There are lots of downloadable applications and websites out there which offers free creation of your customized browser toolbar such as Conduit.com (previously called EffectiveBrand.com), BestToolBars.net, InstantBar.com, etc. I’ve tried most of them and but it’s sad to see majority of them have problems like only compatible for Internet Explorer, broken tools, hidden spywares, etc. So far I’ve been using
EffectiveBrand Conduit which easily creates my toolbar that is compatible with IE and Firefox from within their website.
All you need to do is to register yourself an account, select which tools you want on your toolbar, you will have it installed and running on your browser within 5 minutes. The tools offered ranges from various famous search engines, RSS news ticker, quick URL links to your favourite sites, email checker, RSS reader, online radio player with your choice of stations, web chatting interface, weather forecast for your location, pop-up blocker, and many more. They even have a customizing area for webmasters to write their own tools.
Besides just creating your own toolbar, they have also have free banners for you to advertise your own toolbar!
Their support forum is very helpful and lots of people have published their own codes for additional features such as Page Rank detection from Google, Traffic Rank from Alexa, and many more. Once you’ve done creating your toolbar, you’ll be given a free permanent link to download your toolbar from – you can even place that link on your website to market your toolbar to other web surfers encouraging them to download and install your toolbar.
So if you’re a webmaster and want to improve your blog/forum/website/portal, a custom toolbar would certainly help to bring back your loyal readers and improve your virtual community.