Website Widgets: What Are They and Why Do I Need Them?

What the heck is a widget?

Widgets: They’re those little doo-dads you see on websites, often in the sidebar, that perform one simple function and don’t take up much room while they’re doing it.

A more textbook definition: “A widget is a stand-alone application that can be embedded into third party sites by any user on a page where they have rights of authorship (e.g. a webpage, blog, or profile on a social media site).”

Some common examples of widgets:

Twitter widget: A Twitter widget displays usually 3-5 of your most recent tweets, and also provides a link to your Twitter profile so people can easily follow you. The widget pulls information from your Twitter account and updates the feed to the widget in real time.

Music Player: You’ve probably seen a lot of these on musician’s pages. Music-playing widgets come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve at least one function: letting people listen to songs.

Calendar: There are a wide variety of calendar widgets out there, but the idea is the same: let people know about your upcoming shows and events.

HTML/Code Snippet: These are widgets in which you add your own code, giving you complete control. You can display images, add links to those images, embed videos, and do a ton of other stuff if you know some basic coding, which is MUCH easier than it sounds.

Mailing List: This lets people enter their email address into a small form and join your mailing list.

And those are only a few examples.

So, why do you want to use widgets?

Well, not only do widgets help you save space; they can also be omnipresent on your website. If your sidebar is static, meaning that it’s on every page of your site, then those widgets are always going to be there. People don’t have to search around to find links to your store, listen to your music, or find out when you’re playing next. It’s always in front of them.

And, widgets are easy to set up. If you’re using HostBaby, all you do is drag, drop, and add your text/code/pictures/whatever. From there you can rearrange, customize, add, and delete. Yep: they’re easy to get rid of, too. If you’re NOT using HostBaby, try it out FREE for 30 days! That should give you plenty of time to play around with all the different widgets they offer.

Plus, the possibilities are pretty much endless. I love using linked images in the sidebar on my site because I think a Facebook logo is way sharper than just linked text saying “Like me on Facebook.” And, it looks more professional.

Want to learn more about how to use widgets on your HostBaby site? Check this out.