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Widgets have always been the marketing tool of choice for many software developers. They are very easy to package up and share with people because they are self contained and easy to implement. All the blogger or website owner has to do is paste the small snippet of code, and the widget is installed on their website.
For software promotion, the widget usually offers a scaled down application version or even a full featured tool with a link back to the developer’s website. As the widget gets used and shared, the developer receives traffic back to his or her website, and hopefully also receives some orders for paid software packages.
Bloggers can use the same marketing approach to draw traffic to their own blog. You can create a widget for your blog that consists of little more than a short clip of code that’s very easy to share and distribute. Many other bloggers or webmasters are always looking for interesting and well designed widgets they can add to the side menu bars.
So, if you learn how to create widgets to promote your blog, and if your widget has a decent design, you could potentially distribute it all throughout the web – with a link back to your own blog. In this article, I’m going to show you how you can use a tool offered by Widgetbox called Blidgets, which basically stands for “Blog Widgets,” to create a – you guessed it – widget of your blog.
How To Create Widgets Featuring Your Blog
The process to create your blog widget is surprisingly fast and simple. The Blidget wizard makes the procedure painless. You can use either a link to your blog’s feed, or just the blog URL. Either will work.
Just fill in the URL field and click on the “Make Widget!” button. The Wizard automatically extracts the necessary information from your blog. I believe the first thing it checks for is the RSS feed, so if you have an RSS feed then the content of the widget will get laid out with a highlight of your recent posts.
The next step, once the wizard has your default widget ready, is to customize the widget to look how you would like it to. There are many more features available if you purchase the pro version of Blidgets, but if you don’t mind Widgetbox inserting an ad in your widget, then stick with the free version. The free version defaults to the list view, which displays your most recent blog entry as well as the associated image (if your blog entry has one). The inclusion of an image can be removed, but I would recommend keeping it because it makes the widget look much better. The other style features in this section of the wizard are inactive for the free version, so you’ll have to stick with the defaults.
Even with the free version, you can edit a few more things under step two of the wizard, titled “Look & Feel.” I especially like the fact that you can type in a short caption that lets people see what your blog is all about with a quick glance. Make this text intriguing or eye-catching so that you can get people to click on the widget and check out your blog.
In step 3, you could remove your widget from the WidgetBox directory listing (but why would you want to?) Being listed in WidgetBox’s offerings opens up your blog to a whole new market of potential readers.
Finally, select the thumbnail image that you’d like. This is the image that gets displayed at the top-left of the screen right next to the widget name, so make it something that represents the brand or topic of your blog. Make it something people will remember.
Once you’re finished working your way through the Blidget wizard, you’ve just created and inserted a widget for your blog into the massive Widgetbox directory. The cool thing about this widget is that there’s a small scroll bar on the left which people can use to actually scroll down your feed of posts right within the widget itself. This way people can view the sort of topics you write about at your blog, which will help them decide whether or not they’d like to visit.
Creating widgets for your blog is fun, and best of all it’s free. You can create one for all of your blogs, or for any website that you like. Once you have your widget created, just share it out everyone you take part in a social network using the convenient buttons right on your Widgetbox listing.
Do you use widgets to advertise? Do you have any other cool tools that help you create a widget that advertises your website? Share your own resources in the comments section below.