Widgets: Middleman, not the end-all

17 May
2007

Between the BlogFlux/BlogTopSites merger and a stomach bug, I haven’t been able to get much done.

And yet – while I wasn’t doing much directly, the system itself was working flawlessly. The best example: widgets.

Lots of talk these days about how awesome super fantastic widgets are. Yet very little of that talk has been spent on the downsides – how it is a JS call (and thus extra HTTP calls), how it basically hammers the widget-server, how it going down can make your website unusable (do you really trust the widgets you are using?), how you have no control over what data is acquired.

If the path from ‘Visitor’ to ‘Customer’ (ie makes you money) is from A to Z, the widget itself is somewhere in the middle.

Widgets are also useful in two ways:
1. Generating direct traffic to your website.
2. Generating backlinks to your website.

What I’ve done (with great success) is let #1 be optional, and let #2 be mandatory. The benefit in this way is that the webmaster (who will implement the widget) – he has the power to do what he wants. When it comes to compelling reason to using a widget – not having to link back (in any noticeable way) is way at the top.

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