One Way to Use Widgets for Your Business

Try this Web widget ideaWeb widgets are little interactive boxes of updatable content that you can place on websites.  The content updates dynamically.  Widgets can consist of polls, games or lists of updated content.  Or even audio.  They are quite a growing trend — I bump into them everywhere online.

Staci Wood, our Program Manager here at Small Business Trends, has been playing around with creating some widgets over at the Spring Widgets site.  I put one of her creations here on the sidebar.

The widget contains a series of brief tips that has recorded.  They’re really valuable tips, on subjects from SEO, invoicing and getting paid by customers, to other helpful information — all delivered by Kira Wampler, Marketing and Community Leader at  It’s actually her — she reads them aloud.

The widget looks like the graphic in this post, over on the right.  (But you have to check it out here on the site sidebar because I could only include a picture of the widget, not the actual widget module, inside this post.)

The Backstory About the Widget


The tips in the widget are actually the sponsor messages from our weekly radio show.

When we revised our radio show format last fall and went to the shorter length  — 60 minutes down to 30 minutes — we were able to do that because we cut out 20 minutes of commercial interruptions from the old-style radio format.

Yes, we used to have a full 20 minutes of commercials! And some of you complained about having to listen to nicely suggested we eliminate the commercials. (Yes, Ramon and others, I was listening).  🙂

So Steve Rucinski and I made a decision.  We needed a sponsor to help underwrite the cost of creating the show.  Putting on a weekly interview series takes real work. It can be a serious expense for a small business. And we could never afford to do interviews of other small business owners and entrepreneurs, who make up the majority of our guests, without the support of a corporate sponsor.

But we decided that we were not going to keep irritating you with a barrage of commercials in the audio, if that wasn’t what you wanted.  Instead, we looked for a more creative way.  We required that any sponsor messages be helpful content for you, not just a commercial.  Information you could use in your business.  Something you were more likely to value than be irritated by.

Not every sponsor prospect understood or was interested in the concept we were driving at.  One company was willing to have their ad agency create some commercials, but thought the weekly tips would be too much work and turned us down for that reason. Luckily, was open to the idea.

You, Too, Can Create Content Like This

Above all, the tips are useful content.  They do not sound like a typical commercial pitch.  We wanted each to sound like a short snippet carved out of an interview. Some are less than 1 minute long.  Some are 2 minutes.  Some of them lead you to useful freebies or ideas for promoting your business.   Some actually incorporate advice from other small business owners like you and me.  It just depends.

Now here’s an idea for you:  if you are an attorney, accountant, consultant or service provider, maybe short tips like these and a widget to distribute them are something you could create in your business for clients, prospects and readers of your site.  Or feel free to “steal” the JumpUp widget — that’s what it’s there for.

Click on the widget in the sidebar, have a listen, and see what you think.

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.