BLOGGER TRICKS: ADD-ONS

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Most bloggers enjoy widgets; some enjoy them too much. While a handful of widgets can enrich the reader’s experience, too many can be a distraction. Everyone has different tastes, but some tastes are more common. Here are ten Widgets and add-ons that I think are of the most use to conservative bloggers.

10. Text to speech
My blog has an icon next to the post title that converts my articles into a spoken MP3 pop-up. I use the text to speech feature on other blogs that have it. Several companies offer free text to speech for blogs. I went with vozMe for my site, but it took some coding work to get it placed just right in my template.

9. An archive
It's nice for your readers to go back and see (so they know how right you were) what you were saying six months ago. Most blogging services have achieve widgets available. Blogger has a simple archive that works fine.

8. A Poll
It's obvious why this is useful for political blogging. Blogger has a poll option, and there are many quality third party poll widgets.

7. A search box
As a reader I like a blog that allows me to search content by subject. Blogger has a nice Google search box (not the navigation bar) option that works well. Many third party templates have included some form of search box.

6. Sharing buttons
There are a lot of ways to go with this. Some have multi service button like Add On. Others choose to use specific buttons like retweet and Facebook share. Regardless of what you choose every blog should have a way for their readers to share content on social media. Many third party layouts have this option built in to the template.

5. Blog role
If you are like me you care more about the issues you write about, than your web traffic. When I find a good quality blog I put it in my blog role. I want my readers to be informed, and there is only so much I can do. We all know the MSN is not going to do the job. A blog role is a nice way to promote your work. There is an unwritten rule in the conservative blogging movement; if you link to me, I'll link to you.

4. Feed Burner
Feedburner RSS is superior to bloggers default Atom feed. RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is the most used feed. It's friendly with almost all browsers. It allows you far more options and increased traffic. Blogger has an option in the settings that allows you to change your feed from Atom to RSS.

3. Commenting systems
Blogger has a decent basic commenting system, but it lacks interaction and features that other have. A few third party commenting systems have become popular. I use Diqus for my blog. It gives me the following things bloggers default does not have:
  • Threaded comments
  • The option to share on social networking sites
  • The ability to log in using Facebook, Twitter, and other accounts
  • Like buttons
  • A CSS styling sheet that allows you to customize you comments

2. The Wibiya toolbar
I found this a few weeks ago, and I'm very impressed with it. Wibiya is a small start up company based out of Israel. I'm beginning to see their floating toolbar appear on a few blogs and websites I visit. It helped me unclutter my sidebar and speed up my page load time. It has a variety of other features such as: live chat, Facebook and Twitter integration, and translation.

1. Followers
This is one of the best ways to network with other conservatives. Blogger has the Google follower option, which has helped me find a lot of my readers. Networked Blogs offers a Facebook followers widget, which I also use.


Those are my top ten. What about you? Is there some that I left out?

Parnell Tator

Developer

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