Kate's Tech Talks, Episode 3: Let's have a talk about widget obsession.

This week we are talking about a very serious online condition: widget obsession.

Yes, you read that correctly: widget obsession.

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Here's the thing: I cannot tell you how many DIY sites I see on a daily basis that are full of unnecessary and/or improperly functioning widgets. And, I'm not just talking about one thing in a sidebar that shouldn't really be there. I'm talking about a sidebar full of so much crap that it's almost unbearable to look at.

Backstory: one of the great things about awesome open-source CMS options like WordPress is that you also have tons of really great plugins that you can install on your site. I can almost guarantee that for any functionality that you want to add to your site about 15 different WordPress plugins exist to fill that need.

But, this is where the trouble starts for most DIYers...

DIYers often assume that adding more to their site will make it better. So, they load up their sidebar full of stuff and fluff in an attempt to make the site's content look more robust and full of depth.

But, just because a great plugin exists doesn't mean you should add it to your site without thinking thoughtfully, carefully and strategically about why you are installing it and what it adds to your site.

Here's my take on the issue -- and yes, this video is 7 minutes long because I am that much of a stickler about this issue.

Key takeaways from this video:

  • If you are DIY'ing your site you are a web designer, like it or not. And your job as a web designer is to think thoughtfully about every visual element placed on a site.
  • Too many widgets have potential to dilute your brand message.
  • "Because my competitor is doing it" is rarely if ever a good reason to add a new plugin/widget to your site.
  • Identifying your site priorities is key because it keeps you in check and fighting the temptation to add random widgets.
  • Ask why, why, why before adding and a widget and test, test, test to find the perfect plugin.

Alright, lets have an honest talk: are you a victim of widget obsession?