One reason I continue to keep this personal blog of mine in Blogger is because of the ease of placing widgets in the sidebar. I don't think they're terribly effective, but they're kind of neat.
Of course, you have to come to the site in order to actually see them. One concern I have with advertising on blogs is that the most loyal readers who read feeds throughout the day don't ever have the opportunity to see the ads. Ads in RSS feeds seem to be kind of discouraged, or at least, filtered out. I subscribe to about 200 feeds, and none appear to have ads.
So, no one sees the widgets on the side of the screen, and I don't know if they're effective. But they sure seem neat to me at times.
First, the top box is just a simple thing that reads the feed of the Charlottesville Podcasting Network. Nothing fancy, and it only seems to post the top item. I'm still looking for a good player to use, and would love to figure out a way to place this kind of a player on other people's sites. So far, there's resistance to this.
Next, the Google ads. Ubiquitous. Too easy to install. I'd prefer to sell local ads here somehow, cheap, like, dirt cheap, even free, to advertise things I'm interested in. I'd place others widgets here, for instance.
Below that, I've got the e-mail subscription through Feedburner. I've now got five subscribers (including me, admittedly) through that service, which sends out a daily e-mail digest of everything posted in that 24 hour period. I was using Feedblitz for this, but consolidated with Feedburner. CPN now has about 150 unique subscribers.
I'd encourage anyone who is interested in the site to sign up for this e-mail service. We really do post a lot of content each week. I've just put up five episodes of WINA's Charlottesville--Right Now on topics ranging from U.Va energy conservation to what the body experiences in a 24-hour period. Not to mention the usual government and politics stuff. It's hard to keep up with all of it, and e-mail is a good way to stay in touch with all that we're offering.
Below that, the headlines from the Charlottesville Tomorrow weblog. It's my day job, of course, and I write a lot of these articles. Below that, headlines from Charlottesville Tomorrow's news blog, which aggregates local media stories on the issues we're interested in - land use, transportation, community design.
And so on, and so on, with more headlines from other blogs, including cvilleblogs.com and my friend Jeffry Cudlin's DC art blog. And then links, etc. At one point, I had videos in there, but it got too cluttered.