Ready To Review The Wibiya Toolbar – Did You Play With It?

Ready To Review The Wibiya Toolbar – Did You Play With It?

You will find a fairly extensive overview of the features and benefits related to using this toolbar as well as a few disadvantages that I have observed over the last couple of weeks. I have also included a brief set of instructions for installing and setting up the toolbar. And finally, tomorrow I will post a poll asking just how many of you would install the toolbar on your site.

Here are the features and benefits that I like about the toolbar:

I found the toolbar to be very versatile and highly configurable by the user. It stays pinned at the bottom of the page where it is mostly out of the way and can optionally be closed by your readers. Users can instantly access applications that encourage users to stay longer, gives them various ways to promote your blog, provide you feedback as well as options to connect to and interact with you and your other visitors.

One feature I really liked was the ability to detach some of the toolbar applications. This allows you to use apps such as twitter dashboard and the chat option, in a separate browser window. Your users can navigate to another site and still chat with you or other users on your blog, or keep tweeting while on other sites as well. I have to give Wibiya high points for incorporating that level of interactivity.

In a addition, the homepage and dashboard interfaces are very attractive and easy to navigate. From the Wibiya dashboard, you can access the usage statistics for your toolbar, edit the toolbar’s appearance, add/remove apps that work best for your individual blog, re-order apps on the bar using drag/drop functions, reinstall the toolbar if needed and gain access to Wibiya’s user driven support section.

I personally think that the Wibiya toolbar has some great potential. Simply put, the Wibiya toolbar allows you to free up space in your sidebars by transferring various widgets and functions to the toolbar instead, providing your users with a centralized area to interact and connect with you and your blog.

More Info On The Applications

The applications are grouped into six broad categories, according to how they enhance your blog. These are apps that:

  • Increase Page Views
  • Encourage Visitors to spend more time on your site.
  • Share your content.
  • Engage with social networking tools.
  • Provide avenues of communication with you and other users.
  • Enrich your blog’s content.

Here are the apps currently available (20 in altogether – click image to see them all):

On the flip side, here are some things I think Wibiya may need to work on or adjust:

First concern, the toolbar is very quick to load (a recent and much needed improvement). But to really ensure that it does not slow down your content load, you can choose the option to have it load last on your page. This is an awesome option, the problem lies with finding and implementing this choice. It is currently available on the the dashboard under troubleshooting. But why would you go there unless you were having problems with the toolbar? This is one option that Wibiya should make more obvious and easier to find. Personally, my blog content is the most important thing on the page and with that in mind, it only makes sense for the toolbar to load last.

Second concern, people may not bother with the toolbar, especially since it is so new and they may not know exactly what to do with it. You can overcome this obstacle by placing a few badges in your sidebar that encourage users to interact with the toolbar. Wibiya currently has 3 badges available that link to functions provided in the toolbar and they are promising more to come. I really hope they add a badge/link for activating the Share option so I can add it at the end of my posts.

To further encourage users, you could place a small blurb in your blog sidebar about the toolbar and encourage your users to make use of it. You can also encourage users by placing a similar enticement in the notification box available on the toolbar itself. People can be a little myopic and are creatures of habit. They may need a little encouragement to start using the toolbar.

My third concern, you can only install the toolbar on one blog per account. This is slated to change, where you will be able to control multiple toolbars from one account. For now you need a separate email address and then register for a separate account to have the toolbar on more than one blog or site.

And my last concern, the option to close the toolbar should be a little more obvious. Instead of the little down arrows, a “Close X” button would be more intuitive. The existing button does not even have a pop-up when moused over that indicates it’s function to the user. Everything else on the bar has a pop-up tool tip and the close button should as well.

Well that’s it. If you decide you want to give the toolbar a whirl, just go to the Wibiya Toolbar home page and follow their simple instructions. Here’s a walk-thru for the sign-up steps:

1. – Start the process. After hitting the big green button the one that says “Get It Now!” you will be taken to a page where you can sign up for your Wibiya account. All the typical stuff: name, email address, pick a password, enter you site (blog) name, your blog’s web address (Url). Then you get to choose your preferred language from the list of 37 possible choices. Enter the Captcha info and click next to proceed to the theme selection area.

