Update: The Google Sidewiki project has been discontinued.
As you may have heard, Google has recently introduced Google Sidewiki, as an add-on to the Google Toolbar. Google’s Sidewiki is an option that allows anyone to make comments on any website, and those comments can be seen by anyone who has the Google Toolbar with Sidewiki installed (and running) in their web browser. It is important to know that as a website owner you can claim your Google Sidewiki space: and it will always appear on top of the comments. Here is how to claim your website’s Google Sidewiki.
Why Claim Your Google Sidewiki
I think it is very important to claim your website’s Google Sidewiki as the website owner because the comments you make are going to be displayed at the top of the list of comments. You can use this space to advertise your website, talk to your users, and generally tell them about what they will find on your website: and by doing this you can point out useful features or just give them a kind “hello” and a “thanks for visiting” type of comment. Certainly you can also use this as a way to point them to your blog’s RSS feed (to get more subscribers) or even remind them to “follow you on Twitter” if that’s what you would like them to do. There will be visitors who do not have the Google Toolbar and Google Sidewiki installed, and it will really vary depending on the type of website you have. But, in any case, you should claim your space and make sure that you take advantage of this opportunity.
How to Claim Your Website’s Google Sidewiki
There are several steps to staking your claim, but it really is not very difficult. And to make it easier on you, I have already written a few examples of the text that you might want to put in there. Here is what you need to do:
NOTE: Before you even start this make sure that you’re the site owner. With Google, make sure that you have verified your site with Google Webmaster Tools.
1. Install the latest Google Toolbar with Google Sidewiki.
2. Once installed, you will need to restart your web browser. I use Firefox, so you will probably get a message telling you that you need to restart Firefox.
3. Visit your website, the website home page where you want to claim your Google Sidewiki.
4. Make sure that Google Sidewiki is turned on in the Google Toolbar. You may need to log in to your Google account and adjust your Google Toobar settings so that it’s turned on. While you browse the web, you will see the Google Wiki sidebar on the left side of your web browser, it will look like this:
5. Open up the Google Sidewiki. If you aren’t signed into your Google Account, you need to sign into your Google account first.
6. Once signed in, you will see the name of your site, as well as an area to “Edit your name” – Change the name of your website if necessary, you might want to include your company name and a few keywords if you feel so inclined to do so.
7. Add a title of the Entry, perhaps “Welcome to Vizion Interative“.
8. Add your entry. I’ve added samples below:
Thanks for visiting Vizion Interactive. If you’re reading this, then you have the Google Sidewiki turned on in your Google Toolbar.Vizion Interactive, Inc. is a search engine optimization, search engine marketing, website design, Interactive marketing, and social media marketing agency dedicated to empowering clients to make informed decisions that deliver measurable results. Vizion Interactive’s headquarters are in Dallas, Texas with regional offices in Overland Park, Kansas and Clearwater Beach, Florida.
We also have a blog on our site, where we write about the latest innovations and issues related to Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and marketing your business online. If you’re interested in any of those topics, you might want to subscribe to our RSS Feed, which is at http://www.vizioninteractive.com/feed/ Of course, if you ever have any questions about any of these issues, feel free to contact us.
Here is another possible entry, which might be helpful if your website is a blog and you want to get more subscribers to your blog:
Thanks for visiting my site. If you’re reading this, then most likely you have the Google Sidewiki turned on.
My blog here is where I write about search engine, online marketing, and other interesting online issues. If you’re interested in any of these issues, you might want to subscribe to my RSS Feed, which is at http://www.vizioninterative.com/feed/
Thanks for visiting our website. Feel free to browse around to see our products. If you have any questions, feel free to use the contact form or call us at 1-888-484-9466.
8. Finalize. Once you’ve entered the text you want and the title of the entry, click the “Write as Owner” checkbox, and hit the “Publish” button.
You are now done claiming your Google Sidewiki as the site owner. That’s it! It’s pretty simple, keep in mind that as long as you’re logged in you can go back and edit it or delete it later on.
I have also added a short video that shows you how to claim your website’s Google Sidewiki: