Friday, November 18, 2011

Enhance Your Blog with Widgets by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Recently, it came to my attention that some people still don't know what a widget is or how to use it. If you are a blogger or a website owner, a widget is a great tool you can use to enhance your website/blog and provide ways for others to promote you or your work on other sites if they choose.

What is a widget?
It's a small application that can be installed within a web page or blog by reusing specific code behind the scenes in the HTML section to make the visual display look neat and uniform as well as interactive. Widgets can be used to allow people to subscribe to newsletters, like Facebook pages, display the latest tweets from a twitter page, and more.

Other terms used to describe widgets include: a gadget, badge or social plugin. Widgets are typically created by Web developers using code from DHTML, JavaScript or Adobe Flash. Those of us who aren't developers can copy the code and paste into the html part of our website and get a similar look for what we want to display on our blog or website.

What Are a Few Examples of Widgets?

The HTML for my Facebook looks like:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script><script type="text/javascript">FB.init("19e95ef45366a838c6e883210136a4c1");</script><fb:fan profile_id="334126764915" stream="0" connections="10" logobar="1" width="150"></fb:fan><div style="font-size:8px; padding-left:10px"><a href="">Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor</a> on Facebook</div>

This is what the code above looks like when inserted properly on the HTML page:

  • To insert a Facebook Widget, go here.
  • To insert a Twitter Widget, go here.
  • To insert Google Gadgets, go here.
  • To insert Yahoo Widgets, go here
  • To make customized Widgets, use WidgetBox.


Timothy Fish said...

I use them sparingly. The more stuff you put on a page, the longer it takes to load. Also, some of these badges that I see people putting on their blogs serves no purpose other than to redirect traffic from that blog the site of the person who dreamed up the badge.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Yes, widgets need to be used for a specific purpose not nonsense to clutter up one's page. It would make sense to use them to send to your social media sites, where people can buy your books like an Amazon widget, or Google's calendar so you can post your events and it automatically updates when you update your Google calendar. Great widgets.

Everything can be used for good or nonsense. It all depends on what we do with it.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I have several, and really like them. They direct people to the sites to buy books I have stories in, to connect with me on FB and Twitter, and to subscribe to my posts via email.

I appreciate your helpful hints on Fridays, Jennifer. I learn from your expertise!

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Jeanette, I'm glad some of it is helpful!