Larry BraunerAre you using website widgets effectively?

I listed 10 Types of Widgets for Your Blog or Website. Now, I discuss strategies for employing widgets on your site.

While using website widgets is not rocket science, here are some important concepts worth keeping in mind:

  1. Widgets Are Content - Recently, a Twitter connection told me he liked my content and use of widgets. I thanked him, but the truth is that website widgets are content, as is each other aspect of your web site’s design. When you select widgets for your site, realize that they are just as much a part of your site as the copy you write. When you select a widget, customize it to the extent possible to appear as you wish, including both its size and color scheme.
  2. Widget Privacy Issues - In Website Widgets and Ads Raise Security and Privacy Issues (recommended reading), I discussed security and privacy issues and concluded that, “You are responsible as a blogger or web site owner to protect the privacy of your visitors as best you can. Use web widgets from reputable sources and banner ads, too.”
  3. Space Considerations - One way you pay for the use of a widget is by giving it valuable space on your website. There are only a modest number of widgets you can reasonably host on your website without it becoming cluttered. Choose carefully and don’t clutter your web site with widgets (or anything else).
  4. Website Widget Placement - As I stated in 10 More Easy Ways to Improve Your Website, “If visitors need to scroll down to view vital content, you’ll most likely lose them. Similarly, if you have an important widget, such as a Facebook fan page widget, place it where it will be visible without scrolling down.” Place key widgets near the top of each page and prioritize the rest.
  5. Most Useful Website Widgets - Community building, subscription, tracking, and social networking widgets (see 10 Types of Widgets for Your Blog or Website mentioned above), can add important functionality to almost any website.
  6. Monitor Your Widgets - Periodically, monitor and reevaluate your website widgets. Don’t set them and forget them or fall in love with them. Your needs and priorities can change, and widgets can also stop working or become obsolete.
  7. Your Website Layout- If you plan on using many website widgets, I suggest picking a theme with two sidebars, rather than one, to better accommodate all your widgets.

When you surf the ‘Net and find sites you like, look to see which widgets they use and how they use them. That’s a good way to come up with new ideas.

Here we are, coming to an end of our time together. Don’t go yet. Please subscribe first and leave a comment. :-)

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15 Responses to “7 Tips for Utilizing Blog and Website Widgets”

  1. Cheryl H on February 22nd, 2010 12:09 pm

    Good tips as always Larry! Now that our company blog is finally up and running I can start putting your advice to work. Thanks again for providing great information for all of us in the social media arena!

  2. Larry Brauner on February 23rd, 2010 12:35 am

    Thank you Cheryl. This is it for my website widget series, at least for a while.

  3. Anamika on February 23rd, 2010 7:01 am

    There is so much to learn from you. I am happy that I came across your site. I am following you now both on Google and Facebook.

  4. Larry Brauner on February 23rd, 2010 11:38 am

    Thank YOU Anamika.

  5. RE - Entrepod on February 23rd, 2010 11:22 pm

    Larry you raise some very interesting points. I’m in the redesign phases on four blog templates and the widgets make it so easy to add the links and connections to other info.

    What is the best scheme for deciding what stays and what goes when dealing with multiple social networks? Do you put the most subscribed, or the most used?

    I have MyBlogLog, BlogCatalog and BlogNetwork - all. as well as various blogging social networking widgets.

    How do you put priorities on which widgets go and which get space?

    Thanks.

  6. Larry Brauner on February 23rd, 2010 11:50 pm

    I have objectives, and I weigh their importance, each vs. the others.

    Right now, building my Facebook fan page and maximizing Entrecard are very high in priority.

  7. ricky on March 10th, 2010 8:27 am

    I’m new in this field and I feel this article is so useful.There is so much to learn. Thanks Larry.

  8. Google Friend Connect on July 9th, 2010 2:53 pm

    […] Friend Connect or GFC is a set of widgets or gadgets, as Google calls them, that you install on any website or blog site, in order to develop […]

  9. 10 F's of Social Media Marketing on July 30th, 2010 7:30 pm

    […] – Web site design, navigability, the area above the fold, website widgets, lead capture, etc. Basic, right? Believe me when I tell you that most web sites are […]

  10. Carol@ Outdoor Table tennis on August 3rd, 2010 9:58 pm

    I don’t really use the Widgets since I still haven’t found the importance of it. But based on your article, it seems that this is as good as any apps that you have used on the site that you have. I will be trying this soon to see the result for myself. Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. comment system on September 23rd, 2010 9:04 pm

    Thank you Larry ! It is good tips as always. There is lot of things to learn from you. I have started using widgets in my blog after reading your one of article. Larry ,you always do great job. Cheers Man !

  12. Darren Saydotcom on February 3rd, 2011 8:59 pm

    Thanks Larry for making up this site. It’s very helpful and informative…SayDotCom will help people to understand more about social marketing.

  13. New Website Traffic Case Study, Watch Company, Weeks 1-13 | Online Social Networking on March 6th, 2011 8:57 pm

    […] Building - Using website widgets and TweetAdder to grow a following on Facebook and Twitter, as well as an RSS and email subscriber […]

  14. George Spiteri on June 4th, 2011 2:29 am

    You mention picking a theme with two sidebars instead of one to accommodate all your widgets. I guess my only point of contention here is: wouldn’t that be too many widgets? I just think two sidebars isn’t aesthetically pleasing as one sidebar. Anyway, just a thought and thanks for your post.

  15. Where Your Web Strategy Ought to Begin | Online Social Networking on October 2nd, 2011 10:10 pm

    […] Your website doesn’t need to be intricate. I tend to prefer simple websites. The Gevril Group website, for example, which I developed in concert with Ivo Jackson and John Sealander, uses the WordPress content management system, a very basic 3-column theme, an opt-in form and a Facebook widget. […]

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