I rarely install toolbars on my browser. For the most part, I find them annoying. They generally are unwelcome additions when installing another program, including links which I never visit. Too many toolbars tend to slow down my browser and make it more difficult for me to surf the internet.
So, why am I writing about tool bars then, especially about how to create your own for free? In spite of the drawbacks of toolbars, internet companies are still promoting them for one main reason – they are a proven marketing method and are a great way to virally promote websites and products across the web.
Advantages of Toolbars for Artists
For artists, they can make an artist website seem more official and professional. Having a well designed tool bar to give away to fans will ensure they will have easy access to your updates. People who install the toolbar can easily visit your website, recent posts, social networking profiles, and even search your artist website directly from the toolbar.
Before you create your Alexa toolbar, decide it’s purpose.
- Promoting your art and website. Include all your own links, social networking profiles, and RSS feed.
- Community Toolbar. Promote several related art links or artist websites, and enlist the help of everyone whose link is included to circulate the toolbar.
Preparing to Create a Downloadable Toolbar
- Visit Alexa and click the Create an Account link at the top.
- There are two options for registering: Register by inputting your email address and nickname or via your Facebook profile.
- Visit your email account and click the confirmation link in the email you receive. Then, create a password for your new Alexa account.
- You will be presented with your new Alexa dashboard.
- In the Alexa Toolbar Creator section, click Create a Toolbar.
- First create a name for your toolbar. This will appear at the top of your toolbar download page.
How to Make an Alexa Toolbar
What you place on your own toolbar is completely up to you, so I will go through each section and briefly explain what it is about.
- Website Logo
Click the “Your logo here” symbol, then Edit, to add a logo of your own right at the beginning of your toolbar. Enter your information as displayed in the image below.
Button Action – Enter the URL for your artist website or art blog.
Appearance – Select Icon Only and Custom Icon for your button icon.
Choose File – Find your logo file on your computer and upload. Pay attention to the image size and file type restrictions. The image file will be automatically resized to fit the toolbar.
Hover Description – This appears when you hover your mouse cursor over your logo. A simple call to action, such as Visit my Website will be sufficient here.
Click OK when finished and wait for your toolbar to update. If you do not like the appearance, you can go back and adjust your settings.
- Link Button
This works in the exact same way as the aforementioned Logo button. Include additional links using this button, such as an art blog, Etsy store, newsletter subscribe page, etc. Even consider including popular links to other websites other than your own.
- Site Search Field
Use this to create a custom search engine for your website. Use either Google, Yahoo, Bing or Baidu for your custom site search engine and input your website URL in the box.
If you already have a site search, use the second option, and append ?q= to the end of your search page URL, then enter it into the box. As for appearance, you have the option of staying with the default or using a custom icon or favicon. For the Prompt text, enter something like Search this Website.
- RSS Button
For blogs and websites with RSS feeds, you can enter your feed URL here to display a recent post, which will be updated when new posts are published.
Find your feed link by visiting your blog, right-clicking on your RSS icon, and choosing copy. Then, paste this URL into the box.
- Facebook button
Input your Facebook page URL here and select a default or custom icon.
- Twitter button
If you use Twitter, input your full Twitter profile link, and fill in the other options as desired.
- Show Tweets
Display your most recent Tweets directly on your tool bar.
When you are completely satisfied with your Toolbar, click Next at the bottom.
- Social networking links
Include the Twitter and Facebook buttons, so that users can view their own updates right from the Tool bar.
- Gmail button
You will receive a notification for received emails, which can be easily replied to.
- Amazon Wishlist
Users can easily add items from any site to their Amazon Wishlist.
- Click Next, then Next again to go to the Toolbar install page. All a logo and a brief description of your toolbar, then click I’m Ready, Publish Now.
Promoting your Alexa Toolbar
- Download banner for your website
Go to your dashboard, and click the link for your toolbar. At the bottom of the next page appears several banners which can be included on your website or art blog. Select a color that matches your website, and choose an appropriate banner. Copy the HTML code below and input it into your HTML source code or HTML widget.
- Share the link to your download page.
Promote your toolbar download page directly via Facebook, Twitter and wherever you network online.
Go here to download the new APM toolbar. Sorry Google Chrome users – the toolbar is only compatible with Internet Explorer and Firefox.
I have plans for this toolbar to make it more community oriented. It will include links to popular art promotion blogs and hopefully even artist websites in drop down lists. Recommendations are welcome! Updates to the toolbar are automatically updated in the toolbars of those who already have it installed – so you need not worry about downloading it again for these updates.
How to get your artist website or artblog on our toolbar.
To have your artist website included in a dropdown list on our free Alexa Toolbar, simply install the toolbar on your own browser, and link to the download page mentioned above on your own website (send us the URL to this page as verification). Please also send us the website link you would like to have included, and your name.