November 24, 2014

Why You Should Have A Popular Post Gadget In Your Sidebar



I'm quite a minimalist. Less is more with me. So when it comes to the design of a blog I like a clean look. It doesn't have to be too modern, it can have decorational borders, frames, floral images, whatever. But by clean I mean that a blog shouldn't be stuffed with gadgets and other items that serve no purpose at all. Maybe it's just me, but if I stumble upon a blog that has tons of flashy advertisements all over the place and a sidebar full of junk I'm not hanging around for long.

When you want people to read your content, that content should be visible and not covered under layers of pop-up advertising space and cute, but useless gadgets in the sidebar. At least, that is my opinion ;-) 

But one of the gadgets that definitely deserves a space in your sidebar is the popular post gadget. It displays a link to posts that your readers love. And you can either show a snippet of text from that post or a thumbnail image with the post title if your posts have images.

So, why am I such a fan of the popular post gadget?
Well, it makes it easier for readers to find other posts on your blog they might like. Let's be honest, people are lazy beings (or at least most of them). When you don't provide them with the option to click through to other interesting posts, most of them will read the post they came for and then leave the blog again. And you don't want that, do you? You want them to spend an entire afternoon on your blog, snuggled up on their couch with a pot of tea or coffee, submerging themselves into your stories. The first step to keeping your readers on your blog is offering them an easy click-through option to other posts in your sidebar.

How to install the popular post gadget on Blogger
You can easily do this yourself, even as a beginning blogger. Just go to your Blogger Dashboard and select option 'Layout' on left side of the screen:




When you've selected Layout, a screen will open that shows your blog's layout in blocks. My blog has the sidebar on the right, so on the right you see the gadgets of my sidebar as a pile of blocks. On top of that pile is an option to add a new gadget, click that option:




The Blogger gadget menu screen opens and now look for the Popular Post gadget and click the '+' button to add it to your blog:




A little screen opens up in which you can customize the gadget a bit. I've checked off the boxes to display posts that were viewed the most in the last 7 days, I only want to show a thumbnail image with the title of the post and not a snippet of text, and I want to display 5 recent posts in my sidebar (you can add more):




Now click the 'save' button and your popular post gadget should appear in your sidebar. You can drag the block of this gadget to another position in your sidebar and then click 'save arrangement' in the upper right corner if you don't want this gadget to be the top gadget in your sidebar.

Done!

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