The term “feature creep” is often used to describe a product or service overridden with features to a point where the overall offering becomes less functional. Rather than focus on a few outstanding features, a myriad of substandard features are crammed into the product, diminishing the overall value and utility. I think the same can be said for blogs — and the
abuse use of widgets.
Widgets can definitely add value to the overall experience of a blog. The key is to find the few, valuable widgets that provide the greatest benefit. I’ve visited countless blogs that pack as many widgets into the sidebar as possible. They jump on the latest and greatest, without assessing the true value of the offering. Is there really a fit? Does this widget provide maximum utility? In most cases, the answer is simple — no. In a few cases though, the addition of a widget may provide marketing value or a more enjoyable user experience.
I guess my advice to bloggers is that web real estate is valuable. Don’t clutter it with useless embedded devices. Do yourself a favour right now. Assess the widgets currently on your blog and delete the ones that aren’t necessary. Just focus on a few widgets in particular. And, in the future, when you come across the hottest new widget, give it some real thought before adding it to your blog. After all, it may ultimately diminish your experience rather than add to it.