The A-Z navigation buttons are back in 2012. A little late to the party, but with extra goodness: Snazzy colours, a “Loading buttons…” animation, and a counter so you know how many sites you’ve visited.
It’s difficult to navigate a list of nearly 2000 sites. So I created a widget with two simple buttons letting you easily navigate the long list of sites.
The “Next” button let’s you move along sequentially, starting at site 1, then 2, 3, etc. The “Surprise Me!” button (aka “Scotty”) will beam you to a random blog. I encourage using the “Surprise Me!” button because it is much fairer to all participants. Every site gets an equal chance at being visited!
Benefits of using the buttons
- Quickly navigate the challenge without scrolling up and down a long page
- It’s less daunting than looking at almost 2000 links and wondering how you could visit them all
- The “Surprise Me!” button creates a level playing field for all blogs because sites are picked at random
- A counter tells you how many sites you have already visited
- The buttons should work until the end of the year so you can continue discovering new sites after the challenge has ended (if the linky list format changes and the buttons break email me about it
- Easy to add to the widget. It’s just copy and paste
- Non-Blogger users, e.g. on WordPress.COM, can use this dedicated page which also has the buttons
Blogger users can add the widget to their site following the instructions below.
You cannot install the buttons because they do not allow custom widgets on wordpress.COM. Instead, use this dedicated page as your A-Z button page. You cannot install the buttons on WordPress.COM. That page is an alternative. See my sidebar for a button image you can use. Add a normal image widget to your WP sidebar and set the URL link to: http://a-z.marcusclearspring.com. That’s the best I can offer for us WP .com users.
Please give me feedback in the comments. Email me with any problems, but please be specific. Saying “It doesn’t work”, won’t give me much of an idea what you did, or what may be wrong. If you have problems, start over and try to watch out for where things go awry. Then explain your steps, and I will try to help. Supply a link to your page. I’ll try to get back to you ASAP.
Copy and paste the code below where you would like the buttons to appear on your blog, e.g. in the sidebar above your A-Z badge. See the image in the top left corner of this post. If you need any help, use the contact form.
Step-by-step instructions for Blogger with screenshots
- For Blogger users who have enabled Dynamic Views. It appears Blogger’s Dynamic Views do not show custom widgets. To ensure the buttons will be visible, choose a theme which is NOT in the new “Dynamic Views” group.
Copy and paste the following code into Blogger’s widget box. Hover your mouse over the code to see a handy “Copy” icon on the right hand side. It looks like two pages on top of each other (second from the left). Alternatively, select the code with your mouse, then right-click and choose “Copy”:
You should now see your shiny new buttons. They are valid all year, so even after the challenge has ended you can continue discovering new sites.
If the buttons remain inactive or grey, try this: paste, and paste again. Simply add the buttons as a new widget again. Even if it takes pasting three or four sets. Then delete the ones which didn’t work. This has worked for most people. If that fails, don’t despair, use the dedicated A-Z navigation page.
Please add your blog address in the comments so I know how many people are interested in using the buttons. Even of you use the standalone page.
That’s it. Happy bloghopping!
Notes and further info
Place the code in your theme template. It’s worth reading the tech instructions at http://digwp.com/2009/06/including-jquery-in-wordpress-the-right-way on how to include jQuery, which the buttons use.
Sorry, I can’t help with WP .ORG integration. If anyone has a working recipe, please let me know and I will include the instructions here.