives to see what else you have written.
- Links: Your blogroll, which you add links to using the admin panel discussed in the last post.
- Flickr: If you take digital photos, Flickr is a great site for posting and sharing them. You can display your Flickr photos by following these steps:1. Log into your Flickr account.2. Near the bottom of the page, you will see the RSS feed symbol. Right-click on it, and in the box that pops up, select Copy Link Location.
3. In the Presentation–>Widgets panel, drag the Flickr widget up to the panel.
4. Click on the lines inside the widget, and in the box shown, right-click, and select Paste.
There you go!
Other available widgets and what they do:
- Akismet: Akismet is the name of WordPress’ spam catcher. All WordPress blogs automatically run it, you only need this widget if you want to display how many spam comments have been caught.
- Blog Stats: Shows how many page views you have had. I recommend StatCounter or Google Analytics for more accurate information about stats.
- Box.net file sharing: Box.net is an online file storage site, and this widget allows you to browse those files. I’ve never used it.
- Calendar: Some people like having a calendar on their site, I don’t use it because my laptop has a calendar on it already. But you might want to use it!
- del.icio.us: If you use del.icio.us to bookmark pages, this widget will display the number of links you specify, or specific tags.
- Platial MapKit: Platial.com is a mapping site that lets you create maps of anything-places you’ve visited, restaurants you like, whatever. You’ll have to register at the site first before you can use this widget.
- Meebo: Meebo is web-based instant messaging, so if someone leaves you a message on Meebo, it alerts you on your blog. I think it also shows your conversations as well.
- Pages: Read this post for an explanation of the difference between a Post and a Page. You’ll want to use this widget if you create any pages.
- RSS: You could use this in place of Recent Posts to show whatever number of previously published posts you want to display, or you can publish the feed from another one of your blogs.
- Sonific Songspot: A free music player that lets you stream a song from the Sonific.com site onto your page. I personally have a strong dislike of blogs that have music playing automatically, but if you want music, this is the widget for you.
- Tag Cloud: Creates a list of the most common words you write about.
- Text Widgets: You would use one of these to put something on your sidebar that isn’t already listed,
- Top Clicks: Shows you which of your links your readers have clicked on, which is helpful if you want to know what topics most interest your readers.
- Top Posts: Which posts on your blog have had the most readers.
- Vod:Pod Videos: This widget looks interesting. You search the Vod:pod site for videos, and then embed them easily right on your blog. The site has over 148,000 videos to choose from.
So those are your widget choices,