- improve the functionality of a site by providing reader accessibility to content that is not located on the front page;
- act as leaders for e-commerce or other transactions;
- promote and lead traffic to the site serving the widget;
- redirect readers to high quality sources of relevant information found in authoritative blogs in the same niche.
Keeping the amount of widgets and other sidebar clutter to a minimum may seem like common sense to veteran bloggers but to new bloggers the lure of adding widgets may be too overwhelming to pass up. However, a common mistake beginner bloggers make is the overuse widgets as sidebar decorations, methods of bragging, and as space fillers, because they fail to consider the following:
- the impact of the amount of script they have running on their blogs on their readers experience;
- the collection of reader information (computer ip, location, browser type and version) that some widget use results in; and
- how all those widgets clutter the 12 inch screen of laptops.
Widgets as spoilers
Widgets don’t only spoil the design and give the blog an amateurish appearance, but they also compromise blog speed (page loading time), in short viewers have to wait for widgets to load before they can interact with your blog. This may not seem important to bloggers on high speed broadband service but most people surfing the web today are on dial-up service.
“Too many widgets on a page will kill a blog’s design and turn off visitors. How should you gauge whether or not you have too many widgets on your blog? Check other blogs and see what kind of an impact widgets have on your experience as a reader.” — Glen L Graham II, Web-designer / Graphic artist for The G&R Group
Widgets as distractions
Consider that readers come to our blogs to read our content. They don’t come to our blogs to view our awards, badges and buttons and they have no interest in seeing where every other visitor is coming from. Yet every day I witness distracting and tacky looking widget clutter in the sidebars of many personal blogs. The important point here is that widgets and other sidebar clutter distract readers’ attention by drawing the eyes and mind away from the content in our posts.
The test for whether or not to add a widget or any sidebar link to your blog is to answer these questions:
1. Will adding this widget or link to my sidebar provide my visitor’s access to blog content that’s not found on the front page?
2. Will adding this widget or link to my sidebar provide my visitor’s access to additional high quality related resources beyond my blog?
The rule of thumb is that if it does not accomplish the foregoing , then do not add it.
Too many widgets
Related posts found in this blog:
Why having a well designed blog is important