I’ve Gone Widget Crazy And Need Help To Control Widget Addiction

Edublogs have given all it’s users new freedom and allows javascript, iframes and object code to be embedded directly into Edublogs blogs. Which is great because I can just copy and paste pretty much most ‘embedding’ code picked up around the web directly into my posts or a text widget in my side bar.

Most importantly I no longer suffer from blogger envy caused by friends having cool toys on their blogs which I haven’t been able to embed. Trouble is I may have become “widget crazy” and need “widget addiction therapy”. Worst still I may have totally cluttered my blog sidebar, which is detracting to readers, so I’m hoping if I list the changes I’ve made my readers may give feedback as to their thoughts i.e. good widget, bad widget or no opinion yet on widget.Image of Lijit Search

Lijit Search

I’ve been jealous of Martin Weller having Lijit search on his blog for a long time. The reason I like the idea of Lijit is because I have my content located across lots of websites and this search allows readers to search content on my blog or all my sites (by clicking on the My Content Tab). Plus it provides some really cools statistics on how readers interact with my blog that are emailed weekly or I can check them out online in my account.

Unfortunately when readers click on My Content tab the search will also shows results from other websites – which is really bad. You want readers to stay on your sites not go to other peoples sites.

The Lijit search widget can be customised to your preferences. I’ve set mine up so that it displays where all my content is located whereas Martin Weller doesn’t display his content. To be honest displaying my content like this may be increasing sidebar clutter and I may have been better using another widget or my blog roll to link to my other websites.

I also still have my Edublogs search widget in my sidebar while I testing Lijit search.

CoComment

Okay I can compromise (although maybe my hubby wouldn’t agree 🙂 ).  I still prefer subscribing to comments on other bloggers posts using co.mment because its RSS feed into Google Reader is better.  However I’m intrigued by the community aspect of cocomment which isn’t an option with co.mment.  So I’ve installed my cocomment widget to this blog; not sure if anyone really wants to read my comments on other blogger’s posts in my sidebar? Let’s be honest it is creating clutter.

Still need a guide to getting more out of using CoComment if anyone has seen one.

Blogroll Created Using Google Reader Shared Folders

John Larkin taught me this trick; it’s a really quick and easy way to create your blogrolls using Google Reader.

Benefit of this method is your blogs subscriptions are automatically updated whenever you add or delete a blog subscription without you having to adjust your blogroll within your blog dashboard.  Apologies to some bloggers –I’ve used two folders to create the blogrolls — Edubloggers and Non-Profit.  Some bloggers in the Non-Profit don’t exactly fit that category.

Other Widgets

I’ve also add a Shared Google Reader widget; it’s right at the bottom hidden away — not fussed if it stays or goes.  Plus haven’t been able to part with MyBlogLog widget; I like the pretty pictures 🙂 even if I’ve not got into using MyBlogLog effectively.

I like the FeedJit widget on Frank’s blog that shows where readers are visiting from but think adding it will just make the sidebar clutter even worse.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So besides “widget addiction therapy” what are your thoughts on the new widgets i.e. good widget, bad widget or no opinion yet on widget.  Is there an important widget I’ve missed that needs to be in my blog sidebar?

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15 thoughts on “I’ve Gone Widget Crazy And Need Help To Control Widget Addiction

  1. I am a widget freak as well and just love some of the features they bring with them. I used lijit for exactly the same reasons as you but had such trouble embedding the code. The makers of lijit contacted me to see whether I liked it and after mentioning my embedding problems, designed me a personalized badge which I have on my sidebar, with great pride. A blog should reflect individual personalities and needs so keep the widgets!!

    murcha Reply

  2. As a blog surfing addict I like the cocoment reader widget – if something you have commented on else where catches my attention then I can follow it and explore further. I also know can come back to your site and follow other comments of interest – so I like that widget 🙂
    I sort of view sidebar widgets as being partly for the blog owner and partly for their readers. So I guess if they make you happy then that’s what counts. I don’t see them as distracting, but then I’m a total global spatial and my mind is probably full of widgets.

