Feb 18 2008

Why Widgets Scare Me

I recently turned down an opportunity to publicize and receive reviews from Bloggers Showroom, because they require putting a widget on your blog. They require putting a widget on your blog. I respectfully declined, widgets just aren’t for me. Too many widgets scare me, I don’t even use the MyBlogLog Recent Readers widget anymore.

Too Many Widgets is Like…

A generic blogspot blog.

A widget overload may be okay for a personal blog or new blogspot user, but not for “established blogs”. You don’t see A-listers displaying badges or widgets saying their blog rank or directory links. The only time a widget is needed is if it offers something very beneficial for you as a blogger.

For example, entrecard sent about 400+ unique visitors this month already. MyBlogLog used to send 100-200 visitors. Scratchback earns about $20per month. These widgets, at least for me, are quality and beneficial enough to keep on the sidebar.

Once a widget no longer offers value for your blog it should be removed. Once MyBlogLog stopped delivering the traffic it used to, it was gone. Sidebar space is prime real estate for important features on your blog.

Benefits of Widgets

Depending on the widget there are several benefits to display widgets.

  • Referral traffic
  • Networking
  • Value for your readers
  • Publicity for displaying the widget (similar to referral traffic)

Negatives of Widgets

There are also several negatives of displaying widgets.

  • Sidebar clutter
  • Slower loading page
  • “Free” advertising
  • Unprofessional look
  • Design clash

“Over Widgetizing”

By “over-widgetizing” you can be ‘just another blog’. Surfing the blogosphere I often find 3 column blogs with very slow loading pages that turn me off on the first visit.

Widgets are definitely addicting to bloggers. They generally provide free or “cheap” traffic. By simply adding a widget you could get visitors to your blog. As bloggers we sometimes get lazy and give into widgets, but at what price?

Are you addicted to widgets or guilty of “over widgetizing”?

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15 Comments on this post


  1. 23 Things I've Learned Blogging | Blog About Your Blog wrote:

    [...] a block on your sidebar as long as it blends. Don’t compromise your site by throwing a bunch of widgets and cluttering your [...]

    March 3rd, 2008 at 11:35 am
  1. Marketing Blog said:

    I`m definatly guilty of loving the widget.

    Must get help for my addiction

    February 18th, 2008 at 4:23 am
  2. Vince said:

    Hello this is Vince, the author of the Bloggers Showroom. To comment on the widget requirement ;I kind of took that comment to heart, I thought that would be the least a blogger could do in exchange for the free traffic and reviews. As the widget was designed to direct people the “their” page in the showroom to allow “their” visitors to give reviews and rank “their” blog -in one location. I haven’t had to any complaints about this (with this exception), but I have noticed a difference in the number of people that registered to number of people that actually submitted their blog. Your feelings about the widget may indicate the reason for this difference. I appreciate your remarks and I will make improvements on the widget and maybe just require, at minimum, a backlink -even though the idea is to get as many people to see the widget so they can get visitors to “their” page in the showroom.

    February 18th, 2008 at 9:21 am
  3. sir jorge said:

    they should make a horror movie with widgets being the villains.

    February 18th, 2008 at 10:08 am
  4. Matthew Henrickson said:

    Hey Vince,

    Thanks for stopping by, after your last message I thought I should push this article to the top of my que.

    Many websites, directories, etc etc offer ‘free traffic’ by linking back. It’s the oldest method in the book. Its the viral aspect. You link to us, we link to you. The more people that see you linking to us the more everyone wins.

    It wasn’t anything against you and your site, I hope this article gave you some insight on that. Good luck :)

    February 18th, 2008 at 10:35 am
  5. Black Zedd said:

    Yup I refused to join Bloggers Showroom because of their bulky widget.

    I’ve cleaned up some widgets recently during my redesign, and keep only those which contribute. You make me think twice about keeping them too!

    February 18th, 2008 at 12:32 pm
  6. Damien Riley said:

    This is a very well made post. You have a good topic and develop it well. I think your distinction between”personal” and “established” blogs is troubling, but maybe I would understand once I was in the established camp.

    I’ve gone minimal with widgets and then had more than IE could even handle loading. I think your guideline of needing them to be useful is the best think to takeaway.

    February 18th, 2008 at 12:47 pm
  7. Matthew Henrickson said:

    any a-lister doesnt have an overload of widgets, which is what I mean with “established”

    personal blogs are a different category because its about you and your life, not really ‘professional’ websites although there are some.

    February 18th, 2008 at 1:10 pm
  8. Damien Riley said:

    That’s what I figured it meant. Thanks for the clarification. I said “troubling” because mine is a personal blog and yet I have high standards. I saved your post to del.icio.us and Stumbled it.

    February 18th, 2008 at 1:24 pm
  9. Paid Surveys said:

    I try to keep widgets to a minimum and will only add them if I feel they add some value to the readers or if it is profitable to the blog. The space on your sidebar is just way too valuable to waste it, especially if you’ve got enough traffic to monetize that space.

    February 19th, 2008 at 7:58 am
  10. Heather in Beautiful British Columbia said:

    Oh, you are soooo right.

    I put every silly widget in the world on my sidebars and not very many give much back… other than Entrecard which I’m absolutely loving!!!

    I’m going to clean up my act on my own – ‘rehab is for quitters’ and I’m no quitter!

    Thanks for the motivation :)

    February 20th, 2008 at 12:41 pm
  11. Delores said:

    I love this article for the title alone. Cracks me up. Thanks for the opinion though. I’m adding “Entrecard” right now but the widget code won’t display properly. Hhmm…

    February 20th, 2008 at 12:47 pm
  12. Mark said:

    Widget or not, it all comes down to clutter. I agree that some widgets are more responsible than others when it comes to dragging down the load time. I’ve gone widget-less with my flagship blog and have taken the route of manually coding it myself. Maybe it’s just a mental thing, but I just feel it’s a better choice at this moment in time.

    February 20th, 2008 at 9:11 pm
  13. Lin Burress said:

    Funny that I should happen upon this post, since I just published a post this morning dealing with widgets, amongst other things that have negative affect for bloggers.

    Overdoing widgets, lousy post titles, are just two of the things that greatly affect bloggers chances of increasing subscribers and comments.

    February 21st, 2008 at 7:45 am
  14. ANCA said:

    I’ve seen good sites (or that had the potential of becoming good), with experienced bloggers behind them, having made a total mess out of their design and sidebar. Too many widgets, banners, advertisment, pictures…such a turnoff

    March 9th, 2008 at 3:33 am


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