Build your Own Widget Web Tool

by Andrew Lock

This week's mixed bag of Web tools includes a widget-maker, a resource for recording media and a great anti-spam tool.


Widgets are small applications for online or offline use. If you ever used Windows Vista, you might have seen some widgets in the sidebar area. You can use widgets to get news, information, entertainment, decorations, or whatever else you can think of for your blog or website.

Widgets can be useful to you, but more importantly you can offer them to your customers as a way to add value to them and to keep the relationship going. For example, there's a widget called "baby ticker" that counts down the days of a pregnancy, providing useful tips and suggestions along the way. This widget could be used by anyone in that field, and it’s been wildly popular with pregnant mothers, as you can imagine.

WidgetBox.com is a site that lets you use widgets that other people have created, or you can create your own. Spend a few minutes browsing the site, and you'll quickly discover the potential. You can browse categories, or search a particular topic to see what's available. What widget could you put on your Web site or blog?


You may or may not know that my background originally was in the TV and video production business, and that I wrote one of the best-selling books about the high definition video format. Anyway, I'm often asked to recommend suppliers for recordable DVDs, CDs, DVD cases, and associated items.

The company I consistently recommend is called Meritline. They're neither the absolute cheapest nor are they the most expensive, but they keep good quantities of stock, they're accurate with orders, their shipping prices are reasonable and their customer service is good.

Please don't make the mistake of going with the cheapest supplier; you will regret it. Trust me, I've been there. When you cut corners to save a few dollars, in my experience there's always a price to pay.

Spam Disappears

Ever wonder how you started receiving spam emails? If your email address is listed online, for example in Web directories or on your own website, that's almost certainly responsible for much of the spam you receive.

Software robots comb the Web to find, harvest, store and sell email addresses. Hence, your email address ends up being bombarded with spam messages.

Spam Disappears.com is a free anti-spam blocker. It creates a new, public e-mail address that Internet browsers can see, but remains invisible to spam robots.

It's very easy to use, just three steps: enter your email address, what you want the link to say, and then copy the code in the bottom box.

As you can see, the tool generates a special html code in real-time. Post it in your Web page, and it'll be automatically encrypted.

Never put normal email links on a website, always encrypt the address using a tool like SpamDisappears.com.

You'll find lots more small business marketing tips and resources from Andrew Lock in our Small Business In-Depth series, Lock in Your Marketing Resources.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical small business marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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This article was originally published on Monday Oct 17th 2011
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