Small applications embedded in web pages called widgets are enjoying a huge amount of reach among the online community. ComScore’s Widget Metrix measured 20% penetration worldwide, and 40% penetration in the all-important US market. Universal McCann’s research showed roughly the same results. Penetration is defined as the number of unique widget viewers versus the number of total population of Internet users. With its enormous popularity, widgets are ideal for use in business branding, and many companies have been jumping on the bandwagon. If you’re interested to enter into this segment, there are some things you have to keep in mind.
Think out of the box. Look at what’s out there and expand them to other possibilities. There’s always something you can improve on, something missing that you can fill the gap if you look hard enough. Your widget’s uniqueness will get you noticed more quickly, and being among the pioneers in a certain segment increases your credibility and popularity.
Make it interactive. Static widgets get tiresome easily. Yours should not only look good, it should be functional and/or entertaining. Examples are mini-games and those that offer a form of service to the viewer, like navigation, weather, and the like.
Size matters. Different web pages are designed differently. To attract the most number of web owners to install your widget, it helps to provide them with a variety of sizes that they could choose from. This allows them to have more freedom for placement, similar to Adsense.
Test and follow up. Before deployment, test, test, test, and test! Invite other people for beta testing because you might be prone to familiarity blindness. Once out there, don’t rest on your laurels. Get feedback and make continuous improvements.
Just a click away. Getting your widget should be as painless as possible. It’s not the best idea to ask people to sign up to your newsletter just to get your widget, unless you’ve already become popular and it is THE widget everybody wants. For startups, your primary goal is to scatter the seeds.
Promotion. There are approximately 20,000 widgets out there. That’s still fairly low in comparison to the number of blogs and social network profiles, but it is a sizeable competition. Putting your branded widget out there does not guarantee immediate results. You still have to promote it either via your chosen social network’s channels (user groups and such) or blogs related to its function and niche market. With a little creativity and luck, you’ll be on your way to climbing the widget charts.