Saturday, January 3, 2009

Become a blog sleuth...find out where bloggers get their bling

Remember when I told you about My Live Signature? (It's in this blog post.)

I told you I looked into a blogger's code to find out where she got her signature from. Maybe I'm nosy or overly curious, but I like click on a lot of stuff and learn all kinds of interesting things.
And then I share it with you. :o)

(Ok, so there's a little of my dirty laundry. Still friends?)

Here's the secret to looking at the code on any blog (or website):

If you use Firefox, highlight the section you want to look at. Right click your mouse on the highlighted section, and a little menu will pop up. Click on View Selection Source. A new window will open, showing the code of your selected area.

If you use Internet Explorer
, it's little trickier. Right click anywhere on the page and a new window will open, showing all the code for the entire web page. It's a little tricky because now you have to look for the code you're interested in. If you're not fluent in web design languages, this can be a daunting task.

To make this a little easier, look again at the web page you're digging into. Find some text near the code you're interested in. For example, in the case of this blog post, if you wanted to find the code for this neat widget (and please ignore the "get Widget" thingy. Widgetbox always makes it easy to get their cool stuff):

You would just need to do a search on the words "Kitty Clock" (Hold down CTRL then hit the F key on your keyboard to bring up a search box.) You should see the code right above the words you searched for. Go ahead and try it. The code would be sandwiched between
cool stuff): and You would just
See it?

Now that you found the code, go to the website that features it. In the case of the clock, you'd go to Widgetbox. When I looked at the code for the signature, I went to Sign up (if required,) customize what you like, and add it to your blog.

Now for the ethical stuff that is equally important. If you find some interesting code that you want to use, make sure you are allowed to use it. If it was created specifically for that blog, it's theirs to use and falls under copyright laws. You can't use it. You could always go to widgetbox or other widget sites and look for something similar, or contact the blogger who has the cool widget and ask where they got it. You may have to pay for the code, but if it's that fantastic it might be worth it.

If you find some code that you are allowed to use, give credit where credit is due. Introduce the new widget to your readers in a blog post and publicly thank the blogger or give them credit for finding it first. Include a link to the blog or site where you found the widget. You don't have to disclose how you sleuthed around to find the code, but it's a nice gesture to credit them for finding it for you.

And always, if you found some cool code and added it to your blog, post a comment here with a link so we can all visit and admire your handiwork!

(And remember, all comments are do-follow, so your comment left here supports YOU.)

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