Why Widgets Work Wonders for Your Website

Widgets are the Internet’s answer to “knowledge on demand”. They are icons that give you easy access to information and areas of interest. Widgets are versatile tools that can be placed on websites, desktops, blogs, profiles and even mobile devices. Users can access and interact with the information they need for news, entertainment, weather, blogs, the stock market or any other area of interest.

Today’s Internet users expect more from a website. They want it to be proactive, drive traffic and develop more incoming links. Widgets help do this and more. These Internet “gadgets” are a great way to market your site and make it come alive. If you place widgets on your blog or homepage, visitors will be able to download your widgets to their desktop or add them to their personal sites. Another great thing about widgets is that they are viral and allow users to share and download them through their friends’ sites. With widgets, you now have a website that is more interactive with a tool that contains valuable information, is viral and creates more inbound links.

FaceBook, for example, revolutionized their site by recently adding the Facebook Platform in May 2007. Now booming, Facebook widgets range from political campaigns to zombie bites (a community widget that allows friends to bite and turn each other into members or “zombies”). Because of widgets like these, Facebook has attracted more people and more advertisers. Other sites that have used widgets to their benefit include PhotoBucket and MySpace. Like the big boys, savvy webmasters are jumping on the widget bandwagon and using it for their customers benefit.

As long as you keep your widget useful and simple, they will drive traffic to your sites and work to promote your products and services. Widgets are cheap and effective ways to promote your business through direct response web marketing and through social networking.

The Guppy Tank – Assessment of the Real Small Business

I must admit that I proudly proclaim that I don’t watch reality shows. However, that’s not really true. I am an avid follower of ABC’s “Shark Tank” series. The question is why, and what do I learn from that show that can be applied to my business?

While we all strive for the multi-million dollar or even billion dollar business, the truth is that most of us would be happy to have a small business that satisfies our needs – both in terms of income and satisfaction. We will likely not develop a business in which Mark Cuban would want to invest. So let’s take a look at our business interests as they might be evaluated by smaller investors in the “Guppy Tank”.

A small business, by my definition, is a business that often starts from scratch, employs the owners, perhaps some family members, and a few others. Initially, at least, the business struggles with sales and is faced with at least some periods of negative cash flow. This, of course, differs from the definition of a small business that might include 50 workers and have five million dollars in sales. With this definition in mind, let’s follow a hypothetical business into the “Guppy Tank”.

Our show opens with the introduction of three possible investors. Each has had some level of small business success of his/her own. They represent hard work, good planning, and the recognition that not all small business owners will get to this point.

Next, in comes the owner of business “X” which designs, manufactures, markets, and sells widgets. The widgets could be a consumer product or service. It really doesn’t matter. The owner of business “X” introduces his or her widgets with some fanfare. He or she explains why business “X’s” widget is so much better than any other widget out there and why it occupies a unique niche in the developing market. Everyone is properly impressed at this point.

Our guppies, however, know nothing about the widget or business “X” or the person or persons behind it. The questions begin.

Guppy 1 asks how business “X’s” founder and owner, whom we’ll call Sandy, got into this business. The question, of course, is intended to find out more about Sandy. What is Sandy’s background? Does Sandy have prior business experience? Is Sandy committed to this business? Where did the idea for the widget come from?

Guppy 2 asks questions about the widget and its current acceptance in the market. Is the item selling now? What is the market? What do we really know about the market? How did Sandy form her projections?

Guppy 3’s inquiry is focused on the financial needs of business “X”. What is needed now? What will those dollars accomplish? What will future needs be? And, of course, what’s in it for the guppy that invests.

In our show, the guppies get their answers, are impressed with the widget, with Sandy, and with the future prospects. They fight over investing in business “X” and Sandy. Sandy has succeeded. But how?

Sandy demonstrated by her answers to Guppy 1 that she is passionate about her small business. She has always been willing to work long and sometimes stressful hours because she enjoys the enterprise. She sacrifices for her business. Her widget came about from a combination of prior experience and a love for the product or service. The business provides Sandy with more than a job. It is her vocation and hobby rolled into one. Hard work – yes. Time consuming – yes. She says “Bring it on!!”

To Guppy 2 Sandy presents some data about the product and market. The guppies and Sandy know that the data was less than stellar since there was no practical way to do a full-blown analysis. But it was clear that Sandy had thought this through. She had tested the market as best she could. The results were more than encouraging. Sandy is the expert when it comes to her widget and it shows.

And as for Guppy 3’s focus, Sandy presented a picture in sufficient detail as to how the funds would be used, how they would increase sales, and how profits would benefit. Sandy had done her homework.

As the show comes to an end, we are very happy for Sandy’s success and can’t help but wonder “how would I have done” in the Guppy Tank.

The lessons from the tank are simple. In order to achieve success, we have to be passionate about our business. We must understand our market. The ultimate bases for decision making in any business, cash flow and profit, must be no strangers to our thinking. Planning is essential. And we have to understand and keep within our available resources.

But we knew all of that, didn’t we?

Why Widgets Are So Successful in SEO

The future of SEO just might be widgets. This is because widgets are tools of high engagement on the social media systems. This means that widgets just might give a business an unfair advantage when it comes to SEO. This is because most companies do not know how to create or use a widget effectively.

So what is a widget exactly? A widget is a consumer engagement tool that a consumer takes from a website and puts on their website. This usually includes a link back to the website that created the widget. Widgets are very effective at getting links because they provide real value to the internet besides being very entertaining at times.

The classic example of a widget is a quiz. A quiz has a very high engagement rate and people have a hard time not taking a quiz. This means that a person loves to take the quiz. In most cases, the people taking the quiz would not only link to the quiz (so that their friends could take the quiz) they would also receive a “badge” that would display their results. This is what was usually displayed on a website and what contained the link back to the creator’s website. This is a highly effective way of generating links.

A widget can also be an info graphic. An info graphic is a graphic that is usually funny in nature; people find these graphics on sharing sites and load them into their own personal sites. This graphic contains a link back to the creator’s site. Therefore, they gain back links from the use of the info graphic. This method has gained a lot of popularity in recent times. Therefore, a person can reasonably expect to see more of this back link generation to occur in the future.

Finally, a person may generate a user specific (or niche specific) widget. The classic example of this is the mortgage calculators. These calculators are everywhere on the internet, but someone had to generate the code to make them. Therefore, someone generated the code and inserted a back link into the code to get their sites ranked higher on the search engines. This method works well for industry specific sites where the use of humor does not make sense for the business. This is because the business needs to have a more professional tone and having a funny widget would hurt the business.

In conclusion, a business that is serious about SEO has to consider making a widget for linking purposes. There are many types of widgets that a business can use. Therefore, a business should consider all the widgets available, and then begin making their own as soon as possible.