Affiliate Summit West – Day 3 Mini-Recap

Hey, affiliate kids. I’m about to head to the airport to start my trek back to the East Coast, but first, let’s recap Day 3 of Affiliate Summit, shall we?

Sadly, due to my flight and this silly little thing called “lunch” that the speakers seemed to be really interested in, I was only able to make it to one session today: Amazon Widgets for Fun and Profit.

I was more interested in the “how to use widgets” angle of this session than I was the Amazon part, so that’s what I’m going to focus on.

What’s a Widget?

They’re rich Web gadgets or mini applications that improve the richness and functionality of your Web site. In a nutshell, they allow visitors to interact with the data that interests them from wherever they are on the Web. Widgets allow others to share your data on other Web sites and they allow you to take advantage of other people’s data.

For example, in the session speaker Zahid Khan told the audience how they could take advantage of the many widgets provided by Amazon to help increase the functionality and usefulness of their Web site. Basically, you get to bring Amazon to your site and to your users, which can help increase both clicks through rates and conversions.

Widgets allow you to display product information in fun, interactive ways, to encourage users to play around with your site, to increase your own functionality and to serve as content. The great thing about widgets is that they’re highly customizable and available in many different sizes, colors and themes so that they can become part of your site and virtually indistinguishable from your own content.

Best Practices for Widgets

  • Select the right widget for the job: There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits all solution. You have to take into consideration what you’re doing. What are you trying to monetize? Is it a product-focused site? A personal blog? A movies/music site?
  • Place it in the best available spot: The center-of-page size widget is good for one-off, very topic-specific widgets. Meanwhile, banner/sidebar-sized widgets are best for products that are relevant over a long period of time. Use free-size widgets when you control the size of the ad spot.
  • Personalize the widget control: Add user comments to your widgets. Your customers are more likely to engage with your products when you’ve endorsed them with user comments. If you don’t have time to add individual comments to each product, personalize the title of the widget. It’s easy to do and helps get around ad blindness.
  • Change widget content regularly: Handpicked wins over automated selection any day. Related to this, if you do use Amazon widgets on your site, Widget Source is a way to easily change widget content programmatically in the code. It will also give you total control over the look and feel of the widget and opens up the door for you to create some really cool mashups.
  • Make The Widget Part of Your Site: During the session, Zahid went through a number of Web sites and challenged the audience to spot the widget on the page. And it was hard to do. That’s one of the powers of widgets – how easily you can customize them to really become part of your site and make them indistinguishable from your actual site content.

Widgets are really one of those things you should be paying close attention to right now. I was actually surprised that there were only 30 or so people in this session. Maybe it’s simply because it was the morning on the last day of Affiliate Summit or maybe people just don’t get it. Personally, I work for a company that’s a huge proponent of building widgets for clients. I guess the rest of the world hasn’t caught up yet. Their loss.

And that’s it from me from Affiliate Summit. I hope you enjoyed the daily coverage and thanks to Rae for giving me a shot to experience it. Even if I did had to run around Vegas on a broken foot.

About Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone is the Co-Founder and CBO of Outspoken Media, an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping brands get heard on the web via various services such as SEO consulting and social media marketing. In her spare time, she enjoys avidly neglecting LisaBarone.com.

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