I went out to lunch with a friend the other day and once again I got the question of “what does your company do again??”. “We have a widget serving platform” was my response. Come again?
So what is a widget serving platform? Really, it is a vehicle to allow your content to leap off of your site and traverse the Internet without parental guidance. Think of a car, plane, train, etc. Each one of these vehicles serves a purpose – they get you from point “A” to point “B”. The vehicle itself is just that, it does not care who the passengers are, it is there to provide a service. Widget platforms, and Clearspring’s specifically, serves that exact same purpose. We provide the vehicle, you provide the passenger.
The basic steps of “wrapping” your widget (think of “loading your car”) are as follows:
- Create an account on Clearspring.com (this takes literally less than 30 seconds).
- Select “Add Widget”.
- Select your widget type (flash, js, image, RSS, web site).
- Enter the parameters about your widget – source URL and widget name.
- Click on “Save new widget”
- Publish your widget by either “grabbing the embed code” to place it on a specific web site – OR – use one of our sharing tools to publish it directly to a social network or widget gallery.
Here is a technical description of the above: Provide the widget serving platform with the source URL path of your widget and we’ll provide you with our widget code that will request your specific widget when it loads on the page. As visitors want to “grab” your widget for themselves, our platform (the flash container that is wrapping your widget) will provide the “bridges” for the widget to travel to MySpace, Facebook, iGoogle, Netvibes, etc. The “bridges” and the ability to track where your widget is traveling is what the widget serving platform brings to the table. A one or two click process to push the widget from one page to another is the vehicle itself. Going back to the “automobile” example, the car has an engine, ability to travel through rain, snow and sleet. The widget container has the ability to drive from MySpace to Facebook, Facebook to iGoogle and so forth.
These are the steps you need to take in order to successfully load a widget onto a widget serving platform. The main thing to note here is that the platform doesn’t host your content, you do. So you have control over updating the content, deleting it, modifying it – you are in control of what your visitors see.
Is it easy to publish a widget, yes! The difficult part is designing a widget and determining what the content will be. I wrote a post a few weeks ago that outlines the steps for a successful widget strategy. Anyone can build a widget, just as anyone can build a web site. Content is still king – and the creation of content that is engaging and compelling to the user is critical in launching it for viral promotion.
Happy New Year!