Toolbars as they are named, provides us with invaluable help with the set of tools that they come with. But most of the time, the toolbars are from any software developer or online service provider. They serve some purpose but have a little bit of self promotion involved. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could possibly create our own toolbar with tools that we prefer to use. This article will help you create your own toolbar which is compatible with Firefox & Internet Explorer.
Conduit is an online service that allows tons of website publishers to create their own toolbars. It can also be used by any individual to create their personal toolbar and improve their productivity.
First things first, you have to signup for a free account to start using the service. After that, you will land on a page with a default toolbar which looks like following:
Let’s see how you can create a customized toolbar using Conduit.
Adding a Logo To Your Toolbar
I’ll be adding the MakeTechEasier logo to our toolbar. Lets see how to do it.
1. Go to the “My Toolbar” section and click the “Your Logo” link placed just under the Basic Components section. It will take you to a setup page from where you can add the logo.
2. You can add text to the logo or select from many predefined text styles. You can also upload a picture from your hard-drive.
3. When you are done with the logo, scroll down and add a link to the logo. This will open a URL of your choice when you click the logo. Add the alternate text for the logo so that when you hover over the logo, you will see a small hint. As this toolbar is for MTE readers, I will be choosing the destination URL as the blog’s home URL.
4. Press “Save” at the bottom to save all the changes that you have just made.
NOTE : Under the Basic components section, there are many more links that can be added to a toolbar. As they are not that useful to common users, I’m ignoring them.
Adding a Feed Reader to your toolbar
Go to the “My Toolbar” section and click the RSS reader under the “Popular Components” section. It will take you to a setup page to add RSS sources to your toolbar.
On step 1, select any RSS icon of your choice. Then skip the 2nd step and press the “Add an RSS Feed” button in step 3.
You will see a page to add RSS feeds. Define the feed URL and press save. You can add multiple feeds, one at a time.
Press “Save” to add the RSS widget to the toolbar.
Adding a News Ticker to your Toolbar
Most people are really addicted to news alerts, which they read from different blogs or websites. This toolbar can be optimized to give you news alerts on any number of topics that you select.
1. Go to the “My Toolbar” section and click the “News Ticker” under the “Basic components” section. It will take you to a setup page where you can add the news sources to your toolbar.
2. In the setup page, you can select from some predefined news sources which are available under step 1.
3. And if you like to import your own sources manually, you need to add the RSS URLs from that blog /website. Similarly, you can also update multiple feeds one at a time.
4. You can also define the length and breadth or other behaviors of the ticker using the sliders in step 3. After you have finished defining the element, press “Save” to complete the setup.
Add Email Notifier to Your Toolbar
This feature can be found under the “Popular section” and can be added very easily. Go to the page and save the settings. You can add the email addresses after you install the toolbar on your browser.
Adding a Chat Room And Twitter Widget
If you want a dedicated chatroom for your friends, Conduit toolbar offers you one. Conduit also lets you add a simple Twitter reader so that you can read Twitter updates directly from the toolbar. All you have to do is add the Twitter profiles you wish to follow.
Under “Social And Messages” section you can find these two most used utilities.
The search field in the toolbar is set to Google by default, you can define it by configuring the search widget. Among other tools that are mostly used, radio player, TV and games can also be installed in the toolbar.
Toolbar Components For Web Masters
The toolbar has endless possibilities and it is really useful for oneself to promote his/her blog or website. For experienced developers, you can even add XML links, custom defined HTML components and Java scripts with the Conduits API. The best part is that you get paid for every installation. Isn’t that like hitting two birds with one stone ?
Make Tech Easier Toolbar
I have prepared one such toolbar for all MTE readers, which can be downloaded from MTE Toolbar Page.
In conclusion, regardless whether you are a blog owner or just a casual web surfer, Conduit toolbar is an useful tool that can be used by anyone to improve their productivity.