DAY 10: DRESS UP YOUR BLOG WITH WIDGETS
You’ve done a lot so far — published a few posts, worked on your About widget and page, and dabbled in personalizing your blog with a custom headers and backgrounds. Today, let’s insert a few more widgets to add more personal touches to your blog.
Today’s assignment: add and customize two widgets.
- Because you want to make it easy for your readers to find all your content, follow you, get engaged, and get the most out of your site, and widgets add features to help them do it.
- Because widgets are another opportunity to add a personal touch to your blog, and to create a consistent look and personality.
For those who need some Intro to Widgets, “widget” is a fancy word for “doodad,” which is itself a fancy word for “small items you can add on to your blog that add a variety of functions and content.” They let you add features and embed objects on your blog without knowing any code.
For this task, you’ll add two widgets: one that adds a text-based feature, and one that adds something image-based. If one of those doesn’t fit with your vision, feel free to change it up as long as you add two new widgets.
A few simple yet useful text-based widgets to consider:
- The Search Widget adds a search box to your sidebar or footer and allows readers to search for posts and pages in your archives.
- The Follow Blog Widget lets your visitors sign up to receive your posts via email.
- The Twitter Timeline Widget displays your public Twitter feed, and lets readers easily follow you.
- The Top Posts & Pages Widget displays your most-liked posts, or up to 10 of your most popular posts.
- The Categories Widget organizes your posts by category — handy for visitors who want to find more of your posts about certain topics.
And some image-based widgets to try:
- Instagram Widget: You display your feed in your sidebar, without adding a new Image Widget for every photo. The widget automatically updates with your newest shots.
- The Gravatar Widget shows your Gravatar, which is the picture attached to your username across WordPress.com. (If you haven’t uploaded a Gravatar, get to it! It’s an easy way to build a consistent online presence and let others know who you are.)
- The Gallery Widget creates a gallery or slideshow of images. The widget supports all the same tiled-gallery layouts as full-size galleries, so you can add a graphic element to your sidebar without any graphic design know-how.
Check out other quick and easy widgets, widgets to showcase your community-to-be, and more image-based widgets. Review our tutorial series — Widgets 101, 201, and 301 — or take a step back and think about your overall sidebar strategy.
You can spruce up widgets even more by personalizing the titles to match the theme or niche of your blog, so be sure to explore all the options each widget offers.
Does this seem too simple?
Then we challenge you to experiment with more complex Text Widgets — see “Get Creative With Text Widgets” in Widgets 101 — as well as customized Image Widgets that complement the overall look of your site. Check out “Custom-made Image Widgets” in Widgets 201 for inspiration. Those of you who experimented with tools like Piction for your headers might also find them useful for making custom image widgets.
To add a widget to a WordPress.com blog, go to Appearance → Widgets in your dashboard. Here, you can drag a widget from the ”Available Widgets” area on the left into a section on the right, called a sidebar (depending on your theme, you might have multiple sections). When you see a dashed line appear, drop the widget into place. You can also re-arrange existing widgets by dragging-and-dropping.
If you also want to publish a post today, we suggest trying a shorter-form post — a post of under 400 words; under 200 if you can.
To chat with other Zero to Hero participants, visit today’s forum thread.
Day One: Introduce Yourself
Day Two: What’s your name?
Day Three: What’s on your mind?
Day Four: Explore the Neighboorhood
Day Five: Love Your Theme
Day Six: Try a New Element
Day Seven: Personalize Your Theme
Day Eight: Make Your About Page Irresistible
Day Nine: Head Deeper Into the Blogosphere
|Jackie Paulson Past Assignments Links||
|Home page / Archives||
|DAY 6: PUBLISH A POST THAT INCLUDES A NEW ELEMENT YouTube Paul Walker R.I.P.||
|Day 2: What’s Your Name?||
|DAY 3 Zero to Hero Glass of Water||
|DAY 4: EXPLORE Other Bloggers||
|DAY 5 Explore Theme||
|ZERO TO HERO: 30 DAYS TO A BETTER BLOG||
|DAY 1: INTRODUCE YOURSELF||