The other night I was searching the ActiveRain site for information on how to populate my right column with widgets, links, buttons, photos, etc. I couldn't find the information anywhere, and as you can see from my photo to the left here, my column was plain. It was boring.
There is so much you can put between "Email Me" and the Tags drop down. This post is going to tell you how.
As some of you may know, you can put HTML in that side column to make it really stand out and offer people ways to get in contact with you, follow you on Twitter, etc. It can really turn your profile on socially.
Since I couldn't seem to find a way I threw a tweet out there and quickly got a response.
I found out you simply go to your "My Home" then "Settings" on the left menu. You'll see a box "Blog Description" - this is where you get started.
Now you may be saying great, now I know where to put it, but HOW do I put it there? I don't know HTML, I can't build a widget. If you've known about this area for a while but have not used it because you didn't know how, this post will answer those questions. If you're like me and know HTML but didn't know where to put it, now you know.
So let's get started with some simple HTML.
I'm not going to cover links because there is a links section below this that you can use to list all of your links. I suggest doing this as it allows your readers to visit you on all of your other sites that you appear on.
If you're going to start out your column with a description of your blog, or any other body of text, there are a few tags you can use to make your text really stand out:
(Please note that I have spaces between tags - this is simply so you can view them. Do not use spaces when you use these tags.)
< b > Text < / b > will make your text bold
< i > Text < / i > will make your text italic
< b > < i > Text < / b > < / i > will make your text bold italic
< p > Text < / p > will start a new paragraph.
There are a number of other HTML tags and you can find a full list here: http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_primary.asp
Now that we've gotten that little tutorial out of the way, let's move onto something that doesn't take any learning. Let's show you some widgets you can just copy and paste into your blog.
One of my favorites is the "Recent Visitors" widget from MyBlogLog. This keeps track of who has visited your blog and allows your readers to connect with each other. You can see it in my right column. It's black and has photos of people who have read my blog.
To get your own simply create a free MyBlogLog account and then visit http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/widget_grab.php to get a widget for yourself.
If you have a Twitter account you can display your updates and a link to your Twitter page using a free widget from Widgetbox. If you don't have a Twitter account you should go sign up for one now and read my other post on Twitter: Social Media in Real Estate - Part 1: Twitter
It's easy to get your own Twitter Widget and it's free!
All of the popular social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc) have badges that you can use. They're located in a different area on each site but generally in your "My Account" or "Settings" area. Some are just buttons, but others have information about you, your photo, etc. All link back to your profile on that site. You can see my LinkedIn and Facebook badges in my right column.
Trulia and Zillow also have badges that you can use. Go to your account and you will find badges you can simply copy and paste into your ActiveRain profile.
And much more!
These are only a couple of examples of how you can populate your ActiveRain profile with widgets and badges. There are a number of other sites out there and chances are if you're a member they have something you can put in your profile.
If you have any cool examples of how you filled your right column please leave them in the comments so others can see!