Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blogger Tips & Tricks: Widgets

Welcome to another installment of Blogger Tips & Tricks. Sorry this one's been delayed a bit. I think the issues I had while trying to post HTML code on previous posts burnt me out on these a little. :-)

Here are links to my previous posts, in case you missed them or simply want to revisit them:
The Look & Feel
Functional Headers
Grab Buttons & Favicons

And this is completely beside the point but don't you love the word "widget?" Such a goofy word, yet such a wonderful little feature...


In my numerous searches and with the help of some of you out there, I have come across several widgets that I have enjoyed using on my site. In this post I'll tell you where you can find them and why I love them...

The Recent Comments Widget
I noticed several bloggers had a little section in their sidebar devoted to recent comments. I thought that was pretty neat, since it gives visitors an idea on what posts are generating discussion and interest on that particular blog. You can find the widget at Blogger Templates. It's a piece of cake to add, so why not try it out?

Top Commentators Widget
I first noticed a top commentators widget being used over at J. Kaye's Book Blog. She uses it to highlight which bloggers to feature in her blogroll, which is pretty cool. For me, it came in handy when I wanted to hand out the "You Don't Say - Super Comments Award." You can customize it to look at a certain range of past comments, whether it's the last 500 or 5,000. (They do recommend limiting it to around 500 of the most recent comments.) I think it's a neat little way to give some commentators a little recognition. You can find this widget at Blogger Plugins.

Blog Statistics Widget
This little widget simply shows how many posts you've written and how many comments you've received, in total. I thought it was neat, so I added it to my blog. You can find it at Blogger Tips & Tricks (uh-oh, looks like I accidentally stole that name for this series of posts... sorry :-/)

Label Cloud "Widget
I don't know about all of you, but my Blog Post Labels list was getting a little out of control after awhile. Eventually, I did pare down the number of labels I was using, but I also added the code to turn it into a label cloud, making it take up less room in the sidebar. So I guess technically this isn't a widget, since you are editing HTML code, but since it's a sidebar item I'm featuring it as a widget. You can find the code and instructions at phydeaux3.

Translate This Blog Widget
I don't remember whose blog I saw this one on, but given how many people from outside the U.S. I've seen on various blogs, I thought perhaps it would be handy to have this little widget. I don't know how much use it will get, but it seemed like a neat addition to make my blog accessible to more people. You can find this widget at Blogger Plugins, again.

Actually, Blogger Plugins is a great web site and may just have all of these plugins I've mentioned here. I'm simply telling you where I first found the information to add these little gadgets to my blog. If anyone else has any great sidebar gadgets and widgets they'd like to share information about, please leave a comment below. I know a lot of people have some cool features on their blogs, some of which I may not have even come across yet. Remember, I'm just sharing with you the little bit that I've learned in trying to tweak my blog and make it my own. There's a whole wealth of knowledge on blogging just waiting to be discovered!

I hope you find all these tips useful. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Stay tuned for my final post on Blogger Tips & Tricks: Helpful Links - this is where I'll summarize all the useful sites I've found in improving my blog. It may be the most helpful of all of these posts and I may start wondering why I wrote the rest of these entries :-)


  1. Hi Melissa, your blog is beautiful! I have tried several times to put up the Top Commentators Widget on my blog and it comes up but has no commentators. My blog doesn't have www in front of it because it is blogspot. I have put it down the bottom thinking that it might need people to make recent comments but it still show up nothing. I just wish it was easy, it certainly looked it when I did it.

    Enjoyed your post, it's very interesting. Nice to read something different as well!

  2. Great post Melissa! Very helpful! I think I may check out Blogger Plugins some more.

  3. Hi Alaine! That's so odd that it isn't working for you... I tried it on my personal blog, which is also blogspot, and it worked OK. I'll have to see if I can find any reason why it wouldn't work.

    Hope other aspects prove more helpful for you :-)

  4. Jo ~ I love Blogger Plugins, it's one of my favorite sites for working on my blog and adding widgets! Enjoy!

  5. Hi Melissa, when it says customize, do you just add your blog address and if so what would I put in? Do I add www or http:// ? Is that the only thing I do? Then you click add to your blog and do that?

    You have really inspired me to do some more work on my blog so thanks!

  6. Alaine, are you talking about the blogger plugins site? If so, you should just put in your address as in the address part. Once you have it set the way you want it, just click the customize button then the add the widget button. Hope that helps, let me know!

  7. Thanks for the post! It was awesome :) I'd always been curious if a top commentators widget was available for blogger/blogspots. :)

  8. Informative post on blogging, Melissa,

    I'll stop by more often. Follow you on Twitter!


  9. Great post!! Very helpful and interesting...So many widgets it's hard to decide which to use! Keep up the posts!

  10. Becky ~ Yes, Nymeth made my day awhile back when she told me about that one. :-) Glad you liked the post! Just one more to go (for now).

    Mary ~ Thanks, I'll check out your site, too!

    Allson ~ Thank you, tomorrow's post may actually be the most helpful: links that I've found to be the must useful while tweaking my blog.

  11. A little closer. I got names to go up in the commentators list but they are not for my blog LOL.

  12. I did it! Worked out what I was doing wrong. So stupid sometimes LOL. Thanks for you help, it made me persistant!

  13. Thanks, I've been looking for a couple of these widgets and I'd never seen the Blogger Plug-ins site before. It's nice having so many in one place!

  14. What an awesome post, especially for relatively new bloggers like myself, muddling through trying to work things out is so time consuming LOL

  15. Congrats Alaine!

    Ali ~ Glad I could help! The Plugins site is great, hope you find everything you're looking for!

    Teddyree ~ I'm so glad to hear you say that, that's the whole reason why I started these posts. I thought getting all this info in one place would be an especially big help to newer bloggers.

  16. Awesome! Thanks so much for posting these helpful tips, I'll definitely be perusing some information from here.

  17. Melissa - these are fantastic posts! Thank you so much for taking the time to put it all down. I'm bookmarking them so that I can eventually put them into practice!!

  18. I started to put these widgets on my blog but noticed that my blog was taking a long long time to upload. I think most of it was due to the top commenters widget and I removed it during the read-a-thon in October (so my page wasn't taking forever to open) and never put it back up. I do like it, though!

  19. Lilly ~ You're most welcome! Hope these posts come in handy for you!

    Luanne ~ Thank you :-) Hope you find them useful!

    Trish ~ Interesting about the top commentators widget problem. I think mine takes so long to load because of all my images, lol :-)


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