We all know that wordpress.com rocks. Not only do those lovely guys over at Automattic provide us with a free blogging service, but they keep improving it too, adding in extra themes and functionality almost as soon as it is available. However, one thing you can’t do at wordpress.com is use Plugins, they are reserved solely for those of us who are hosting wordpress ourselves. In many ways this can limit the functionality of the blog, BUT….. and it’s a big BUT …. all is not lost. By using the widgets provdided in ways that are slightly more intuitive then you can actually add all sorts of things you thought wasn’t possible. So, here are my top 5 wordpress.com widgets in no particular order:-
This is a fabulous widget because it allows you to do almost anything in this little piece of wordpress.com real estate. Not only can you add TEXT (natch), which means you introduce us to your favourite band, pet or friend; but you can also add any form of HTML too. Remember, the guys at wordpress.com won’t allow you to use scripts (because of their security risks), but you can add basic HTML. I use this to display things like my Facebook Profile Badge or my LinkedIn Badge.
If you have your blog set up to have a static page as the landing page, then the chances are your audience isn’t going to know about all the wonderful pieces of comment you have been adding to the global conversation recently. This is where the Recent Posts widget comes in, it does exactly what it says it does, it provides a list of the most recent posts on your blog. You even get to choose how many you want to display, up to a total of 15.
Let’s say you are running your blog as a regular blog with the landing page showing everything you’ve written most recently. The problem with this scenario, some of your most popular content could end up languishing in the depths of the archive. This is where the Top Posts widget comes in handy, because it simply displays the most popular of your posts over all time.
Do you have another website? Possibly one providing regularly updated content? If the answer is YES, why not display what’s going happening on your website on your blog? The RSS widget allows you to do just that, simply add the RSS feed address to the widget settings and choose how much you want to display (up to 20 items) and away you go.
Regular bloggers are likely to be tweeting away too. If you are then why not display a selection of the your latest Tweets on your wordpress.com blog as well. Once again you get to choose the number of tweets to display (up to 20) and can also choose to hide @replies if you wish as well.
What is a widget?
Widgets are found under Appearance and are the things that govern what happens (and is displayed) on the right or left hand side of your wordpress.com blog.