Getting More Out of Widgets!

Wow – thanks everyone. Your response, support and feedback has been incredible! We have set up this page to keep track of your feedback on what you’d like to see covered!

As you can see there are some really great topic areas to get us started. Which got me thinking! The Edublogger is about community, and helping each other. Perhaps you have already covered some of these topics in your own posts? Or you would like to cover a topic(s) in your own post(s)? Let us know by posting the link in the comments below, and we will let the community know!examples of widgets

Meanwhile lets start working through the list! Many readers express interest in widgets, so I have decided this is a good place to start!

What are Widgets?

Web terminology makes it so much harder when people are starting their online journey; suddenly you being bombarded all these foreign terms and widgets are a classic example! In simple terms widgets are mini web applications that you can put onto your website (i.e. blog, wiki, homepage) e.g. the Clustrmap on the side bar is a widget.

How To Embed A Widget

People use widgets to add extra features to their website. But be warned! Choose widgets for your blog wisely because they can clutter your side menu which will distract your readers. My list of “must have widgets” on a blog include:

  1. Search – so readers can easily search your blog
  2. Email subscription – for readers who prefer to be notified of new posts by email
  3. RSS feed – not all feed readers are able to detect the RSS feed from the site URL; this is why I add a Feed burner feed to my sites to make it easier for readers to subscribe
  4. Categories and Tag Cloud – to make it easier for readers to locate posts on your blog. We will be writing a post soon to explain the difference between categories and tag clouds; and why/how each is used

I also like to add a widget that links to information on how to be notified of new posts; to make it easier for new people to understand how to subscribe to blogs.

Edublogs Widgets

Removing WidgetsCould I Mess up My blog Embedding Widgets?

Don’t worry! Widgets won’t break your blog. Any widgets you add can easily be removed, and won’t effect existing widgets in your side bar.

To try out widget drag and drop the widget from your Available Widgets to your Side Bar, then click Save Changes and view your site. To remove a widget just drag it from your Side Bar back to your Available Widget area and then click Save Changes.

What Widgets Should I Add To My Blog?

Widgets are PERSONAL. We all have our favourites.

Clustrmap

Many educators like to add Clustrmaps, especially those with younger students, because the students loving seeing the red dots grow as their readers, from around the World, visit their site.

Other common widgets bloggers use include:

  • Flickr – shows the latest photos you have uploaded to your Flickr Account
  • Del.icio.us – shows the latest sites you have bookmarked in your del.icio.us account
  • Vod Pod Videos – shows the latest videos you have saved to your VodPod account
  • Google Reader Shared Items – for latest items you share in your Google Reader
  • Twitter – shows your latest updates from Twitter

Not all widgets can be embedded in Edublogs because some types of code and code that includes Java Script can cause problems. For example, you can’t embed a clip of your shared items in Google Reader because the code includes Java

Google Reader shared items

Script however you can still embed by using an RSS widget!

And if you want even more widgets, don’t forget you can grab some from Widgetbox! This video explains how to embed Widgetbox widgets into Edublogs.

FINAL THOUGHT

For those struggling to embed widgets we hope these “how to” tips have helped! For everyone else we hope that you find these tips useful when demonstrating to new people.

Please leave a comment to let us know how you go, and if you need any help with widgets I haven’t mentioned.

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider Subscribing For Free!

Share This Post:

90 thoughts on “Getting More Out of Widgets!

  1. Hi Sue

    My Primary School Colleagues and I are really struggling with the installation of widgets from Widgetbox. We’ve finally had time to update our pages for our new classes and wanted to change some of the fun “reward time” widgets we had successfully installed last year. Tetris, Tic Tac Toe, Hero Lab Class Pets etc. What has happened to the panel id code that the video showed us (and still does) how to install last year? None of us have been successful in placing any widgets on our page this year??????? I can’t even see anything in the codes that resembles the old panel id. Are we missing something??????? Nothing seems to work. How do we install widgetbox widgets now?
    Thanks Vanessa

  2. Hello I have been using widgetbox for 6 months without a problem until now. I have been following the process of copying the panel id but have now found that widgetbox no longer have this option. Does anyone know how I can embed widgetbox widgets now?

