What are widgets used for?
And you have opened a web page and you see all these little social icons, flickering ads, the weather for today, and you wonder – how does that work? Well, chances are – you are looking at a widget!
According to Wikipedia: ‘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’.
So, to put that in layman terms, it simply means that a widget is a software application that can be used by a website owner which basically can do anything that the website owner wants it to do. It is a ‘bunch of codes’ which will tell your computer what to do. Examples of widgets are – weather reports, countdown calendars, clocks, phone books, music, to name a few.
Types of Widgets
There are two popular types of widgets – web widgets and desktop widgets. Those made for the web are usually embedded in the web page and will affect basic site performance (with regard to site speed), SEO (search engine optimization) and also backlinking. Desktop widgets, on the other hand, are simply embedded on the local computer and has no effect on the website SEO or site performance.
You will see widgets mainly embedded on the sidebars of websites, including the area where general ads are displayed. A very known example is the Google Adsense widget which can be seen on most websites. This widget functions as a display ad that companies pay Google to advertise their businesses.
It can be placed in the header field, the sidebar, or even in the actual content on the website. It is up to the website owner to decide where it will be most effective for his site.
Widgets can be used for displaying text as well as images. Another common widget is the image widget that the website owner might have in the sidebar (or wherever he/she chooses) showing information about himself/herself along with an image and text.
Widgets can be used on any platform. They can be pre-built and bought (from software companies who take the hassle out of coding – you simply copy and paste the embed code) or programmed by the website owner if he/she is so skilled.
Advantages of using widgets
- they make your web page come alive
- they are space savers (because you usually see small icons in some instances)
- easy to install with basic or no coding skill
- easy to locate your social icons ( so popular in our internet world today)
Disadvantages of using widgets
- your web page might be too crowded and more distracting if not used sensibly
- may not always work with a dedicated theme once it is updated
You have just scratched the tip of the iceberg!
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Please leave any questions you might have in the comment section or you can connect with me here as well.