Really Make Your ActiveRain Profile and Blog Stand Out With Widgets, Badges, Photos and More!

Services for Real Estate Pros with Yelling Mule

ActiveRain Side BarThe 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:

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.

Recent Visitors

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 to get a widget for yourself.

Twitter Widget

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!


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Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

They are excellent and fun... but don't go nuts.  They increase the load time... and avoid things that autostart music or audio...  Those make a lot of people unhappy. 

Jan 30, 2009 03:54 AM #74
James Shiner
Yelling Mule - North Andover, MA

Jennifer - what widget are you having problems with?

Jan 30, 2009 03:57 AM #75
James Shiner
Yelling Mule - North Andover, MA

Alisa - you can learn all about Twitter over at my post Social Media in Real Estate - Part 1: Twitter - let me know if you have any questions!

Jan 30, 2009 03:58 AM #76
James Shiner
Yelling Mule - North Andover, MA

Naoma - thanks! The Skype one is one my favorites too. Let me know if you want one!

Jan 30, 2009 04:00 AM #77
James Shiner
Yelling Mule - North Andover, MA

Lane - thank you, I couldn't agree more! Autostarting music/audio is always a big no.

Jan 30, 2009 04:02 AM #78
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

James, thanks for sharing. I've bookmarked this for later!

Jan 30, 2009 04:55 AM #79
Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team
RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs - Geneva, IL

Some great tips here, James!  I like the one for recent visitors - will have to give that one a look.

Jan 30, 2009 05:17 AM #80
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

This was so helpful and a lot of fun.  I added my Facebook and Twitter widgets.  Thanks for the instruction!

Jan 30, 2009 06:30 AM #81
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

thank you !You make it look so simple..i need time to study and play with these features to understand..appreciate you sharing this...

Jan 30, 2009 06:40 AM #82
Barbara Salisbury
Kenna Real Estate Company - Highlands Ranch, CO

Wow!  Great information!  Thank you! 

Jan 30, 2009 11:33 AM #83
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

That's really a shame, you should have put out some sort of distress signal!  As far as I know it is all in the Newbies Group which I read about a year ago where I changed all my stuff.  It was also posted to something like AR Free Extras or Hidden Features?? something like that, where other people added the HTML that also works in the side bar (that was mine!).  You even centered everything, bravo! It is really simple once you know, looks great BTW.

Jan 30, 2009 12:44 PM #84
Gerry Khatchikian
Red Lodge, MT


Thank you for getting back and for your help.   Have a great weekend!

Jan 30, 2009 04:50 PM #85
Jim Lee & Janet Holt Edmond Oklahoma Luxury Home Realtors

Thanks you so much.   My page is pretty boring so I'm looking forward to putting the knowledge you've imparted into use.  AWESOME!!!   I've been wanting to know how to do just that.  Again thanks from Edmond Oklahoma!!

Jan 31, 2009 01:11 AM #86
Cynthia Sloop
Community Association Manager - Indianapolis, IN


Greaat post!  You've made a lot of people happy by sharing and explaining what to use.  I can see why you received the ever coveted gold star from the site.  I think you deserve on here too! Thanks for posting in this category.


Jan 31, 2009 07:00 AM #87
Gina Zimmerman
North Eastern Group Realty - Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne Real Estate

Thanks for the post.  I tried to install recent visitors from blog log but it doesn't populate.  Will have to go in their again and figure it out again to see if I can get it right. 

Feb 02, 2009 09:45 AM #88
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Hi James,  I'm wondering if I can put my website url  where the HTML goes?  Let me know please as I'm not sure what you mean on this.   Thanks,  Patricia Aulson  EM:

Feb 09, 2009 12:48 PM #89

Just the information I was looking for.  I also was contemplating putting zillow widgets on but now I see why not to.  Thanks for a great post.

Feb 23, 2010 02:29 AM #90
Nicole Berger
Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty - Johnstown, OH

Thank you thank you thank you!!! I've been trying to figure this out for days and finally decided I will just do a seach under the blogs and bam here is your post and I was able to add my buttons in mins! Thank you so much!

Mar 28, 2010 07:28 AM #91
Brandon DeVere
Force Realty - Las Vegas, NV

Thanks for the tips I will defintely need them to improve my profle

Dec 31, 2010 11:17 AM #92
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) - Boise, ID

I am spending the day redesigning my websites and blogs adding widgets so thanks for sharing.

Jul 03, 2011 06:29 AM #93
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