    Thanks, Andrew

  3. Hi Mrs Curtis – you done well and manage to add your comment avatar. The easiest way to add your photo to your blog would be to use your photo for your blog avatar and then drag the Avatar widget onto the sidebar. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need help.

    Lots of people ask about my screen shots – Andrew – I use SnagIT – worth every cent I paid.

  4. Hello, I need help! I have tried to create my edublog and would like to put my picture on the blog. I know nothing about this process and I am so frustrated that I am about to give up, however, I am determined to make this work! I followed the example where you put in Kevin’s picture through to step 5. The picture has shown up, as it did on Kevin’s. Now how do I get it on the actual blog page? Now, I only hope that I can find this page again to get the answer. (Haha)

  5. Hi again Sue… part of that link (item 38) above was so that we could test out our shiny new drag-and-drop widget, and I’m happy to report that now Edublogs.org users can use this much easier method.

    Here’s the main difference, primarily for brand new signups:

    Old (regular) method, no longer needed for Edublogs users: to get a thumbnail map on your blog, you needed to
    1. go to the ClustrMaps Get one! page
    2. link from there to the registration page
    3. fill in your URL and email
    4. submit
    5. check your email for your fresh password
    6. go to the Admin page
    7. sign in with URL and fresh password
    8. copy the HTML
    9. edit your blog sidebar by dragging a text widget (or similar)
    10. paste the HTML you copied at step 8.

    NEW (drag-and-drop widget) way, available to Edublogs.org users:
    1. edit your blog sidebar by dragging the ClustrMaps widget [similar to 9 above]
    2. open the widget’s options to fill in your email – the URL is already there, and save it

    That’s it… the no-brainer simplicity of true widgets… we only ask for the email address so that we can provide personalised user support in case of questions or difficulties, and also to allow a route for people to go in their Admin pages on ClustrMaps.com and edit some of the options if they want (more will be coming soon, like customised look), and to upgrade to ClustrMaps+

    Hope this is helpful – enjoy!

  6. Dear Sue. Thakn you for sending me your friend´s James and Kevin messages. They haven´t solved my problem, but it is good to see people trying to help other people. As Bonnie and Lev2000 I am in the same boat and the water is too cold. As I said before, my problem is that the widgets in my side bar went down to the botton of the page and I´d like to know how to take them up to the top.
    Warm hugs, Horacio.

  7. Thanks for the intro to widgets. I think of them as small modules that can be added to a web page to easily add cool functionality.

    Great examples of clustr map and other widgets.

  8. Library Lady – if you want a display that shows number of site visitors I suggest you check out Stats Counter. You will need to sign up for an account and then choose the graphic counter option for your badge. Drag a text widget from your Available Widget area to your side bar and then add the code to a text widget. I’ve added a stats counter to this blog so hopefully by tomorrow you can see it working. In simple terms the difference between this and Clustrmaps is Clustrmaps gives you a visual representation of your visitors while you can use Stats counter to provide a numerical counter. However if you want a counter that shows visitors usage in terms of which posts interest them – then you are better with Google Analytics which I will be posting about soon.

    Sorry wvskphillips – that is the frustrating part of themes. They each have their advantages and disadvantages.

    Thanks Frieda – we are glad you are enjoying 0ur tips and Edublogs.

  9. Dear ladies and gentlemen: if you please open my blog you´ll see that the widgets on my sidebar went down to the bottom of the page.
    http://racebis.edublogs.org/wp-admin/
    How can I take them up to the top?
    Another question: I intended to delete some of the widgets doing what you say and did not work. I drag it to available widgets but they return to my sidebar.
    Another: How can I add my bubbleshare to the blog?
    Thank you in advance,
    Horacio Idarraga Gil.

  10. Okay,
    I had some success. I was able to follow directions and create an avatar for my blog. But when I try and use the same one for comments I the photo in the 4 different sized boxes but it doesn’t let me save it and doesn’t show up after a comment.
    Bonnie

  11. I was able to get my photo in my side bar in the right size. Shouldn’t I be able to move that correctly sized photo in as my avatar? I
    Bonnie

  12. I am in the same boat as Bonnie (how’s the water?). I too, can upload a photo, it shows up in the avatar windows, but then am directed to an error page. I was so pumped to add this feature and have struck out twice now. What am I doing wrong?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *