Some applications and websites offer their users an extension of the program or service which can be downloaded straight to the user's computer and stored on its desktop. These extensions come in the form of a small, limited user interface known as a widget.
Both the providers and the users of an application or a site usually find widgets to be convenient and even essential tools. Widgets can even be adapted for use on mobile devices such as smart phones. Some are specifically developed for the mobile market, while others serve as a site extension for websites that cannot be accessed by mobile users.
The purpose of a widget
The purpose of a widget is often simple yet essential. A widget serves as an extra incentive for a business or brand to attract loyal customers. Though they are implemented to perform a specific function, widgets can also serve as an additional advertising tool for the business and products they represent.
Most widgets appear in the form of a pop-up window or dialogue box, and they serve as reminders, countdown timers and notification tools for those who use them. They tend to remain on a user's desktop or notification center in the form of an unintrusive icon, thus their extreme convenience.
Benefits of widgets for businesses
At first glance, implementing a widget into a business's website can seem like a hassle. However, when the benefits are weighed against the potential setbacks, the business clearly stands to gain more than it would lose by featuring a widget for those who visit its site. A widget serves as a constant reminder of the business and the services it offers. More importantly, it manages to do so while still being independently useful to its user. Potential customers also tend to praise a business for the virtual convenience it offers them. The more partial a user becomes to a widget, the more he is likely to become and remain a loyal customer.
Implementing widgets into a business website
Normally, building a widget into a unique user interface is known to be a challenge to those who are not software savvy. However, if a business uses a website builder like www.livecity.com to create and maintain its site from the start, implementing a widget into the interface is no hassle. All the website creator needs to do is upload the relevant information into its corresponding fields on the website builder's panel. Website builders take care of the rest, creating a user-friendly widget on your terms.
"Widget" is one of those buzz words, like "app" or "cloud", that get tossed around a lot in conversations about the modern internet. But did you know that widgets are an easy way to transform your own website, even if you know very little about web design? These accessible, versatile, built-in features allow you to personalize your website like never before. You can even install widgets that let you borrow software and live codes from other pages and developers, such as review and point-of-sale websites.
What can widgets do for your business?
Do you have a restaurant, retail store, or other business that relies heavily on customer satisfaction? Review websites have made modern commerce more democratic than ever, and a good review can be more valuable than paid advertisements. Review widgets make it easier for your customers to leave feedback and view impressive excerpts and rankings. Other widgets offer features that refresh in real time, such as countdown clocks and social media updates. This is an interactive and effective way to get your target audience excited about upcoming events, deals, and news.
Why should you choose HTML5 widgets?
Flexible templates allow you to incorporate a variety of widgets, but you often have to find and download them yourself, and you're also responsible for making sure they're compatible across multiple platforms. Until recently, most widgets operated in Flash, but that compromised compatibility with devices that couldn't download Adobe software. Instead, HTML5 widgets incorporate more universal coding, and don't differentiate between your website and widget content as much. Even search engines will be able to crawl HTML5 widgets.
What are the most popular widgets, and how do they work?
Widgets are plug-in features that can be added to most layouts, but the allocated space is controlled by the company that created it. If a widget is particularly customizable - for example, scrolling updates from your personal blog - you control the content via other websites, and set preferences for how the widget will look to readers. Some of the most common website widget functions include:
- Social media integration - for example YouTube channel updates, Twitter status, buttons to "follow" pages and Facebook like button and more
- Search tool - works by crawling your website for key words
- Video embedding - good way to avoid hosting big video files
- Advertisements - you can sell permission to advertise within certain parts of your website
- Navigation - directions and maps to your location
- PayPal and point-of-sale systems - enables financial transactions with added privacy
When you add these widgets to your website, usually in a sidebar or navigation area, you integrate coding from a separate website and adjust the settings to display content relevant to your business or blog. This can get overwhelming if you install too many of them, but in many ways it's a smart idea to let professional services handle secure data like your social media passwords and your customers' credit card information. Don't try to take on too much of the web design yourself; instead, incorporate a few useful and convenient widgets.
It's hard to believe that just ten years ago, Facebook didn't exist as a marketing tool for businesses or websites. In fact, its current incarnation would be completely unrecognizable to its first batch of members, which consisted only of individual college students. Throughout the past decade, Facebook has evolved and amassed millions of users, redefining the way we communicate with each other. It's now ubiquitous in the world of online marketing, with the world's biggest corporations collecting "likes" and posting updates. In fact, it's hard to imagine a business that wouldn't benefit from social media exposure. Because it integrates photos and sub-pages - and encourages sharing - Facebook offers an unparalleled level of customization and free advertising for your website.
The "like" button simply allows users to express their approval for a post or a page, and the more "likes" you receive the more popular you are perceived to be. So how do you accumulate more likes?
Stay active on Facebook
The very best way to lure more "likes" is to stay active on Facebook itself. Post an update about each new blog post, product, and staff change, and fill the time in between with fun facts, expressions of employee or customer appreciation, and even useful information about related products and news.
Know your way around integrated tools
LiveCity offers a Social Bar element that allows you to link to different social media pages, via iconic logos that appear in your customized display. You can choose horizontal or vertical alignment, decide how to space each icon within the bar, and add or delete different social media URLs as you update your web presence. The Facebook like button is a separate element, and it gives your readers the option of sharing their activity with their Facebook followers. In order to do this, they must link their Facebook account information through your website or use their mobile device to pull up the app and activate the feature.
In addition to the "thumbs up" icon that indicates how many people "like" each post, you can also use LiveCity's Facebook element to add a "recommend" option, choose from four different layouts, choose a design theme, display friends who shared the same page before, and include or remove a "share" button. All of these features make it very easy for your readers and customers to publicize your website on your behalf. Everyone on their friends list will see what they've shared, and your business will gain visibility in their friends' news feeds.
Don't overdo it
It's tempting to add a Facebook like button to everything on your website. After all, why not give readers the chance to increase your page views, even if it's just an announcement about your hours? However, it looks amateur if you bombard readers with social media requests. Everything on the internet is becoming increasingly synchronized, from apps enjoying access to camera phones to employers checking LinkedIn profiles; however, this integration should be as seamless as possible, and that won't happen if your readers feel pressured to give you free advertising or share their transactions with everyone they know. Most importantly, reward their loyalty and optional support with incentives for subscribers and followers. Promotional codes, event invitations, and sneak peeks are good ways to keep your "friends" interested in your Facebook page.