What are Widgets and how do I use them?

In the computer world a web widget is small piece of software which can be downloaded to your computer (desktop widgets) or used within a web page by an end user (web widgets).

Web widgets

Web widgets are often used as on-screen tools such as clocks, event countdowns, daily weather, aquarium, counter of visits on website etc. Widgets contain personalized and primarily actual data. A web widget is an independent application that can be embedded into a third party website (e.g. a webpage, blog, or profile on a social media site). Sites such as MassPublisher, SnackTools and Widgetbox, allow users to easily create widgets with their own content without needing to know how to embed code or program. Web widgets are intended for embedding in webpages and have major applications in areas such as site performance, SEO and even back link campaigns.

Use widgets to get publicity

Widgets themselves do not offer anything revolutionary for marketing purposes, it’s just another communication channel and a way to get attached to any users Facebook page, MySpace profile, website or desktop. Because users decide whether they want to have the widget or not, the widget must offer something useful to them. And this is the core of the marketing: users will only like you (your services) if you offer them something interesting.

Here are the marketing functions of a widget, all enabling you to communicate with your customer better:

  • Widget offer immediate access to actual information
  • Widget must offer the simplest access to services
  • It should have a simple and exactly specified function
  • Widget is convenient – user has the important information at hand (on his/her desktop)
  • Widget can be used for advertising message

If you are offering some services yourself, try to consider if you can offer some widget functions to visitors to your website. If the widget is interesting and useful, you can gain some publicity on hundreds of websites for free.

Widgets should be used with care!

The use of widgets is getting more and more popular, as users of social media are able to add standalone applications to their websites, blogs, profiles and community pages.

Widgets are like a spice of flavor to your website – they bring interesting, useful or funny functions to make it more accessible. There are so many of them that you should consider carefully which widgets you want to embed on your website. You can easily overstuff your website with too many of them. Moreover the external scripts might pose a security risk for your website and can also often cause apparent slowdown (lag) in the opening of your website, which can discourage your visitors. If the widgets are used sensibly they are a great asset to the way you offer interesting services to your visitors with minimal cost.

Do you want to build your own website using a website builder? Try the step-by-step guide.

And how about you? What widgets do you use on you website? What is your favorite one?