Do you ever visit a website and wonder how it got all of those widgets to work? The booking form, the calendar, or even the weather display? You might assume that these kinds of bells and whistles require a web developer to install. But these days it’s usually as simple as copying and pasting some text into your website. Taking advantage of these tools can engage your visitors and make a simple website much more functional.
Applications that are embedded into the body of websites are called widgets. Widgets come in many forms: clocks, translators, Instagram feeds, video players, contact forms, slideshows, search bars, etc. These are small things but they collectively add up and can surprisingly make a big difference to your website. So let’s check some of the best widgets you can use to make your website look better and more useful for you and your visitors.
Collecting email addresses and growing your email list needs to be a priority for all websites. This statement holds true for blogs, personal sites, e-commerce companies, SaaS, and really any time of site that you an imagine. In order to effectively collect emails from website visitors, you need to have signup forms strategically placed throughout your landing pages. If you’re using MailChimp for email marketing services, then the MailChimp sign up widget is an absolute must-have for your website. It’s as simple as copying and pasting the sign up form code into your site’s HTML wherever you want the widget to appear.
If you need to share a calendar on your website, Google Calendar is the classic bet. But if you need something with a bit more functionality, like for bookings or to show availability, there are some really good options, like Reservio for example. It is an online booking widget. So for those of you who run a business that takes appointments, it will enhance the experience of your website visitors. Adding the Reservio booking button to your site is easier than having to take appointments over the phone. Plus, since all of your bookings can be handled online, your customers can schedule appointments at any time, even outside of your normal business hours.
Floating social media buttons are a stylish way to encourage sharing. There are lots of services that offer various designs, but AddThis is a great option. With a simple copy and paste, you can have floating social media buttons or sidebars on every page of your website. You can connect to more than 200 social networks with the share buttons offered by the AddThis widget. All of the buttons are mobile-friendly and fully customizable.
Slideshow Imagery widget
If your website needs a slideshow, give PhotoSnack a try. PhotoSnack provides an easy way to embed mobile-friendly slideshows on your website. It can upload photos from your Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram accounts, or you can use it to show off a portfolio of your work.
With widgets like Survio, the process of using surveys in your website has become easier than ever before. You can simply create a new survey in just a few minutes and integrate it into your website with the Survio widget. It’s a clean and professional way to gather more information from your website visitors.
While Google is almost always the first name in search, Swiftype is likely the easiest and most powerful way to add a search field to your website. Swiftype combines advanced indexing, autocomplete, and custom result ranking with an easy-to-embed widget, making it one of my personal favorite tools.
eClincher makes tracking social media and website analytics a breeze with an intuitive, customizable dashboard. eClincher allows you to track real-time website traffic, analyze social impact, and manage social media accounts, all through the same dashboard.
The Disqus widget is made for those of you who want to have more engaged website visitors. If you have a blog on your website, it’s a great platform for you to share your thoughts, opinions, and give valuable information to your visitors. But that communication platform shouldn’t be a one-way street. To increase engagement, you want your customers to share their opinions as well. Adding Disqus to your site adds functionality to your blog comments. It also gives you added management tools for monitoring and responding to comments.
If you want to drastically enhance the customer service experience on your website, you need to implement live chat. The Smartsupp widget is one of the easiest ways to make this happen. This is ideal for those of you who are selling online with an ecommerce site. Whether you’re selling products or services, Smartsupp makes it possible for your current and prospective customers to reach you with any questions they have.
Wufoo is an online form-building widget. It allows you to create surveys, invitations, contact forms, registrations, and payment information. All you need to do is create a form using their form builder. Then embed it on your website. Wufoo will email or text you whenever the data from your forms become available. You also have the option to set up real-time analytics. There are more than 400 form templates for you to choose from. You can also set custom rules and create dynamic visualizations with charts and graphs.