Sunday, September 23, 2007

Trying Out Blog Widgets and Tools

This week I have been experimenting with various blog widgets and tools.

First I tried using the Amazon Associates product link that shows only the book’s cover, not the price and other buying information. None of those links worked. I had spent about 20 minutes, at least, grabbing all the HTML coding for my Foxfire book links from Amazon and they all were dysfunctional. So I had to get all new HTML with the other style link box that shows the price and more information and re-do the blog entry. What a waste of my time!

I would like a search box on my blog that lets my readers (and me) search for content from within the pages of my blog. The Google one that I used to use was not working right, I’d search for a word that was right in front of me or even in a blog post title and it would say there were no matches, so I dumped that function.

I then for a long time used a Technorati box. At some point I realized it was not working well either. Again I’d search for a keyword that was in a blog post title and it would say there were no matches. So this week I deleted it from my sidebar. What is the point of having a blog reader search for a topic on my blog, be told I never blogged on it, when in reality, I actually did?

I like the Carnival of Homeschooling link box but I don’t like that it has a graphic ad for which I receive no compensation. I might delete it. I am undecided on that.

I installed a new Technorati cloud which shows my top tags, the things I blog about most frequently.

I installed a brand new Amazon tool for Amazon Associates called a product cloud. It is way at the bottom of my sidebar. It shows products that Amazon sells which match up with words and phrases that I have blogged about recently. I was a bit worried about the functionality as it took over 24 hours for the customized information to appear. It is working now. I’ll leave it down there at the bottom.

I thank all blog readers who have ever purchased anything through my blog’s Amazon Associates link boxes. With that said, I really have not been making much at all lately. I’m at 84 cents for the month, based on the sale of two books. Last month I didn’t break $3. Oh well.

I spread around my Amazon sales to different blogs and websites. Whichever site or blog I feel has helped me the most lately or enriched my life the most on the day I make my purchase, gets my sale. Lately the site I am most thrilled with and that enriches me the most is the Creative Mom Podcast and so I threw Amy my Amazon purchases of an art book for me, two different Foxfire related books, two books for homeschooling: Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Grade 3 teacher manual and student workbook, a Water Pik and a toaster oven.

I also have been paring down my blog post labels. I have been deleting out similar phrases. I do this in little spurts, fifteen minutes here and fifteen minutes there. I would like to tighten up my labels so there are less of them.

I opened an account on Digg this last week. I didn’t know anything about Digg before this. It is a site where people can submit a good blog post or website article that they read online. Others can see the links to those submitted article and other Digg account holders may choose to also read those articles. If they like the article, they can choose to vote for it, and you can see how many people liked reading a certain article. There are lists of the most popular articles being read, so you can browse through the popular articles to find things to read. I can imagine I’d waste a lot of time on the Digg site if I visited it regularly. I just don’t have time to sift through what others think is good reading and to go all over the Net to read this and that and to maybe find something to read that also was meaningful to me. Also, the topics on Digg are not necessarily the topics I want to read about. Some of the most popular articles were the stupidest content and of no interest to me. They also don’t have a category specifically for education, homeschooling, or parenting, and you can only submit articles that match up with their content. Some of the homeschooling and education posts have squeaked through when labeled as politics. The Digg site is primarily for politics and current events/news, technology and the entertainment fields: television, movies and sports.

One last thing I’ll mention is that I get a ton, and I mean a ton of blog readers through Google primarily and also some other Internet search engines. I feel that my regular use of Technorati tags helps my blog posts be found by Google and the other search engines. This drives traffic to my blog. So if you want to drive traffic to your blog, use Technorati tags in every blog post of substance.

Technorati Tags: , , , .

1 comment:

cloosley said...

Christine,
I was writing about Technorati's problems and found this post. I couldn't agree more -- the tags are still useful, but the core Technorati services seem to be becoming less reliable, less usable, less useful, every day.

I quoted some of your comments in my post. See Why Technorati Is Not Usable.

--Chris Loosley