13 November 2008

Widgets, And Gadgets, And Comments, Oh My!

As anyone who direct links or clicks through their reader can tell you, there's been a whole lot of shifting going on around here this week. I have been prepping the next installment of "Cool Things I Picked Up At BlogHer Boston."

While it's been fun, some of it has not been pretty. Like when I added a widget that wiped out my sidebar. Or the feed that linked to an unknown location that had some *very blue* language.

All *whoops* aside, today's post is about the cool things you can do TO your blog. Most, if not all of the platforms out there have ready to use gadgets. Explore. Tinker. Add. Remove. Get in there and change colors and backgrounds. Add a new layout, maybe one from Aqua Poppy.

Why settle for the same old forms that anyone can use? It's your blog, it should reflect your personal style.

Your Profile

Almost every platform I've seen has a "profile" widget or gadget. USE IT!

Who are you? What are you blogging about? What color are your socks?

Share something that makes your readers aware that there's a real live person on the other side of the screen.

While you're at it, tell us how to get in touch with you. A email address or a comment policy tells your readers you're listening.

How Do I...?

Think of something you'd like to do to your blog. Make it cute. Embed video. Add a widget. Can't find what you're looking for in your platform? No problem.

Google the following phrase: "How do I __________ on my blog?"

It really is that simple, I promise. Though I did learn a lot at BlogHer Boston, this is actually one of the things they taught us, and much of what you see on my blog that is new came from this handy dandy trick.

Your Blogroll

This is one of the easiest things to do. It lets readers know who you're reading, and is how most of us find new blogs to read. Most platforms have built in gadgets and widgets that will allow either a full list, or the spiffy new list feed I have added. Aaaaaaall the way down there on the right is a list called "Breaking News From The Blogroll That Ate Boston."

This would be the amazing invisi-widget that for some unknown reason makes everything listed below it disappear! Thus, the unfortunate banishment to the bottom of the heap. I have a post up in the Blogger "we-should-just-call-them-the-HELP-I-BROKE-SOMETHING!" forums, so here's hoping they can "HELP!" me.

As cool as this is, it does not show you what's on my complete list. Now that I have my favorites folder back, I will be fixing that ASAP. I will list out all of the blogs I am reading and provide a quick link in my sidebar.

Recent Comments

You have readers. You're encouraging participation. They leave great comments. So great that you want to share and answer them. But how? Some bloggers reply in the comments themselves. Some directly email/comment. I have, and still do all of the above, *plus* after much experimentation, developed a little thing I call "Comment Love."

Once in a while, I will gather comments that either ask questions are just plain awesome, and give them a post of their own. Not only does this answer my commenter, it gives you all a peek at some new blogs. Comment Love will return tomorrow! Yippee!

I have also just added a new widget, courtesy of The Blog Doctor, that automatically lists my most recent comments. It's the feature in my sidebar titled, "The Pixel Peeps Have Spoken."

Tags And Keywords

How do people find what they're looking for in your archives? If the answer is dig, you may have a problem. Asking someone to burrow through months or even years of posts is a surefire way to drive them away. The best blogs I have read have tag clouds or keywords that allow me to find exactly what I'm looking for.

I haven't done this myself, yet. I intend to go through and tag this weekend, on the of chance it republishes to all of your readers. Annoying your readers is a no-no too! Afterwards, I'll share what I did and how I did it.

Link Love

Like Comment Love, Link Love is all about sharing. Find a cool tutorial? An awesome Etsy shop? A blogger who makes coffee come out of your nose? Get yourself a towel then SHARE!

A quick scroll down the right side of my blog will illustrate my love of Link Love. If I am listed there, or if I am blog stalking a really cool place, you can be sure I will be talking about it.

Extreme Blog Makeovers, The Home Edition

One of our esteemed panelists recommended digging in to the HTML code f your blog. Frankly, this freaks me out a little, but I think that's because the only class I have ever failed was Computer Programming.

Try printing out the HTML and comparing it to your blog. Try to figure out what does what. If you're lucky enough to know someone who speaks computer as a second language, ask them to help you. There are apparently HTML translators out there that will help, but did I write that down? No. But I know where to ask, so if/when I find one, I'll let you all know.

As wary as I may be, I will be doing just this very soon, and then bribing Hubby with more of those brownies so he'll help me decipher it. As always, I will definitely share.

The moral of the story is thus, Pixel Peeps:

It's your blog. Make yourself, and your readers at home!


  1. Those are some great tips! I tend to tinker with my blog every few months. I agree with you that tinkering with the html on your blog is a scary task for someone who doesn't really know what they're doing. I've messed up posting pics by playing with teh html let alone my entire blog. *scared*

  2. Thanks for all the great tips! I am off to work on my page some :D

  3. I know HTML and mess around with my links and blog posts, but the majority of a blogger blog is programmed in CSS, which I don't know at all.
    I've had no trouble with my blogroll deleting things below it. But I've had trouble with other blogger widgets.

  4. I used to have a blog roll. But I took it off because I wasn't very good at updating it. And I used reader, so I didn't really use it. And I didn't want someone to get offended if they weren't on that list. But now with the "following" there is no such thing as anon anymore.

  5. I love the idea of taking some of your comments and turning them into posts. What a great way to "honor" commenters and encourage more of the same!

    Are they going to have a BlogHer Montgomery? I need to check into that!

  6. All great blogging tips! And you added a widget that completely wiped out your sidebar? SCARY!!!
    (visiting from BPOTW)

  7. Those are great ideas! It can be a lot of work to get your blog just right, and by then, you probably want to change it again. lol

  8. What great tips and ideas! Thank you!


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