WidgetsBy now you’ve most likely heard of widgets. Widgets are everywhere. They’re on your smartphone, your laptop, your TV, your desktop, your favorite websites, or even your refrigerator. Widgets are essentially small apps, limited in scope, but simple enough for the end user to quickly get information or do simple tasks.

Examples of widgets are the weather widget on your Android or iOS phones, the calendar widget on your desktop, or perhaps the Twitter widget on a website. If you’re a webmaster, having widgets on your site can greatly enhance the user experience, and even boost your SEO rankings.

Creating Your Own Widgets

Facebook WIdget

Facebook “Like Box” Widget

Widgets are simple programs you work into the code of your website. You can create your own to offer some sort of functionality to other webmasters so they incorporate it into their sites, or you can find premade widgets to build into your site.

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to creating your own widgets. Depending on your previous experience coding, and creating widgets, it could be a very time consuming process. However, if you have done it before, doing it the right way could increase their effectiveness.

Just like optimizing a website for search engines, you can do the same for widgets. Dividing your widget into a header, a body, and a footer can have the same effects for its SEO value as it does a website.

What you want your widget to do is ultimately up to you, but remember that if you focus it on spreading your content, ensure your content is unique and valuable to others. If you’re creating it to incorporate into your own website, consider linking to other authoritative sites relevant to your own.

Whether creating widgets for yourself or for others, make sure that you keep the size down and look to others for examples of streamlined and optimized widgets. If a widget is too large, similar to an image, it will slow down the load times of your page. If you’re looking to have others use your widget, than this is key, because slow load times will greatly affect your SEO rankings.

What Kinds of Widgets are there?

Perhaps the most common of widgets is a weather widget, but this may not be really what you’re looking for to help enhance user experience, and increase search engine rankings. The most common widget in that sense is most likely social networking widgets.

Social Networking Widgets

Twitter Timeline Embedded Widget

You’re probably already fairly familiar with some of these. Widgets can range from the small social media buttons you often see at the bottom of a page, or above an article to the “Like boxes” you’ll see in the side columns of websites showing other Facebook users that like that page. These along with the “Share” buttons available can do wonders for your traffic and exposure on the web.

Luckily many social networking sites have premade widgets that you can simply copy the code for onto your own website. These will save you time, and guarantee a professional look. One of the only drawbacks of using these premade widgets is the lack of customization in many of them.

If you are looking for a boost in your SEO rankings, ensure that any widgets you are using are created using HTML. HTML is found by the search engine website crawlers, while some other languages may be ignored.

Try looking around your favorite websites and see if you notice any more widgets than you did before! Once you find the kind that you feel to be the best for your purposes (user experience and/or SEO Value) see if you can create your own. Feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comment box below!

 

Photo Credit: Facebook, Twitter, Laura Thompson

Jamie Bates