Widgets, or web widgets, are small programs that you can put on your website or blog. Widgets have many benefits to your website. They can be used to track visitors, to display advertising, syndicate your RSS feed, or just to provide a fun, interactive experience for your readers and keep them coming back. In this article, you’ll discover a few different types of widgets and how you can use them to enhance your website.
Ever seen Google ads on a webpage? Then you’ve seen a widget in action. A widget is just a small piece of code that you place in your website or blog. Other common widgets that you have likely seen online are bookmarking buttons, like ‘Digg It’, under blog posts, Feedburner RSS subscription buttons, and YouTube players. You can find a widget for almost anything, from news tickers to Google Maps to audio playlists.
The best thing about widgets is that they are very easy to install and use. You don’t have to know programming or fiddle around with code to put them on your website or blog. Once you find a widget you want to use, installing it is as simple as copying and pasting the code into your website, wherever you want the widget to appear.
A quick search for widgets will turn up thousands of results. So which widgets are best to use on your website? That all depends on what your goals are.
If you want an easy way for your blog posts to get syndicated and shared around the internet, social bookmarking widgets are a must. You can find a widget for almost every bookmarking site out there, so an easier and cleaner way to reach them all is to use a widget that submits to several sites at once. Other widgets that make sharing easy are Facebook, Twitter and other web 2.0 platforms. With one click, your readers can share your content with their network. And RSS widgets make it easy for you to get people to subscribe to your feed, with one click access to your updated content in a reader, or via email.
If you want to earn some money, then advertising widgets have major benefits to your website. You can display Google ads, or create graphic ad banners for products that you are selling.
If you want to keep visitors coming back, a widget that displays dynamic content such as weather forecasts or TV listings can add interest. Flash games, quotes, polls…the sky is the limit on what kinds of entertaining content you can add to your site with a widget.
While widgets have benefits to your website, there is such a thing as too many. Know what you want to accomplish with your site, and choose widgets that help you achieve those goals.