bUmp Interactive dives head-first into the iGoogle Gadget market!
Here at bUmp we thoroughly enjoy the unique opportunity to explore and experiment with as many forms of web media distribution as our little hands can find. Lately we’ve been trying our hand at building iGoogle Gadgets with some surprising results. Overall we’ve found that building a gadget by altering one of the existing samples is fairly easy, where building from scratch seems to require a much deeper development skillset than most general users currently have. The following are a few gadgets we’ve churned out in the last couple weeks that have proven their worth for small site promotion.
Country Music News Feed
With the amount of country music based sites in our portfolio, it was only logic that my Google gadget self-education should begin by finding a way to organize, cross-promote, and distribute content from those sites first.
This was a fairly simple tabbed rss feed reader based off the “Feeds in Tabs” example that Google so kindly provides for new users. I found it fairly simple to customize colors and fine-tune the output to come up with an overall look that was both easy to read and cohesive with the visual themes of the sites being promoted. As expected, about a week after the gadget was published, I saw a notable increase in subscribers on my feedburner reports, and an overall increase in traffic for all sites displayed within the feed. As a side bonus I included the blog feed of a friend of mine who is both a seasoned musician and aspiring novelist. Visitors who have found his blog via its’ inclusion in our gadget have now begun interacting with him. This demonstrates that a combined collection of feeds in this manner can be a great way to introduce new media to an existing audience.Country Music Search Engine
Continuing on the country music approach, our next goal was to incorporate an AdSense for Search module into a distributable gadget that would both increase traffic to our sites and increase AdSense revenue.
As you most likely already know, AdSense allows you to create search boxes that allow the user to search through your pre-designated websites before returning general search results. This encourages users to visit related pages within your website and gives Google an opportunity to display PPC results at the same time. The biggest challenges here actually came in designing a custom page for search results within our own site’s directory, but this is an optional step.Overall, the results from both iGoogle gadgets have been very positive. One lesson learned however is that no matter how useful, well-made, or otherwise cool your gadget is, you still have to promote your gadget in order to see a return on your efforts. Promotion can be as simple as including a keyword rich, accurate short description in the gadget itself to sharing the gadget with subscribers, friends, and strangers worldwide. Placement in the gadget directory strongly relies on the number of users and overall ratings so don’t be afraid to ask your readers to rate your gadgets as well.