What Is a Widget on a Website and How to Use It?

July 8th, 2011

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). 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.

What is a website widget?

Website 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).

Web widgets are intended for embedding in webpages and have major applications in areas such as site performance, SEO and even back link campaigns. Widgets contain personalized and primarily actual data.

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.

What are widgets on a website used for?

Widgets on a website are often used as on-screen tools such as clocks, event countdowns, daily weather, aquarium, counter of visits on website etc.

Use widgets in web application 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. 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.

Website widgets should be used with care

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.

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