Blog Widgets And Other Great Stuff

August 26, 2008

Blog widgets are great tools for making an instant improvement to your blog. And Ozh has just created a new comment counter blog widget, which he has named after Liz Strauss.

Liz has had over 70,000 comments on her blog. That’s an overwhelming amount and while it may not be easy to catch up, you can encourage people to join in your conversation by installing the comment widget on your blog. It’s a great tool and it only counts the received comments, not your responses, making it easier for you to keep count.

Another great widget I found recently was WWSGD (What would Seth Godin Do?) I read about this on one of Liz Strauss’s Open Mic sessions. You can set it to encourage folk to subscribe to your RSS feed and after their first few visits, you can display a different message. I have it installed on this site at the top of each post and I like to change the message each day, to welcome readers back.

A lot of talk has been going on in the community recently about using search engine optimization. For keyword research I used to use Wordtracker. But I was beginning to wonder if it was worth what I was paying them each month. After all, it doesn’t seem like they’re getting their info off Google - and Google is the search engine with the biggest market share.

Also, I never was interested in their stats for how much competition there was for a keyword. Good competition is more important. And to discover how good your competition is, all you need to do is type the following into your browser: allintitle: KEYPHRASE HERE and you will see what competition you have for a keyphrase. Anything under 100,000 is excellent. Plus, you can use Google’s own free keyword researcher to discover keyphrases that will fit with your topic.

Finally, Ian Denny is offering a £25 discount to any UK readers who mention my name, when they sign up to his Electronic Postroom service. It’s a real time saver. You simply send your bulk mailing letter from your computer and Ian’s company will print, envelope, stamp and send them all for you.

To take advantage of this great discount, visit Ian at Multisolutions.

Have you discovered any great blog widgets, tools or services lately? Please share in the comments section.

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15 Responses to “Blog Widgets And Other Great Stuff”

  1. Brad Shorr on August 26th, 2008 11:25 pm

    Cath, thanks for the tips! The keyword “trick” is fabulous. Would have saved me about an hour of work last week. I’m still a big fan of Zemata, a blog publishing tool you can use to find images and relevant links. It’s easy to use and the link quality is high and getting better.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..The One Key to Successful Sales ? and Life, by Robert Hruzek

  2. cathlawson on August 26th, 2008 11:30 pm

    Thanks Brad - I will check out Zemata. Is it free? Are the images all available under creative commons?

    Wordtracker was pretty pricey and it’s not like I use it all the time. And Google is bound to be more accurate for their own engine. It’s silly really that I’ve waited this long, when I’d already been using Google for Adwords.

  3. Natural on August 27th, 2008 1:24 am

    Hi Cath..I have noticed this

    If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting.

    on other people’s blog. I wondered how they got that there. I guess in looking at the wording, I would probably change it (for myself) to not sound like a question. They could say no.

    Make it a statement or a command.

    thanks Cath, i checked out the other links

    Natural’s last blog post..Doggone, Grandma

  4. cathlawson on August 27th, 2008 1:28 am

    Hi Natural - Good idea - thanks. You can change the wording, so I might give that a try. I wonder if I could add subliminal messages too!

    I’m wondering how well it’s working because you should be getting the new messages on your screen by now. I will check it out on another pc.

  5. Vered on August 27th, 2008 3:08 am

    I like the WWSGD. It does feel welcoming to read that short message every time I visit you. :)
    Vered’s last blog post..Aging: May I Please Get Off This Path Now?

  6. Leanne Magraith on August 27th, 2008 4:13 am

    I only like to use plugins that have been tested and recommended by bloggers I know. So thank you for test driving WWSGD. I might give it a go myself.

    Leanne Magraith’s last blog post..Take 2 - Personal Development: Seven Shortcomings

  7. cathlawson on August 27th, 2008 5:00 am

    Hi Vered - Thank you - I hoped it would and it’s nice to know that it does.

    Hi Leanne - Thank you. It easy to install and set up. And it only takes seconds when you want to change the messages. Have fun.

  8. Al at 7P on August 27th, 2008 5:15 am

    Hi Cath - hmm, is the keyword browser hack for Internet Explorer? I’m using Firefox and I’m getting an error saying Firefox doesn’t understand the address. However, it works when I type it in Google.

    Regarding plugins, one that I think more Feedburner people should use is the Feedburner Feedsmith plugin. Any RSS link gets redirected to Feedburner, and this really helps when people use the RSS button next to the browser URL textbox rather than the RSS link on the blog’s page. Otherwise the Feedburner numbers won’t be accurate.

    I’m also working on a plugin too… hopefully out sometime in September. Maybe I’ll come back and add it to this thread :)
    Al at 7P’s last blog post..10 Tips for Immediate Productivity Results

  9. cathlawson on August 27th, 2008 5:23 am

    Hi Al - that’s odd. It works ok for me on Firefox.

    I will check out that feedburner feedsmith plugin. I’ve never totally sussed out what those stats mean, or why they change every day - but maybe I’m not getting an accurate reading. Thanks.

    I’m impressed that you’re working on a plugin. You have to come back and tell us when it’s ready. Are they quite difficult and time consuming to make?

  10. Al at 7P on August 27th, 2008 5:35 am

    I was looking at the Wordpress site and they seem to have decent guidelines on how to make plugins. I’ll definitely will let you know when it’s done!

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..10 Tips for Immediate Productivity Results

  11. Barbara Swafford on August 27th, 2008 8:03 am

    Hi Catherine,

    I’ve been researching and testing the comment count plugin. It has possibilities. I may do a post about it later in the week.

    I like the WWSGD plugin too. It adds a special touch to blog posts. I’ll have to look into that one, too.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Parties, Spam and Hanging Chads

  12. Brad Shorr on August 27th, 2008 11:55 am

    Hi Cath, Zemata is free. Images are pulled from a variety of sources, mainly Wikimedia Commons. Not all the images pulled in can be copied/republished, but you can link to them from Zemata and see what copyright rules apply. Another nice thing about Zemata - when you use it, it adds your post to its database. I’ve gotten a few very nice backlinks from other Zemata users. And like I say, the link quality is good, so I like using the Zemata links whenever it makes sense.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..DUH v. DOH - All You Need to Know

  13. cathlawson on August 27th, 2008 12:50 pm
    Thanks Brad - it sounds good. And the backlinks are a huge bonus. I’ll check it out.
  14. Ian Denny on August 27th, 2008 7:59 pm

    Thanks for the mention Cath. It’s also a timely reminder for me to put osme time aside to learn more about Plug-ins and spend some time on our site!

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..Celebrate The End Of The Credit Crunch And Get A Free Laptop For Your Business - No Catch

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