2007 is going to be the year of the widget.
What’s a widget, you say?
A web widget is a chunk of code than you can easily cut and paste and drop onto any web page to add additional features or functionality to your web site.
Using widgets, you can easily decorate your MySpace page, blog or web site. Entire communities have sprung up virtual overnight to begin to aggregate all the different widgets available to the budding web page author these days. (My personal favorite being Widgetbox)
For the real estate professional however, using widgets can mean anything from embedding a Youtube video virtual tour (see Tip Tuesday: Creating a Killer Listing Presentation), to placing a simple Flash-based slideshow (see Splash Some Flash On Your Site) on their site. Another popular widget amongst real estate bloggers right now is the MyBlogLog community, which displays thumbnail images of recent readers in the sidebar. (For more, see MyBlogLog Blogger Community at sellsiusÂ° real estate blog)
Some Realtors have even adding real time chat widgets to better communicate with their clients – to see how Kevin from 3Oceans has incorporated it into his business, check out Meebo: Web 2.0 âFloor Timeâ?.
So, if you’re looking for some real estate specific widgets, have a look at the following:
1. Altos Research’s AltosCharts. An amazing tool to give your visitors a quick overview of market conditions. Unfortunately, they are only live in a number of markets.
2. Zillow Search Box. Lets you site visitors quickly find Zestimates on an address. It seems to me there could be a ton of Zestimate-related widgets you could put together, and I’m surprised there’s not.
3. Trulia’s TruliaMap. Allows you to customize a Google Maps mashup to display Trulia’s listings on your site.
5. Finally, Mapwing lets you add floor plans to a virtual tour and blend them with photos and comments, given a user a much better spatial perspective of what they’re looking at.
These are just some of the thousands of widgets out there. What are some that you’re playing with?
One word of caution however – anytime you add a widget to your site, you’re pulling data from another web site’s server. This can slow the load time of your own page dramatically, so be careful with the number of widget you install.
Update: Get a FoREM widget for your blog.