Almost every article that lists do’s and don’ts for bloggers says that having too many widgets and plug-ins in your sidebar is a big no-no. They say they make your blog look cluttered and unprofessional, and even worse, they slow down load time, so that potential followers grow impatient with waiting for all your digital doo-dads to load, and go elsewhere.
It’s said that if you have too much “flair” in your sidebar, it makes your blog look amateurish. It screams “newbie.” New bloggers love widgets. They’re eye-catching, colorful, and they’re a novelty that hasn’t had time to wear off. Sometimes they also give a blogger bragging rights (such as those blog awards that only new or new-ish bloggers accept) or information that may be of interest to the blogger but probably not to anyone else (those little maps that you can click on for a real-time traffic report).
I’m guilty of having a lot of widgets. I might even have too many widgets (oh, the horror!) I like widgets. They’re fun and I like the way they look, dammit. But I certainly don’t want to be seen as a “newbie” or someone who has tacky taste. Or the blogging equivalent of some attention-hog on the road whose car bumper is obscured by bumper stickers. I also hate the possibility of people growing impatient with the slow load time and going somewhere else in exasperation. So last night I decided to say adios to some of my beloved widgets.
But I couldn’t do it. Well, not much anyway. I got rid of “community” and the friend faces under the Facebook Like box. Also the captions under the awards because they were redundant. And that’s all. I simply couldn’t bear to part with anything else, no matter how useless or annoying they may be to my readers. I love my widgets! So they are going to stay (for now). Suck it up, readers! I probably won’t add any new ones though.