Are you one of those bloggers who love to clutter their blog with widgets? Or are you the minimalist type, who uses barely enough widgets?
Even if you are a part of the former or latter, you have at least once visited the Widgets section in your blog.
Today, I will describe my feelings about certain widgets. (Mind you, I’m on WordPress.)
- ‘Blogs I Follow’ widget: This widget is something I’d never use. Why? Because I’d rather share my favourite blogs on social media, than give credit to every blogger I follow on WordPress.
- ‘Blog Stats’ widget: This widget only serves to remind me of how miserable my blog stats are. So this is another widget I’d never use. However, I do like checking out this widget on other blogs, just to feel a bit more gloomy about my own blog.
- ‘Calendar’ widget: Honestly? I don’t get why this widget even exists. It works somewhat similar to the Archive widget, but is not as useful as the Archive widget. Think about it this way: if a follower wants to check out your previous post, the maximum info they may know about it is the month in which it was published. They will never remember the exact date on which it was published. So why bother with this widget? The Archive widget manages to display month wise blog post links with one click, and the Calendar widget forces the reader to click on every date to find the post they were looking for. (“They’d rather use the Search option instead,” quips fabulus)
- ‘Category Cloud’ widget: I used to use a similar ‘Labels’ gadget on Blogspot. And it was pretty cool to see that Harry Potter and AtoZChallenge were the categories with the highest font size. I also had to trim down on the number of tags I used per post, and deleted the ones which I rarely used. However, on this blog, I prefer using a drop-down list for categories, as it looks non-cluttered and saves a lot of space in the footer area.
- ‘Follow Blog’ / ‘Follow Button’ widget: This widget is a no-brainer. It has to be there! Some WordPress blogs have a floating Follow button at the bottom right corner of the screen. Even that’s cool. But blogs with no ‘Follow Blog’ widget get on my nerves. I mean, I (and many other bloggers and readers) don’t have the time to search for your blog and follow it using the WordPress reader. Hence, adding the simple button or the email address input bar works wonders at increasing your follower count.
- ‘Top posts’ widget: This widget is an easy way to ensure that your popular posts always remain popular, and the not-so-popular gems remain hidden in one abandoned corner of the blogosphere. Though I have it on my blog, I’m not pretty happy with it. But it does make for some hilarious time-pass read. I mean, I look at the titles that come up in the top 5 posts and laugh myself silly. There’s always the J For Jouska post in the top 5, and X for XXXX Rated Magical Animals. Both these posts were from AtoZChallenge 2016 and 2015 respectively. Maybe this year another AtoZ gem will add itself to my Hall of Fame. Let’s see.
- ‘GoodReads’ widget: Every book review blog SHOULD have this widget. I too have added this widget, and it’s only visible if a reader wants to check out my Book Reviews section! How cool is that? Chorus: Supercool!
Today’s three tips are on how to use widgets on your blog. These tips are irrespective of whether you blog via Blogspot or WordPress.
- Make it easy for your readers to follow you: Add follow buttons to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn pages. Adding a social media feed is upto you. (But adding an Instagram feed for a photo-blog is a rule. As well as GoodReads shelf for a book review.) Also, make sure you have follow buttons for the blog, or an email subscription pop-up ready.
- Don’t clutter your blog: In Blogspot, you can choose to place widgets only on the left side, or only on the right side, or on both the sides. You can also adjust the width of the columns. Use these options to create a beautiful blog. While WordPress doesn’t allow this luxury, you can choose to divide footer areas into columns and add widgets the way you want to. Always remember, the content of your blog is more important than any other widget. If your content is visible and good, people won’t mind taking an extra second to search for the follow button. But if your content can’t be seen, thanks to multiple pop-ups and too many widgets, you will be staring at a sad and lonely ‘blog stat’ widget for a really long time.
- Use all the options available to you, to customize your widgets: Width, Height, Caption, Image URL, everything. Customize your widget to suit your blog theme and layout. Don’t lazily click on a widget and enter the bare minimum information. Make it stand out with quirky text and personalization. (Check out the footer area on my blog for tips!)
Wassup, happy readers! This post is written for the #AtoZChallenge, and this is the third year I’m participating in this challenge. Do keep cheering me on all through this month, as I’m hell-bent on scoring a hat-trick in 2017, at the age of 18! My theme for this year is : The Encyclopedia of Blogging Memories, Feelings and Lessons.
Here’s a special question for you to answer today: Tell me some of your favourite and not-so-favourite widgets on the blog. Let me know if you want me to add some more widgets to my blog, or if I should delete some from my page!