While pressure is mounting globally for everyone to become adept techies and programmers, there comes a time when we need to evaluate, among the noise, which solutions are best suited for our needs. In addition to what tasks we pour our precious time into. Depending on your background, objectives and resources, a kit with every tool imaginable may prove overwhelming and useless while a minimal approach is precisely what you need. Or, you may be gearing up to build something that requires a selection...
The 10 Best Web Widgets (As If You Need Something Else To Make Your Website Cooler)
Web widgets increase engagement with users, provide easy ways to share content, and help keep track of who exactly is visiting your site. In short, widgets are like your favourite pair of running shoes: they keep you on the go but don’t cause much pain at the end of the day.
Here are our top picks for the 10 best web widgets out there today:
Flare offers quite possibly the prettiest way to allow social sharing on your website. Beautifully designed, flawlessly integrated with any site, and intuitively built so that website owners can see how popular they are across the board. Flare is available on Filament.io, a very handy widget website that allows you to buy, then simply drag & drop widgets into your site design.
Like Filament, SnackTools is actually a grouping of website widgets that work well with almost all free website builders. Photo slideshows, custom video and media players, and flipbooks are quickly and simply designed, then smoothly integrated.
Available on the giant widget library WidgetBox, Google Maps Mini does exactly as it indicates in its name, allowing you to insert searchable and scaleable maps onto your pages. Like most things on Google, Google Maps Mini is free – and compatible with all your other Google accounts.
Another goodie from Filament, Passport is an app that collapses and packages together all your social media profile information, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, into one universal profile. At the bottom of your web page, a photo of you will appear with your various social media accounts circling you. Pretty, effective, and all-in-one, this is a widget many of us have been waiting for for a long time. Although it’s in early development right now, you can try out its first version for free along with thousands of others who are already giving it rave reviews.
If you’ve ever had to send out an email to a large group of people, you’ve more than likely heard of mail subscription giants MailChimp. With MailChimp’s online service, you can manage contact lists, create and send templates for emails to groups of people, and track how well your emails are being received. With MailChimp’s widget, you can effortlessly add subscription forms to any part of your website. Any new subscribers are added directly into your existing mailing lists, making email marketing a total breeze.
Adding surveys and forms to your website is an easy and painless way to let your users stay in touch with you. Wufoo, the kings of form widgets, make this simple. Available on Widget marketplace Yola, you simply drag and drop a Wufoo form onto your web page, then modify it as you like.
For Google, AdSense is a cash cow, earning the company the majority of their revenue. For e-commerce businesses, Google AdSense is equally indispensable. The AdSense widget allows website owners to easily track the performance statistics of their on-site ads, and modify choices as they go.
Another must for e-commerce up-starts, Olark is a painless, intuitive chat widget that lets you speak directly with customers. Among Olark’s best features is the ability for customers to leave messages if you’re not available to chat live, and the ability to target specific customers who seem to be having an especially hard time finding the “buy” button. Olark is another Filament compatible widget, making it all the easier to implement.
Ok, so Origami is so new that it’s not even out yet, but when it arrives on the stands it’s sure to be an instant success. Just like the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, Origami allows for lots of information to be folded up, then easily expanded when clicked on. Definitely a widget-to-watch!
Crazy Egg has gained tremendous popularity with a seemingly simple idea: provide heat maps of precisely where users are clicking. The result is a detailed picture of user behaviour, from how far users are scrolling down the page, to what they’re clicking. Available on Filament, the Crazy Egg widget can be simply drag & dropped onto your website, with no code or confusion to deal with.
Roojoom is a wonderful way to present information from various websites in 1 place. Many people use it as a powerpoint alternative, others are using it to build online guides and help tools. We used Roojoom to create an easy way to read reviews about IM Creator. We liked it so much we even created a special guide for it to help you add it to your IMC website.
Google AdSense: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcuthrell/1384890014/ by Jay Cuthrell (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcuthrell/1384890014/)
CrazyEgg:http://www.flickr.com/photos/sensiblemarketing/2436839443/ by Metro Atlanta Marketing Association: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sensiblemarketing/