Poll: Attention seeking widgets

Over time, WordPress has enabled us bloggers to have more and more customization bells and whistles but how useful are they? Some widgets are purely decorative, others are informative, whilst still others are what I term ‘attention seekers. But either way, who gets to see them and how often?

As blog readers, we land on a page, usually the most recent post and invariably via the WordPress reader. If so, we don’t see anything other than the post until we click on the ‘view original’ link, which opens that blog in another window.

But can we be bothered/do we have time/are we intrigued enough, to read in the original…and then having done all that and gone to the blog, what is the likelihood that we will then also take notice of the alerts and signposts to the blog’s other content?

Related Posts plugin, as well as Recent Posts (I label it ‘Hot off the Press’)  and Top Posts & Pages widgets, are designed to tweak interest and keep the attention of our readers for longer, but how many of us click on through and read further?

So are these widgets just weighty download clutter or well-used navigational aids and prompts? Please take the poll as feedback helps all of us decide on what are useful additions to our blogs:




Having recently acquired a smartphone and seen my blog pages in smaller format, I’m aware of how much scrolling is involved. The more add-ons we have, the longer it gets!

Widgets have to earn their keep and this poll might just be the deciding factor.

Enabling/disabling ‘Related posts’


20 thoughts on “Poll: Attention seeking widgets

  1. Good subject, Laura – I pay a lot of attention to how other people design their blog areas. When I land on a specific post page through the reader (or through someone’s “what I like” pics) and find the post interesting, I always go to the ABOUT page first because I want to know who the blogger is, then I go to the HOME page to see all available posts and either scroll through them if it’s a scrolling homepage, or if it’s a tiled pics homepage I click on the pics I find interesting. The third thing I check is what theme they’re using.

    On my own blogs – if the themes allow it – I place all the “nice to haves” in the footer section so they don’t distract from the posts.

  2. fabulous feedback Kiki and I like the ‘nice to haves’ label 🙂
    Can see how this applies to new blogs – and nice to know that in the virtual world a visitor takes time to get to know someone 🙂
    BUT how do you go about reading the blogs on your following list?

    1. Oops, sorry, Laura – I missed your reply & question: If I follow a blog, and a new post appears in the reader, I go to that post (even if it’s just a pic); I’m always up to date on what’s going on with the blogs I follow, so I don’t need to search their website for content. I guess that means that my eyes don’t go to the widgets that might contain new info… hmmm…. have to have a good think about that!

  3. Interesting questions, Laura. I’ve been pondering my blog layout lately and thinking about paring things down. Since WordPress added the “Related” with images at the bottom of a post (usually under the Likes), I’ve been using that when something intrigues me or I feel like exploring. The Reader has taken the place of the blogroll (which I put on its own page, but I’m thinking of deleting it for a variety of reasons). I do all of my reading and writing on a PC most of the time so scrolling is not an issue for me, but I can see how it would be on a mobile device.

    The one widget I adore the most is the search widget. Sometimes I go back to a blog, looking for a specific post, and the search widget is more helpful than archives or top posts. As for pages, I agree with others in regards to the About page. If there is one, I go there first when visiting a blog that is new to me.

    1. One other thought… I generally ignore widgets at the bottom. I’m not sure why. It’s only when someone points them out in some way that I notice them.

  4. Very timely, I am hoping to put together a new theme for myself soon, and certainly want to clear out the clutter, not least to make loading on a smartphone faster and posts themselves easier to read. BTW, I always got to the “real” site, unless it is one of the rare blogs that I skim through but don’t always comment on when I visit. Now that I am as likely to use a tablet as a large monitor on my main computer to catch up with blogs I appreciate the new trend for less cluttered, mobile-friendly themes. And +1 for a search facility that is easy to find, and on keeping the next/previous blog post links. Enjoy your break!

  5. Sorry -I started responding at the time , and then… ???
    I never use reader; I open the email notification and then usually click through from there to the blog itself. Time stops me from browsing mostly, but ‘related posts’ is my favourite – if only because the implied intelligence of wordpress in the process intrigues me…
    I hardly ever brows idly through blogs, gardening or otherwise, as I used to. Rather I only see those I am (still) subscribed to by email.

    1. chuffed that you still have time to drop by here Jack! I follow so many that my inbox might just explode with alerts but I do link from the reader to the blog site.

      p.s. Related is all relative 😉

  6. I rarely use the Reader, but open posts from the email notification. If I’m reading a new blog I like to read the About page, and then read the posts. If it’s a blog I think I want to keep reading, I will either Follow it, or add it as a Bookmark. Not everyone has Follow Me buttons (which I think are good things to have). Like you, I find the Search facility very useful – for finding stuff on my own blog too!

  7. Interesting and thought provoking post Laura. My blogging is so sporadic I’m not the best to comment, but like others here, I rely on inbox alerts rather than a reader and actually find new blogs through random topic, usually plant related, searches rather than a reader. When I find a blog I like I tend to add it to a “pages I like” section of my blog but they are not necessarily made public.
    I too read the About section of a blog but I’m seldom drawn to widgets. Now I must go and see how mine looks on my newly acquired Smatphone too, and ponder some more.

    1. was glad to see you pop into the reader again Judith and am surprised how many rely on inbox instead – I find it clogs the mail as I follow quite a large number of blogger. Am rethinking the about page for my blog(s)

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