Widgetize Your Website
As Brian mentioned in his 2007 Resolution post, widgets are going to be one of the trends to watch in 2007. Arguably, they already made big news in 2006 - but only within certain demographics (including teens, young adults, and geeks).
So, what's a widget anyway?
On a technical level, it's just some code you insert into your website. But from a conceptual standpoint, a widget is a little tool that packs a great punch, providing fun and useful functionality to websites. Widgets are often placed in sidebars and are very popular amongst bloggers because they allow them to create more personality on their sites. They also can often help site visitors stay better engaged.
While widgets are "fun" for their users, they offer site owners the power to essentially export both the messaging (i.e., content), as well as the branding of their website across the Internet.
Although widgets are somewhat new, the technology behind them is maturing quickly. Services like Widgetbox and ClearSpring now allow widget creators to track the usage of their widgets. KickApps, which does much more than just widgets, also allows widget owners to switch out the content of their widgets. In the case where a significant number of people have placed your widget on their sites (websites, blogs, social networking profiles, etc.), that becomes a very powerful communication tool.
Widgets won't make or break your web strategy. They are just another tool in the toolbox. But expect to see them start being used in some innovative ways as we continue through 2007.