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How necessary are widgets? Which ones can't you live without?

  1. I am in the process of redesigning my blog (cathyscholl.wordpress.com) and turning it into a website with an attached blog, using Fusion theme.
    I am playing around with a test site at nagababas.wordpress.com.

    Fusion has the option of having no sidebar or footer.

    When I am finished most pages will have "website" content vs "blog" content so I think it may look unprofessional (crappy?) to have "blog" footers on each page, at the bottom of my photo galleries, etc. Ideally I would like to have ONE FOOTER on the blog page ONLY and no sidebars...at the moment this is not an option so I am wondering whether or not I need a footer on my site at all.

    I am questioning the importance of widgets and would like to hear about your experience with them. Are widgets absolutely essential for a blog? Which ones can't you live without?

    Here's what I am thinking...
    I already have a link to twitter under Contact info so I don't necessarily need a text widget to "follow me on twitter."
    Instead of a blogroll widget I could have blogs and other links on their own page.

    I would like a subscription by email option. That's the only widget that seems essential to me.
    Other than that I have only used categories and archives widgets.
    I don't care about showing last comments, most read posts or any of that other stuff.

    Is there something I am missing as far as the "need" for widgets? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Please keep in mind that the nagababas blog is just a test site I am playing around with! Thank you.

    The blog I need help with is nagababas.wordpress.com.

  2. pornstarbabylon
    Member

    Right away I can tell you that you need to either reduce the number of posts per page & possibly use thumbnails too. You have too many large pictures all on the main page. Many people are on dial-up and/or a monthly limit. I usually tell people with too many pictures & too many videos to cut the post count to 3-5 posts per page. I can get through your page fine but many people with slower connections might leave if they can't get through.

    A website/blog is suppose to be made as easy for the visitor so they'll keep on coming back. So I include a calendar, archives (drop-down menu), and categories (drop-down menu). Also put a search at the top of your blog. If I can't find what I'm looking for on someone's site, I leave and go elsewhere.

    I also have a blogroll. I want other sites to hopefully link back to me sending me traffic. So I link them too. Put the meta widget so they can get the RSS feeds for your posts & comments.

    I have the Twitter widget up because people are generally nosy and want to read my weekly meltdowns on Twitter.

    And because people are nosy, also put up the comments widget so they can see what everyone on your blog is talking about. This usually brings traffic because people will keep on coming back to read what people are saying or to read what your reply back to them was.

    I also put up the recent posts & top posts widgets so more traffic can be generated so giving your visitors a preview of the other posts on your blog.

    I only have one image on my sidebar. I found that before when I had more images on the sidebar, it looked really bad on Internet Explorer. So that's why I put everything else in pages away from the sidebar.

    Everything else I have I put into pages which are tabbed at the top of the blog.

  3. Thanks psb for your insight and suggestions.

    Anyone else care to comment? I was hoping to get a conversation going here.

    Also...how do you feel about footers with widgets on "website" type pages such as photo galleries?

    For the moment I have to either go with footers on all pages or none.

  4. @Cathy,
    I have seen the theme you suggested that's a knock-off of the copyrighted Boston Globe's Big Picture theme, and I honestly don't consider it to be special in any way. Its a stripped naked theme that's operating like a billboard. MEH ... big deal. :D

    So remember that you asked;
    1. If I click into a site and it does not not fully load within 8 seconds I'm history. Those who have mutilple embeds and multple lengthy posts on their front page with huge images in them are rewarded with a bounce.

    2. I prefer photopblog entries that do have supporting text and/or detailed captions. I want to know the where, why, when, and how story regarding the image(s). A huge image and no supporting text rarely draws my attention longer than it takes to look for the Archives and quickly scan the blog to see if this is the pattern the blogger has established. If it is I click out an will not return.

    3. I also expect that each post will have URL specific social networking sharing buttons I can use. If I can't find them on the post and have to click onto a static page or search for them I become annoyed and even if I do find the buttons elsewhere on the blog I won't use them.

    4. As a reader I expect a blogger to provide me with easy to locate and intuitive navigational tools so I can quickly locate blog content that's not located on the front page of the blog. I look for a Sitemap. If I can't locate one then Categories and Archives are what I look for. Those are either found in the horizontal menu or in widgets. Widgets in sidebars are by far easier to access than those situate in footers as no scrolling is required.

    5. When it comes to Blogroll links I expect to click them and instantly locate other directly related sites that provide high quality resources in the same niche. If I can't locate such a Blogroll I assume the blogger is a newbie who incorrectly assumes blogging on what's essentially a stand alone island will manifest in success.

    6. On a personal level I don't care much about seeing my own comment links displayed in a widget but I'm keenly aware that many readers do want to see them. That's why I use Recent Commenters widget.

  5. Sure when it comes to blog doc how would you know if it were right?

  6. What is that, in English?

  7. pornstarbabylon
    Member

    I've never dealt with footers on my two blogs. I figured people would assume what happened to the sidebar. Unless the blog is a one post per page type of blog where the footer is seen right away. And on my second blog, i can go into a 3,000 word essay about what's bothering me that day. So if I had footers on either of my blogs, they wouldn't find the footer for quite a while.

  8. @kevinkelowna

    Sure when it comes to blog doc how would you know if it were right?

    I'm sorry but I don't understand what it is that you are trying to express. Please expand.

  9. @timethief

    Was this meant as a warning in case I was offended by your opinion?
    "So remember that you asked..."

    Thanks but no worries. Does that happen around here? Some people take comments personally?

    I hope not...after all this is only a discussion about footers and widgets for goodness sakes! It's helpful and I'm learning a lot, certainly nothing to go to war over :)

    As far as your opinion about my theme suggestion...I'm not sure why you didn't write it under the suggestion itself but my own opinion is that I like the Big Picture Blog a lot, Zach 990 not nearly as much but it's something I could show the theme wranglers. I don't know if they "acquire" themes or create their own but I thought it might be something different for WordPress to add to their theme library.

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