If the “Web 2.0 era” marks the time when widgets became a household term (in web workers’ homes, at least!), 2009 is looking like a year when widgets are evolving and maturing to add real value for web site publishers and their visitors.
Whether you’re running a corporate blog, commercial web site, or any online media product or service, the name of the game is to engage users and get them to achieve the goal that you’ve set out. That goal might be to encourage multiple page views and return visits, to sign up for a service, to buy a product, and so on. And while “related stories” have long been a feature on online news sites and blogs, “contextually relevant” content widgets have become the latest trend in empowering web site publishers to quickly and easily install tools that will help them to reach their goals.
Searchles has launched a Related Content widget that seeks to help bloggers and web site publishers by providing contextually relevant posts while also delivering a contextual advertising component (at a 50/50 split) to help boost revenue and the bottom line.
Searchles CEO Elias Shams describes the widgets as follows:
We recently developed an open widget platform and released a free plug-and-play Related Content widget for bloggers and web publishers – so any site can grab our search tech and display related posts from their archive next to an article for their readers.
We’ve had many of our users installing the widget and see some pretty solid CTR – nearly 8% – so we think we’re onto something, but we want to fine-tune the look and tech until we have something really useful for any blogger. The widget isn’t tag-reliant like some related content providers – it crawls and analyzes a site’s content to produce these contextually related posts.
If that 8 percent CTR number is anywhere near accurate, the Searchles widget should prove to be highly popular for publishers based on that level of engagement alone. The ability to see real numbers on what the CTR looks like on the advertising side -– which appear in the form of text links that run underneath the content widget -– would be valuable as well.
I installed the Searchles widget on a Blogger test site and found it to be a quick and easy experience. (Searchles has provided instructions for getting started on Blogger, WordPress, MT, and other platforms) The widget can be customized, design-wise, in all the ways you might expect. Articles appeared right away for me, though it was a bit hard to tell how contextually relevant they were. Interestingly, tn the widget installation instructions there is an interesting note for everyone to “be aware” of in all caps that reads: RELEVANCY MAY SUCK FOR THE FIRST FEW HOURS.
We can see in the example of the Malc in the Burgh blog that related stories listed on the Searchles widget track pretty closely to the article page. While I suppose it’s not breathtaking to match the title “The BBC and the Gaza Appeal” to “BBC – Bastion of British Censorship,” it’s still a nice way to show related, relevant posts that stands out more than the typical “recent posts” or “related stories” that you typically see on blog and web site sidebars.
Overall, I expect relevant content widgets that add real value for publishers and web site visitors to continue to be a hot space and hot topic this year.
Have you used a widget to enhance the stickliness of your site? What results did you see?