Introducing the New (And Improved) Indie Business Bloggers Network Widget!

Last month, I introduced the Indie Business Bloggers Network, a fun and effective way for IBN members to share their content with people around the world. The interested number of Indie bloggers grew faster than I thought it would, and it became clear that I had to improve the program by improving the performance of the widget that drives it. I am pleased with the results of my efforts and I hope you are too!

The first thing you'll notice about the new widget is that it is more attractive than the first widget. The graphic housing the feed is clean and clear, and the text inside is dynamic and easy to read. The rounded corners and muted blue and green colors make it compatible with just about any blog theme. The dimensions were chosen to fit nicely into the sidebar of any blog. And there's more!

All IBN Members Can Participate

The original widget listed participating blogs in alphabetical order, without regard to whether the blogs appearing the top contained any fresh content. I required bloggers to update their blogs at least 3 times a week in order to be included because this was the only way to ensure fresh content feeds. This eliminated hundreds of IBN members who are just getting started with a blog or who don't blog frequently.

The new widget includes new, individual blog posts from participating member blogs. This way, all IBN members can participate regardless of the frequency with which they blog.

More, Fresh Content

Since the widget only updates when a participating blogger publishes new content, the widget contains the freshest content from participating IBN member bloggers.

Unlike the original widget, the new widget feeds the titles of individual blog posts rather than the titles of participating blogs. This means that, by using the slider mechanism on the right side of the widget, a viewer can click on what they would like to read based on the title of the post displayed. This makes the widget more relevant and user-friendly.

3 Reasons IBN Members Should Add Their Blog To The Widget

I am always looking for fun, new ways to help IBN members gain access to each other and to the growing number of people worldwide who are interested in buying the handmade, artisan and Indie-made products they make. Our broadcast feed is an efficient and cost effective way for IBN members to help each other spread the word about what they do. If you are an IBN member, here are some reasons to add your RSS feed to our widget.

  1. It Drives Traffic To Your Blog. Once your blog's RSS Feed URL is added to the widget, your newest blog post is automatically broadcast and displayed as the first blog post title at the top of the widget. You just “post and go,” and your content is automatically published far and wide via the blogs of other bloggers who display the widget.

    As more people display the widget, more people are exposed to your blog, and as a result, to your business.

    The Indie Business Bloggers widget serves as a never ending traffic magnet that pushes your content to people who are likely to be interested in what you blog about as an Indie Business owner.

    Inclusion of your blog with other like-minded business owners informs your audience that you are connected to reputable Indie Businesses nationwide.

  2. It Creates Community. I believe that, “A rising tide lifts all ships,” especially where small business owners are concerned. When one thing benefits one or two members of our community, that same thing applied across the entire community benefits all members of the community.

    One of the main reasons to manage a blog is to create and maintain positive community within your blog, and then to share that community with others who might benefit. As a participating IBN blogger member, you do both!

    You also naturally discover other like-minded bloggers without having to go out and look for them! They come to you when you add your RSS feed and display the widget at your blog.

  3. Your Blog Posts Are Automatically Included. The widget uses Google Blog Search to aggregate fresh content from participating IBN member bloggers. This means that, when you update your blog with a new post, it is automatically fed via Google to our widget. The timing of display depends on Google's update schedule, and you must make sure your blog is picked up by Google Blog Search.

    When you publish a new blog post, you can be confident that the widget will pick it up and display it. All you have to do is “post and go!”

    Moreover, even if you don't blog much, your content is included because the widget only pulls your feed when you update your blog. This keeps the content fresh and takes the pressure off of IBN member bloggers who don't post often.

3 Reasons You Should Consider Displaying The Widget At Your Blog

Anyone can display the Indie Business Bloggers Network widget at their blog! Here are some of the main reasons why you'll want to have it at yours.

  1. It's Fun! When people take time to visit your blog, they want to be informed and entertained. They want to know what you have to share, and they also want to know what people you know have to share.

    Displaying the widget at your blog makes your blog more engaging. This translates into more fun for your audience. And when people have a fun experience at your blog, they are more likely to tell their friends and return to see what else you have to offer on an ongoing basis.

  2. It Adds Value Without Adding Extra Work. By delivering fresh content to your blog daily (sometimes multiple times a day!), the Indie Business Bloggers Network widget works is your silent content distribution partner, providing increased value to your readers without you having to lift a finger. Add the code one time and the Indie Business Bloggers Network widget works for you 24/7 no matter what!

  3. Keep Up With Small Business News On Twitter. The right side of the widget contains my Twitter feed. I added this feature because I Tweet and Retweet information and links that are relevant to small and independent business owners, and more particularly to members of IBN.

    My Tweets are frequently recognized for being non-commercial in nature so you never have to worry about spammy, sales-y or obnoxious stuff showing up at your site via the feed widget.

    Additionally, you never have to worry about my Tweets linking to material that is irrelevant to women's health, beauty, lifestyle and small business success issues.

    Displaying the Indie Business Blogger Network widget at your blog helps you and your audience enjoy this informative content without having to join or visit Twitter. By displaying the widget at your blog, you will deliver this kind of content to them every day without having to do anything yourself.

Get Your Blog Added!

If you are a member of IBN and your blog is not in our feed, leave a comment below that includes your RSS feed URL (not your blog URL, but the RSS feed for the blog), and we will add you.

If you're not a member of IBN, what are you waiting for? Join today to get in on the fun!

Question: What do you think of the new widget? Will you display it at your blog? Why or why not? If you're an IBN member and you'd like your RSS added, please leave a comment below with your business name and RSS URL so I can add you!!

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.