Web widgets – little pieces of code, often JavaScipt – can add a lot of fun features to your website. Widgets come in all sizes and shapes; sports widgets showing the latest scores and standings, weather widgets with accurate forecasts, widgets that connect to social networks like Facebook, the list goes on. You can find them all over the web. Nearly every major content provider offers widgets that allow you to show their content on your website automatically.
Sometimes a widget can really add useful information and functionality to your website. For example of you have a physical store, a routeplanner widget will help website visitors find your store’s location. If you organize travel trips around sports events, a widget showing the upcoming fixtures will save you the trouble of maintaining this information yourself.
But often widgets are detrimental to the quality of your website. Widgets, especially when used in abundance, tend to make your site look amateurish and cobbled-together. Be wary of this when you see a cool widget and decide it would look awesome on your own website.
Widgets should be used sparingly and only when they add genuine value to your website experience. Don’t just put widgets on your website for the sake of it. For every widget ask yourself if it’s just something you think is cool, or if a user can really benefit from its functionality.
And most importantly a widget need to be relevant to your website. Showing weather forecasts is pretty useless if your website is about providing interim management. However for a website about day trips, a local weather forecast in the day trip area could be handy – though if the weather there is consistently bad, it might actually hurt your business.
In short, if you want to use widgets on your website, do so with caution and awareness.