Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What The....Are Plugboards?

It seems like everyone in the online crafting crafting community is getting a plugboard for their website or blog.

A what?

A Plugboard!

What's that?

Well, basically they are FREE remotely hosted boards that you can create using customized HTML code that allow users to add their advertising banner themselves onto the plugboard on your website or blog. Their banners remain on your plugboard until they are bumped off, in which case, they can return and plug their banner again. This creates traffic for your website as the users keep coming back to your website to see if their banner is still there.

Using plugboards is very, very easy. Users just need to enter two pieces of information into the two clickable boxes on the bottom of your plugboard. They enter their button or banner URL and website or blog URL and then click "PLUG". Their banner is then added to your plugboard.

Where can you get a plugboard? At

They are easy to use and can host 4 different size banners: 88x31, 88x15, 50x50, and 468x60. Most plugboards house 88x31 size banners. Each plugboard can hold 60 buttons. However, this can be adjusted so your plugboard can hold more or less buttons. You can change the "Buttons per row" and/or "Number of rows" of buttons in your settings. 10 buttons are archived at any point in time so if you need to delete a button then you won't have a blank hole in your plugboard.

Each plugboard can be easily customized and controlled through a simple easy to use control panel that you can access on the plugboard website. You can edit and control who uses your plugboard by deleting buttons you don't want, ban users IP's you don't like, and ban domains. There is also a "Flood control" feature that holds the specified seconds between plugging times to help prevent spammers. You can also set you account up so that you are email notified when someone plugs on your board. You can even decide what background color you'd like to use for your plugboard or make it transparent.

After you establish an account and sign-in you will be brought to your "Posts" page where you will see all the banners on your plugboard. If this is a brand new plugboard they will all be blue in color with the text "Plug Your Site Here." You will also notice that there is a horizontal menu just above plug administration at the top of the page. The menu has the following options: Posts, Settings, Restrictions, HTML Code, Account, and Logout.

Each of these pages allows you to do different things to control your plugboard, which are as follows:

Posts - Here you can delete a banner, ban an IP address, ban a domain, and edit the IP of the button. The latter is useful if someone accidentally enters a URL or a website or banner with a typo and would like you to correct it.

Settings - On this page you can change your plugboards settings. You can change the background colour, disable posting, enter the number of seconds you want for flood control to prevent spammers, change the button size, change the number of buttons per row, change the number of rows, and edit your email notify.

Say for example you want to change your plugboard which uses 88x31 size banners from having 60 buttons set-up as 10 buttons per row and 6 rows to fit the sidebar of your blog. You would change the number of buttons per row to 2 and the number of rows to 30. If you want a really large plugboard on your website you might change the number of buttons per row to 8 and the number of rows to, say, 15 so your plugboard now holds 120 banners.

If you want to change the background field then just type the hex code without the # into the box or leave it blank for transparent.

If you don't want other people to post on your plugboard then click in the disable posting box and it will add a check mark there which will prevent users from posting their banner to your plugboard.

Flood control helps with spammers and contains the number of seconds you want to allow between plugs. Leave the flood control field blank to disable it.

If you want to be notified when someone adds their banner to your plugboard then check the E-mail box.

If you change anything in your settings then you need to click "Update" so your settings are changed.

Restrictions - On this page you are able to remove the ban on multiple IPs or URLs that you may have previously banned. Each row shows either an IP being blocked or a URL being blocked. To add an IP, enter the IP under "IP" and click Update. You do not have to enter a URL to ban an IP or vice versa.

HTML Code - This page contains the customized HTML or Alternate Javascript code you need to add to your website or blog based upon the settings you chose. All you need to do is to copy and paste the HTML code from the first box to wherever you would like your plugboard to be displayed. If you know HTML you can edit the code on your website. For example, the default for the plugboards is "center" alignment. You might want to change the code so the alignment is "left" or right" to better suit your website or blog.

I have found that the HTML code is the best code to use for most websites and blogs. There is an Alternative Javascript code in the second box. I have used this as well. However, I have found that when there is a problem with the website that the Javascript code tends to freeze the plugboard and not allow the rest of a blog to be displayed. If there is a problem on the website the HTML code will leave the plugboard blank or show an error message.

Account - This page has your plugboard account information on it and it can be edited. Leave the password field blank if you do not want to change it.

Logout - For signing off your plugboard account.

You might be wondering if there are any rules for plugging. Who may or may not plug on your plugboards is entirely up to you. You determine the criteria for plugging and then remove those plugs that don't meet your criteria. Just make sure that your rules are clearly posted near your plugboard. For example, your rules might be as follows:

RULES: Please feel free to plug your website or blog if you are in craft related industry. We are a family-friendly website. Any non family-friendly plugs will be removed. Please only plug once and then wait for your banner to be removed before plugging again. Enjoy the plug.

Plugboards are a lot of fun and I should know. I have 8 of them. So, come on! Start plugging!!!!! You don't want to miss out on all the fun - do you!

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns, and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

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