Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blogger Tip - Related Posts Widget

A big part of blogging, I've come to find, is just learning where to find all the useful gadgets - or widgets - that make your blog look the way you'd like and easier to navigate. And then... figuring out if you really wanted that widget to begin with... and now that you've installed it... should you keep it? Since I've found a few that work for me, I thought I'd share them with you... just in case you were looking.

My blog may not look like much has been put into it, but let me assure you... I have searched high and low and worked on into many nights trying to find a great new widget. And sometimes... I worked on into the night trying to fix what I messed up when the widgets didn't work correctly. It can be very time consuming, and not all of us have the time that is necessary. It's also very frustrating... many times it made me want to delete my blog and start over. But, not to worry. I have overcome!

Thankfully, there are many fellow bloggers who are willing to share from their experience, whether it be from success or failure. So I thought I'd return the favor by passing along any good tips I come across myself.

You may have noticed after a while that your older posts don't get many views. You may not care about this if you write more of a diary or current events blog... or, maybe you do. But either way, if you have information that you'd like to share at any time, like recipes or devotions or tips... useful information of any kind, then you might want them to be easily accessible to your readers. I mean.... after a year, or even a few months, not even I want to sit and read all the old posts I've written. And blogging is a lot of work. Fun... but work. So you don't want your posts to go unread.

What's really helpful is a 'related posts' widget. It's a widget that is placed at the end of every post and sort of 'shuffles' your older posts around so readers will see them and maybe click to read them if they seem interesting. You can choose to show as few as 3 and as many as 5 or 6 related posts.

Pretty cool, huh?

There are several versions of this widget out there. LinkWithin is one I tried. It worked great for a while and I was happy with it, until.... I changed my blog URL. After that, it would still show my older posts within the widget itself, but if you clicked on them it wouldn't link to any that were posted before I changed my URL. So it would no longer work for me. I tried un-installing it and re-installing it... but no change.

After that I went looking for another widget and I came across a 'generic' version. This worked just fine... but I couldn't change the font color and it didn't look as good on my blog. So off I went to search again.

This time I found Outbrain. It works great! It matches my blog colors and style automatically. No problem. It gives you a choice between a text or thumbnail version. It also gives you an option for 'rating' your posts using a '5-Star' rating button or a 'like' button. They even offer a tracking service to see if your posts are being read or which ones are more popular. And it's all FREE!

If this is something you might like to add to your blog, just visit them at www.outbrain.com and click on the link at the bottom of the page that says: Are you a blogger? Install our free widget!


Check it out first. Read all about it, including the installation information. And back up your template before you start making changes... just in case.

Happy Blogging!

4 comments:

Mary R. said...

I've been learning as I go. I have found that many of the widgets you can get through Blogger have viruses and had to get my son to help me get back into my blog!

Mary Ann... said...

So true... you have to be very careful. And even then, you may find one that doesn't work correctly or makes changes you didn't want. I think I've spent more hours 'fixing' than I have actually posting. That's why I thought I'd share what works for me. Maybe I can spare someone else the problems that I had. :)

Have a great weekend Mary!

Sassy Granny ... said...

Every now-and-then I am tempted to sassy-up my blog with this or that. Then I quickly back away, having decided I actually favor simplicity.

I do appreciate the skillful, artful and VERY useful tools many bloggers utilize. Thank you for this tip!

Mary Ann... said...

I've actually tried to update my blog a bit. But I'm like you... I like simplicity.

While I will use a gadget or two, I don't know if I can ever do it up like the pros. I'm pretty much a Plain-Jane... in real life and in the blogging world. But it works for me. :)

God bless!

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