2. – Select a Theme. They have a very nice selection of colors for you to choose from, 26 in all. Here is an image of what is available (click the image to see all the themes):

You also get to change the website icon used on the toolbar. You may choose your site’s existing icon, use the Wibiya default icon or upload a icon of your choice.

3.- Choose Your Apps. Here you are presented with 11 different application choices to get you started. After you have finished the intial registration and install, you will have access to 9 more, that’s 20 apps in all. (See above for all the available apps.)

First concern, the toolbar is very quick to load (a recent and much needed improvement). But to really ensure that it does not slow down your content load, you can choose the option to have it load last on your page. This is an awesome option, the problem lies with finding and implementing this choice. It is currently available on the the dashboard under troubleshooting. But why would you go there unless you were having problems with the toolbar? This is one option that Wibiya should make more obvious and easier to find. Personally, my blog content is the most important thing on the page and with that in mind, it only makes sense for the toolbar to load last.

Second concern, people may not bother with the toolbar, especially since it is so new and they may not know exactly what to do with it. You can overcome this obstacle by placing a few badges in your sidebar that encourage users to interact with the toolbar. Wibiya currently has 3 badges available that link to functions provided in the toolbar and they are promising more to come. I really hope they add a badge/link for activating the Share option so I can add it at the end of my posts.

To further encourage users, you could place a small blurb in your blog sidebar about the toolbar and encourage your users to make use of it. You can also encourage users by placing a similar enticement in the notification box available on the toolbar itself. People can be a little myopic and are creatures of habit. They may need a little encouragement to start using the toolbar.

My third concern, you can only install the toolbar on one blog per account. This is slated to change, where you will be able to control multiple toolbars from one account. For now you need a separate email address and then register for a separate account to have the toolbar on more than one blog or site.

And my last concern, the option to close the toolbar should be a little more obvious. Instead of the little down arrows, a “Close X” button would be more intuitive. The existing button does not even have a pop-up when moused over that indicates it’s function to the user. Everything else on the bar has a pop-up tool tip and the close button should as well.

Well that’s it. If you decide you want to give the toolbar a whirl, just go to the Wibiya Toolbar home page and follow their simple instructions. Here’s a walk-thru for the sign-up steps:

1. – Start the process. After hitting the big green button the one that says “Get It Now!” you will be taken to a page where you can sign up for your Wibiya account. All the typical stuff: name, email address, pick a password, enter you site (blog) name, your blog’s web address (Url). Then you get to choose your preferred language from the list of 37 possible choices. Enter the Captcha info and click next to proceed to the theme selection area.

2. – Select a Theme. They have a very nice selection of colors for you to choose from, 26 in all. Here is an image of what is available (click the image to see all the themes):

You also get to change the website icon used on the toolbar. You may choose your site’s existing icon, use the Wibiya default icon or upload a icon of your choice.

3.- Choose Your Apps. Here you are presented with 11 different application choices to get you started. After you have finished the intial registration and install, you will have access to 9 more, that’s 20 apps in all. (See above for all the available apps.)

4. – Your final step is to add the toolbar to your blog or site. The toolbar has custom installs for the following platforms:

  • WordPress
  • Blogger
  • Typepad
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Ning
  • vBulletin

Other blogging platforms will find a javascript install that they can implement on their site. Just follow the instructions to add it to your template.

I hope you found this review helpful. I appreciate everyone who commented and emailed their views. The response was overwhelmingly positive and I tend to concur. I believe that the toolbar can be very useful if you take the time to fine tune it to suit the needs of your blog audience. Of course it isn’t for everyone and as with any tool or widget, you should give it careful consideration before installing it. If you do use it give it some time and use the provided statistics to fine tune the applications you provide to your unique blog readers.

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