Last month, we highlighted some widgets and hope you’ve since activated them! Today, let’s continue our widgets tour and focus on several that put the spotlight on the readership you’ve built. Your site isn’t just about you or your organization — it’s very much enriched by the community around you.
Turn visitors into subscribers
The Follow Blog Widget lets your visitors sign up to receive your posts via email — it’s one of the easiest ways to ensure your readers see your new posts. Under Appearance → Widgets, drag this widget to the right. In the settings, you can customize the messages that will be displayed, the text for the “Follow” button, and decide whether you want to show your total number of followers (which is the sum of users following your blog and others connected from Publicize services, like Facebook and Twitter).
Here’s an example of the widget on the blog Humans Are Weird:
The Follow Blog Widget is the simplest tool you can enable to send your latest stuff to as many inboxes across the internet as possible!
Show off your readership
So, let’s say you’ve got a bunch of blog followers. Who are these fabulous people? The My Community Widget allows you to display a sampling of users who have interacted on your site, transforming a faceless mass into happy, smiling humans. You can see the widget in action on the blog Play:
The widget shows a grid of gravatars, which visually dresses up your sidebar. You can tweak it by displaying activity from a mix of likers, followers, and commenters.
Highlight your community’s favorites
The Top Posts & Pages Widget displays the most popular content on your site. You can choose to show your most viewed or most liked posts (up to 10), as well as specify the display format (a text list, an image list, or an image grid). On his blog, Boy with a Hat, Vincent Mars displays his most-liked content in an image list:
The Top Posts & Pages Widget not only gives your top posts and pages the attention they deserve — it also reveals a bit about your readers’ preferences and what topics have resonated with your audience over a long period of time.
Promote the conversation
Finally, the Recent Comments Widget shows a snippet of the engagement on your site. For many of us, comments aren’t afterthoughts — they’re essential to the discussion and the blogging experience. This widget displays the most recent comments left on your blog, as shown on Robert Bruce’s 101 Books:
You can customize the widget title, set up to 15 posts to display, adjust the size of the avatars (or show no avatars at all), and specify the background color for avatars and text. It’s similar to the My Community Widget above and connects faces to usernames and humanizes your readership, but also highlights the individuals who take the time to comment on something you’ve worked hard to publish.
Well, what are you waiting for? Enable these widgets to showcase the readership you’ve built — each one can be activated right in your dashboard under Appearance → Widgets.
You might also enjoy these related posts:
- Quick and Easy Customization: Get the Most Out of Widgets
- More Widgets For Your Blog
- Widget Visibility and You
Jul 23rd at 1:30 am
Thanks, It’s been some time since I last checked out the Widgets list. WP.com has been busy!
Jul 23rd at 2:37 am
Any advice on adding images to a sidebar? Still a bit voodoo for me.
Jul 23rd at 2:50 am
I want to make the most out of my widgets, but I use the Book Lite theme, which only shows widgets on the very bottom of the page. I really like my theme, but do you think I would be better off switching to a theme that has a sidebar?
Jul 23rd at 3:40 am
These are so helpful — widgets can be super confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing. I think I’m slowly getting the hang of them. Love all the advice and tips — I’ll master these widgets one of these days!
Jul 23rd at 6:16 am
Really cool… Especially the follow blog widget… Nice work author.
Jul 23rd at 6:33 am
Couldn’t the grid of pics from posts I’ve liked (or the list) accommodate more posts, with the pictures maybe a little smaller? I find 15 very limiting and as I’m often in the position of being able to read the many bloggers I follow only every few days then often the number of ‘likes’ in a session exceeds 15 and so they have a very short life in my widget sidebar.
Another possibility would be not to add but to replace a ‘like’ of a post from a blogger that it already featured. I think this particular widget is really great and have found that it really helps build a community around my particular interest, particularly on my ‘classic photography’ blog, with people reading a post of mine going off to the sites of bloggers featured in my ‘recent likes’.
Also, I’d like to be able to categorise a ‘like’ in some way without the need to write a comment, which I often do not have time to do. For example, sometimes on photo blogs I might ‘like’ the text much more than the picture, and would like to be able to ‘like’ in some way which makes this clear. Another example: I might not like a post on some mental health, or homelessness, issue at all but want to signal that I found the post important or influential. ‘Like’ often gives entirely the wrong impression in this situation.
Jul 23rd at 6:41 am
The community widget looks interesting
Jul 23rd at 12:43 pm
When visiting other blogs, the community always makes me smile. It creates such an interesting collage, making the web seem more alive, personal and happy!
Jul 23rd at 2:34 pm
What is a widget?
Jul 23rd at 2:38 pm
Hey, pretty handy tips you’ve got there. Continue the awesome work and thou shall not give my soul.
Jul 23rd at 2:46 pm
Love the “Give me your email and I shall give you my soul”… I need to make mine more interesting — that’ll keep my brain busy tonight.
Jul 23rd at 6:51 pm
I’m with Davey. I’ve got a lot of adjustments to make. Thank you for another very helpful post.
Jul 24th at 3:33 am
For blogs that prefer not to use a sidebar, it would be cool if widgets could be displayed on a special page in your menu.
Jul 24th at 1:44 pm
Thanks for this info. I like the Community & Top Posts Widgets. Will be adding them to make my blog more exciting and interactive!
Jul 24th at 3:34 pm
Cheesus, Cheri, your powers are remarkable. It’s almost like being Freshly Pressed. And unfortunately, I’m all outta soul. Just kidding. There’s plenty to go around. Crazy, crazy soul. Thanks for thinking of a weird weirdo. You’ve been too kind.
Jul 26th at 3:00 pm
I often discover new bloggers due to their interaction on other people’s sites, and am pleased to offer the same to anyone who stops at my blog. After a few years of trying a variety of blogging platforms Word Press rises to the top and remains my favourite because of the interaction and community-building tools offered. Thanks for mentioning Play–so cool to see the gravatar images of blogging friends appearing in this post!