A web button is an tiny advertising tool hosted on a website. It is a small graphical item which is typically used to advertise a specific program or application that the site creator used in the construction of the website. A web button also often acts as a link, connecting the active site to the website of the advertised application. Largely cosmetic and commercial in nature, web buttons do little more than highlight the tools used in the creation of a website.
In many cases, a web button acts like a "brought to you" message by a traditional media advertising organization. In essence, the web button tells the website reader what applications are responsible for creating the layout and appearance of a page, allowing the end-user to find out more about that particular application if its capabilities impress him. It is typically completely unrelated to the specific content of a page; in this sense, it can be blocked with ad-blocking software or ignored without compromising the message on the page.
Clicking on a web button will take a page reader to the main page of that particular application. This allows the reader to gain additional information about the software, including purchase information such as cost, availability, and so forth, if desired. Web buttons are another trend towards commercializing every aspect of the Internet; in other words, the equivalent of a virtual billboard.
Web buttons are also sometimes used to advertise products or services that the site creator likes. Working in the same basic way that buttons which advertise those applications used to create the site do, they provide a quick link to the recommended site. This type of button may not be directly related to the creation of the original page, but the suggestion is that, if the reader likes the same things the site creator does, he will probably like the site advertised through the web button.
When adding web buttons onto a website, the creator should be careful not to interrupt the flow of the page. Web buttons should be placed where they can be easily found, without disturbing the actual content of the site. Typical locations for web buttons include along the bottom left or right hand corners of each main page on the site, allowing the reader to absorb the content while keeping the obtrusiveness of the advertising to a minimum.