    Kirstin Reply

  3. I do love widgets! However, it can be a real pain when the web site serving up said info crashes or is down and takes down most of my page with it.

    I like lijit. Much better name than profilactic (the one I used to use before probe mentioned above) too.

    Kerry J Reply

  4. Hi Sue,

    Thank you for the mention re Google Reader and blogrolls. Much appreciated. It is neat that you can create separate blogrolls for differing categories of blogs using that process.

    I will check out the Lijit engine. Looks quite useful. Now, perhaps you could also try a Google Custom Search Engine or a Swicki search engine. I know the Swicki can be set up to search your own site.

    http://www.google.com/coop/cse/
    http://www.eurekster.com/

    I have quite a few widgets but I have managed to spread them across several different pages.

    Actually some of the Flash based widgets no longer work on my Mac following the last security update to the Mac OS. The embedded links on my Jaiku and Flikr widgets do not work as a result. 😛

    I have noticed that some bloggers are cleaning up their sidebars and eliminating some widgets. Perhaps it is time for me to simplify my site too. I am thinking of moving to another host as well. My site downloads so slowly! Perhaps I need to clean up the whole box and dice! ^_^

    Cheers, John

    John Larkin Reply

  5. Anne – I love how say “A blog should reflect individual personalities and needs so keep the widgets!” I agree just hadn’t thought about it. Especially as our blogs are part of our personal learning network – we should have this personal aspects.

    Thanks Kirstin for telling me actually use CoComment – I wasn’t sure that people did so it’s staying. And I’m glad that you and Anne have made me realise that it’s okay to let widgets be partially for us personally (like MyBlogLog). But I’m thinking I might need at 3 column blog now.

    Kerry – perhaps we all need some Widget therapy?

    John – I’m enjoying using the Google Reader option for creating my blog roll even if it makes my blog roll incredibly long. I had meant to respond to these comments this morning but got excited creating the Customised Google Search for my sites. Excellent idea John – unfortunately it won’t embed into my blog however I’ve added it to my wiki site if you want to check it out. Now need to try Swicki.

    Sue Waters Reply

  6. What a widget-fest Sue. I really want to make my blog roll from Google Reader (because I haven’t updated my blog roll for about a year), but when I do this I don’t have the option ‘add a blogroll to your site’. What have I done to upset them?

    Martin Reply

  7. Wow, I didn’t imagine I would get a comment from you in my blog, thanks! And yes, your post was very helpful for my blogroll, and I too am running out of sidebar space for my widgets…
    I’m having a lot of fun reading your blog.

    Kindest regards from brazil,

    Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Reply

  8. @Marin I can’t believe I didn’t respond to your comment. Definitely being a bad blog citizen – sorry. I do really try hard. You need to set up a Folder e.g. I create one called Edubloggers. Then add all the edubloggers to that folder. Then go to Manage Subscriptions > click on Tags tab > Make Public > Add blog roll to your site.

    @Ronaldo Happy to leave a comment on your site. Always pleased to know that people find my information helpful and try as hard as possible to comment on people who link to my posts. My blogroll has caused such a clutter I’ve had to solve it by adding it to a page — will be writing about it today. It was reading your post that reminded me it was on my to-do list. Glad you enjoy reading my blog.

    Sue Waters Reply

  9. Hi Sue, I’ve come back to this post as a result of your post ‘The Messy Aspects of Blog Cleaning’. I thought I would finally follow your advice and set up Google reader to add a blog roll to my blog. Problem is that when I make my tag public I don’t get the option of making a blog roll. I only tagged one post per blog with the tag I wanted (hadn’t been using tags yet). I checked Google Reader help, but have come up with nothing so far. If you have any ideas I would be very grateful. Thanks!

    Claire Thompson Reply

  10. Hi Sue, please don’t respond to my last comment; I solved my own problem. I realized that I had to put all of the feeds into folders and then make the folders public. At first I still didn’t have the option to add a blog roll to my site. After a minute though I did get the option. Thanks!

    Claire Thompson Reply

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