I was recently perusing the web when I ran across an author website with a thin blue banner that said, “Connect with me on Facebook.” When I clicked it, it took me to the author’s Facebook page, which I decided to like.
I thought this was pretty cool and would be a good addition to any author’s page. The bar allows you to put the information you feel is most important for readers up top to see. What’s important could be joining your mailing list, connecting on Facebook, following on Twitter or something else entirely different. With many of these bars, once users have seen it, they can click a button to minimize the bar from view, so it’s not a distraction as they peruse the rest of your site.
So, how does one go about doing this? Well, if you’re a whiz at html, I’m sure you could code it. If you’re like me (not a whiz), then here are some alternatives. They are free and low cost solutions to adding a cool bar to your website or blog.
Hellobar.com. This allows you to put a bar across the top of your site and get 25 clicks monthly for free. If you go above 25 clicks, it costs $4.95 (or more) per month. The good news is it works on any website. The downside is you might get to 25 clicks pretty quickly (or maybe that should be considered upside). Also on the downside, the current version of Hellobar doesn’t let the user minimize the bar. I actually tried the Hellobar on my site, but when I couldn’t find a button to minimize the bar (like the on the author website I’d seen), I contacted customer service. The customer service rep told me the feature is only available on the previous version of the bar (the one that led me to look into hellobar) not the current version of the bar (the one I’d signed up for).
Viper Bar. This is a free bar that you can download for a WordPress site. The upside is it’s free and very functional. You can make the bar whatever color you want (you’ll need to Google the hex color code number) and it does exactly what it professes to do. On the downside, they don’t provide any support and it only works for WordPress. I ended up with Viper Bar for my site and like it. The default assumption with Viper Bar is that you are attempting to get people to subscribe to your mailing list or RSS feed. If you want to link to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or some other page, you have to use the alternative text form and type in the link yourself.
Mint Bar. This is a free, open source notification/subscription bar. The upside is it’s designed to work on Google (Blogger) or WordPress blogs and it’s free. The downside is you have to be willing to go in and add html or CSS code to your page. If you’re not comfortable doing that, this may not be the best solution for you.
Foobar or Attention Grabber. These both cost money and are only for WordPress blogs, however the cost is a nominal one-time fee ($14 for Foobar; $12 for Attention Grabber). Both are geared toward ease of use and allow you to add both an email subscription box and social media sharing buttons (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) to the bar across the top of your screen.
I hope this helps anyone considering using a top bar. If you use one, I’m sure everyone would love to hear your thoughts on how it’s worked out for you, so do leave a comment.
RJ Crayton is a former journalist who got tired of writing just the facts and decided to branch into fiction. When she’s not writing, you might find her momming (there’s no reason mom can’t be a verb), roller skating or feeding her cupcake addiction. Her dystopian thriller, Life First, is available online. You can find out more about her at her website or her Amazon author page.