Now that I’m not on a breakneck writing pace, I’ve got time to goof off a lot more.
I noticed on Prerna and Kidgas’ blogs they had a neat little linking tool that linked to other posts within their blogs. I didn’t notice it at first, but as I continued to visit their blogs, I thought the tool was pretty cool.
The tool, as you can see at the bottom of this post, is the LinkWithin tool. It’s a plugin that works on Blogger, self-hosted WordPress, TypePad and other types of blogs. The installation is pretty straight forward and simple.
Visit the LinkWithin site and insert your email address, blog URL, number of posts you’d like linked and click “Get Widget!” For those of you with dark-background blogs, let LinkWithin know and they’ll modify the code so your links show up with light text and dark backgrounds.
Once you click the “Get Widget!” button, LinkWithin displays the appropriate code for the platform selected.
Leaving Well Enough Alone
Of course I could never leave well enough alone. After installing the code, I realized there weren’t many customization options. The links aligned to the left at the bottom of the post and that was it. It also displayed the default text of “You might also like:” prior to showing the post links.
That’s not a problem for most folks, but because of my anal retentive nature and my inability to leave well enough alone, I had to look under the hood for a moment. According to the LinkWithin FAQ sheet, you could modify the display location and the default text, but that was pretty much it. So, I modified both.
Centering the LinkWithin Display
Until I dedicate sufficient time to look for a replacement blog template, I’ll continue to limp along with this one. So, in accordance with the instructions on the LinkWithin site, I inserted the code
“<div class="linkwithin_div"></div>” where I wanted the links to display.
To center the display, I embedded it within an HTML table. I tried using
<span align=”center”> and
<p align=”center”> and any other simple HTML code that I could think of to center the display, but it didn’t work (I think my blog template prevented it from working). So, I ended up placing it in a table that was center aligned.
Modifying the Default Text
Modifying the text was a piece of cake. According to the LinkWithin site all you had to do was insert
<script>linkwithin_text='Your custom text:'</script> into the HTML template. To accomplish this, I went back to the original code and placed the revised text smack dab in the middle of it so it ended up looking like this:
<div class="linkwithin_div"><script>linkwithin_text='If you have time, check out these posts too:'</script></div>
Now that I had my code in the middle of my center-aligned table, I was relatively happy with the results (although, I believe there is too much dead white space around the plugin, but there’s nothing I can do about that).
Many moons ago, I wrote a post about learning basic HTML. With today’s WordPress, TypePad and Blogger templates, it’s not an absolute necessity to learn basic HTML, but it does come in handy.