March 22, 2014

Most useful widgets for blogs

Long ago, we published a post on using widgets / gadgets on blogs, and it is one of the most popular posts on ITB. To supplement that, we give here some ideas about which widgets go with which types of blogs.

The following widgets look fine on most types of blogs, if used imaginatively and without cluttering the blog with too many and too gaudy ones: blogroll of blogs / websites that have related content; social media sharing buttons / stats; archives; label list; best content on the blog [e.g. most popular posts]; pages [to be displayed in a menu bar or as a sidebar widget]; profile; search box; contact / subscription form [if in simple design]

In addition, different types of blogs can benefit from relevant widgets as suggested below:
  • Blogs on political and social happenings [current affairs]: news feed; latest comments; poll
  • Travel blogs: currency converter; distance measurement; map; weather; slideshow; world time; translation 
  • Blogs on photography, history, culture, fashion and beauty: slideshow or random posts [=photos]
  • Food blogs: slideshow / video roll; latest posts [=recipes]; weight converter; health stat calculators [e.g. BMI calculator]
  • Finance and economy: Financial calculators; news feed
  • Literature: lists [e.g. books, authors]

We are not sure of the usefulness of some of the following widgets the way these are put on many blogs:
  • translation [Unless the widget does a good job of translation, the translation could be a negative.]
  • stat-counter / followers' thumbnail cloud / current visitors [This is mostly a show off; doesn't give much value to the blog. Can be a networking prop if properly used.]
  • latest comments [Unless you value comments so so much!]
  • label cloud [Labels come out better in a list, but cloud can be a good way to project a very few things over numerous others.]
  • calendar [Today's date, OK. Archives in a calendar, OK. But a calendar for dates' sake, not very valuable.]
  • quote / joke of the day [Avoidable unless your theme really needs it, e.g. quotes from the bible on a Christian blog.]
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A final word: We have been talking about what is desirable on a blog. But there are times when you should listen to your heart more than your brain. If something charms you and you want it to be on your blog, do have it there. Especially if it is a purely personal blog on which you put everything that you like. Don't bother about logic. Just do it!