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May 29, 2007

Creating Widgets for Your Websites and Blogs

With a widget you can place the current information from your blogs and or/websites on other webpages, and your personal pages on social networks like myspace, ning.com and your private clubs. This is not only fun and informative, but an excellent promotional tool.

What is a widget? According to Wikipedia a “web widget is anything that can be embedded within a page of HTML, i.e. a web page. A widget adds some content to that page that is not static. Generally widgets are third party originated… Widgets are also known as modules, snippets, and plug-ins. Widgets can be written in HTML, but also in JavaScript, flash and other scripting languages…

Applications can be integrated within a third party website by the placement of a small snippet of code. This is becoming a distribution or marketing channel for many companies. The code brings in ‘live’ content – advertisements, links, images – from a third party site without the web site owner having to update.”

You have probably seen widgets on web sites you have visited. When clicked on the widget will take you to the source of the information. Although widgets have been around since the late nineties, they are becoming increasing more popular especially with the rise of social networking.

I first started playing around with widgets as a way to promote my own AC published content. While widgets are not that difficult, they can be a little tricky at first if unfamiliar to you. It took me several tries to perfect my own widgets and place them on my blog and social networking sites. They now work perfectly without any problems. As I add content to my AC page for example, the widget automatically updates to show the most current article titles.

If you have not had the opportunity to work with widgets or have attempted to do so without success this article is for you. With little effort you will be able to make the widgets and place them on the web pages that you choose. Once mastered the widgets are really cool and worth the effort.

Making A Widget

At widgetbox.com you can make a widget to place on your pages. You can customize the widget with size, details, title and colors and even list it in their blidget directory which gives more exposure to your blog and AC page (every little bit of promotion helps). You can make as many widgets as you want, I have one for my blog at Women-sense.com and another for my AC content producer page so far.

Go to widgetbox.com, on the left sidebar click on the button that says ‘Make a blidget’. This will open up a box that asks for the url where the information is being gathered. For my blog I just entered the blog url, (http://women-sense.com). Widgetbox.com automatically draws from the rss feed for that URL. Don’t ask me how, I have no idea but it works. For my Associated Content I added the actual RSS link which I found by clicking on the RSS symbol and copying the url address from the browser address bar.

Once you add the link to the blidget box it will open to a page that will give you customizing options. You will see your widget on the right hand side with your information from the RSS feed. You can opt to list article titles or titles with article summaries. Different colors as well as sizing and/or images are other options available. Fool with the options until you get it the way you want it to look.

When you finish setting the options and you are happy with the way it looks, click on one of the article titles to assure it is working correctly. When clicked it should click thru to the site your are promoting.

Registering and Getting The Code

If working correctly the next step is to get the code. Now you will need the code in order to place the widget your myspace page or other website of your choice.

Before getting the code the next step in the creation of your widget offers you the chance to list your widget in the blidget gallery. I opted for this and you will probably want to do so as well. It can only add to your exposure. Add keyword tags and click ‘publish blidget’.

Now you will then be asked to register if you do not already have an account. Don’t worry, the service is absolutely free. By registering you will be able to come back and make as many widgets as you want and add them to your account for editing.

Once you have registered you will now be taken to a another page with several options. Near the top you will see the title of the widget (example: AC Media) on the far right of the title click the green button that says ‘get widget’.

Placing The Widget On Websites

A drop down list opens up for you to choose where to place the widget. You will see there are many choices. If you are placing your widget on myspace, for example, choose that selection. You will be asked for your myspace email and password, along with what section you want the widget to be placed. Widgetbox.com will automatically place the widget on your myspace page in the section you desire.

Perhaps you want to place the widget on a site that is not listed. In this case you would choose the section that says, ‘get code’. There will be two choices to choose from, a Javascript and a Flash script. At this point you may have to experiment to see which code will work on the site you are attempting to place the widget.

Many sites do not allow Javascript. If you are working on your own webpages you can probably use the Javascript code. Copy and paste the code in your websites html, save and upload your page as usual. The widget should work fine.

For other sites like ning.com you want the flash script. Select all and copy the code for the flash script. Paste the code into a block where you are able to add information by clicking on edit/add in the box and paste the code. You are almost done.

Before saving you will need to add opening and closing div tags to the code in order for it to show up. At the beginning of the code place the <div> and at the end of the code include </div>.

Click save and close the opened text box and your widget should be displayed. If correctly done your widget will automatically update every time you add new content to the site your widget is promoting.

Author:  Doran Roggio is a freelance writer & online entrepreneur. For business resources visit Doran at http://atdorans.com and http://adsense-smarts.doranunlimited.com.

One Response to “Creating Widgets for Your Websites and Blogs

    I’ve been following this site for a long time. Very useful articles. I publish my blog articles in your beautiful way. Thank you very much for everything

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