|They're worthwhile, but I don't use them.||this blog|
Sidebar real estate is precious, and the standard gadgets are too big for my taste (and there are other issues). I use a smaller button and link that I cobbled together myself.
Here's how to do that, if you like.
Besides size, there are semantic problems with the standard gadgets.
Why does the button on the gadgets invite readers to "join this site" rather than "follow this blog?" What's all this about "signing in" and being a "member"?
Following today is limited to people with Blogger dashboards (though you can follow anything that has a feed). It is all that remains of one of Google's first attempts at social, Google Friend Connect.
In that framework, the idea of membership had some currency. You were joining, sharing, connecting, etc.
That historical note makes the whole thing a little clearer, but not to your readers.
- a link to the log-in screen for Google Friend Connect (that's "following" to you) for my blog (that is, it has my blog's ID number in it)
- a button that says "follow" linked to the above
- the words "this blog," part of the hyperlink.
You could use a different image, or different ext, or dispense with image or text altogether. (Example: Follow this blog!) But here are the parts all together:
The only thing you need to change is the blog ID number (in red). You can copy your number from your dashboard. Be sure to get the right one.
<a href="http://www.blogger.com/follow-blog.g?blogID= 874282079821965484" target="_blank" title="Follow this blog"><img border="0" style="float:left; margin-right:4px; margin-top:-1px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_EJeg5vVW6M/TeYuaeSR1MI/AAAAAAAAEOU/cYnnBxJtw7U/s1600/google-followers-button.png" /> this blog</a>
If you forget and use my blog ID number, your readers will end up following my blog and nobody will be happy.