Blogging 101: Spruce Up Your Sidebar

Today’s assignment: add and/or customize two widgets, one text based and one image based

  • Because you want to make it easy for your readers to find all your content, follow you, get engaged, and get the most out of your site, and widgets add features to help them do it.
  • Because widgets are another opportunity to add a personal touch and create a consistent look and personality.

Widgets Selected for this Assignment

Gravatar Profile widgetDisplay WordPress Posts widget

Display WordPress Posts widget

I already had the Blogs I follow widget in my side bar, but those are the things that interest me, and not necessarily my visitors.  So I demoted Blogs I follow to the footer to make way.

The Display WordPress Posts widget lets me show the last ‘n’ posts from the blogs in which I think my visitors will be interested, below the title of that blog.  For each post it will show the title of the post and, optionally, an image and excerpts  – neither of which seemed appropriate for a side-bar due to the space they took up, so this one counts as my text widget.

Gravatar Profile

There are two simple widgets that can present information about me in the sidebar: the Gravatar widget, which I was already using, and this one, the Gravatar Profile widget.  The Gravatar widget features a hover-gravatar card which appeals to technophiles such as myself, and the Gravatar widget takes up more space, but I thought I would try it instead.

Other widgets still present on my blog

  • Blogs I Follow
  • Calendar
  • Search
  • Tag Cloud

Widgets I’ve tried and Discontinued

  • About Me – discontinued in favour of Gravatar widget
  • Categories – discontinued in favour of Menus
  • Follow  Blog – discontinued in favour of Follow Button widget
  • Gravatar – discontinued in favour of Gravatar Profile widget
  • Custom Menu – discontinued in favour of Menus

Widgets for which I am not the target blogger

  • Band Page – not in a band
  • Contact Info – don’t have customer outlets
  • Delicious – don’t have a delicious account.
  • Eventbrite – don’t host events
  • Flickr – not really into photography.
  • Gallery – not really into photography
  • Internet Defence League – still questioning
  • Milestone – No milestones I’m counting down to
  • Open Table – visitors not coming to me to book a table.
  • Readmill – I’m not a book publisher
  • Upcoming events – don’t organise events

Widgets that might be useful in the future

  • Akismet – Spam not a problem yet
  • Archives – Not too many posts, yet
  • Authors – Only one author (me) so far
  • Authors Grid – Only me (still)
  • Blog Stats – Embarrassingly low numbers, so far
  • Pages – only got one page right now
  • Top Clicks – one day, hopefully

Widgets I still need to understand:

  • Follow Blog
  • Good Reads
  • Gravatar Profile
  • Image
  • Links
  • Meta
  • My Community
  • Posts I like
  • Recent Comments
  • Recent Posts
  • RSS Links
  • RSS
  • Text
  • Top Posts & Pages
  • Twitter Timeline

10 thoughts on “Blogging 101: Spruce Up Your Sidebar

  1. I think your sidebar looks appropriately spruced. I also like the way you have organized your lists of widgets and so on. Organization is not my strong suit (neither are computers, ha) so good for you. And as for your question, without meaning any offense, yes, the huge eyes staring from the top of your blog do trouble me a bit… Nothing personal, but that’s pretty intense.

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