What do widgets do on your blog?

Fairy Blog Mother

I’ve just uploaded my free e-course ‘What and how to use widgets’ which explains what widgets are, what they are for and how to put them on your blog.

So what are widgets? Well, look at your sidebar and see all the various elements that are situated there. These are widgets, individual applications or programme processes that allow you to put up a picture, add in a subscription form, show which pages and posts I have written, list my comments, show feeds to my social media and many other things.

Both kinds of blog

Usually you mention the word ‘widget’ and the uninitiated will wince and look worried, but really it is very easy to cope with widgets once you understand them, and that is exactly what my free widget e-course does.

I have seen many blogs, not even new ones, who have not fully taken on what their widgets can do for them. To me, to see an unpopulated sidebar missing vital elements that enhance a blog as regards search engine optimisation (SEO), allowing readers to find past posts and participate in comments, even to realise there are other pages to be read, is a wasted opportunity.

The widgets that are really needed are:

  • a method for your reader to subscribe to your blog (either a sign up form for emails or chicklit logo to subscribe to a Google reader)
  • show which posts you have written recently
  • show the comments people have left
  • show your categories (topics)
  • show your tags (keywords)
  • show your links to other websites or blogs you recommend reading
  • how to access your blog

And then there are widgets to make your blog more usable for both your readers and the search engine spiders:

  • access to other pages
  • links to your social media profiles
  • RSS feeds to your Twitter stream, other blogs, delicious or other social networks
  • see who has visited recently
  • pictures, either on their own or as links to elsewhere
  • archive details
  • search mechanisms

If you have a WordPress.com blog, widgets are already available to you (dependent upon which theme you have chosen). If you’ve used WordPress.org to create your blog then some widgets will need to be added via plug-ins, of which there are many thousands to choose from, including the option to retweet posts you want to recommend and share the post with other social networking sites.

Find out how to add widgets to your blog, or just brush up on the ones you haven’t used yet – the widget world is really worth exploring!

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.
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