Web 2.0: A Business Case for Widgets

I have taken a particular interest in widgets lately, for my own use and those of existing and potential clients. For those who may not know, a widget is anything that users can embed in a web page (see this entry in Wikipedia). You will find widgets on some home page sites, social networks, personal and business web pages and newer desktops (Vista and Mac OS 10+).

The types of widgets out in the web world run the gamut from pure entertainment (games, joke-of-the-day) to promotions (countdown clocks, movie/TV/music promos) to social tracking (what I am doing) to feed aggregators (news, blogs, gossip). They can be temporary, such as countdown clocks, or somewhat permanent in the form of RSS readers. You can create the most basic widgets from templates or design them from scratch. And it won’t be long (easily, within the year) before you will see some widgets acting as fully functional websites.

Many people, me included, had written them off as mere time wasters or things that were just neat to have. That was before I took a closer look. Here are just a few ways I see widgets benefiting businesses of all shapes and sizes:

  • Goal charts for internal and external users
  • Progress updates
  • News and blogs of particular interest to staff or customers
  • Introducing new promotional materials or advertising
  • A co-located website within a partner’s web page

Not every application is going to work with every type of business, but the possibilities are almost endless.

Before deciding what widgets to use and how to use them, first learn what is important for your audience, whether it is your staff, your clients, customers or intermediaries. What information do or can you provide for them on a regular basis that they would like to have at their fingertips? Promote it where they are, then let them come to you.

I’ve created a couple of widgets from two different providers that pull the feeds from my blogs. You can see them here. These are basic and meant to show some variety in styles. I’ll be developing more, with different functions, which I will post on my site.

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One Response

  1. Helpful! Thanks.

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