All Gadgets are Widgets, Google calls them Gadgets. A widget is a little HTML code that puts interesting, fun or productive items on your blog. Your Profile is a widget, so is your Blog Roll. You might have a Weather gadget, or a Translate feature.
Among useful widgets are Search, Archive and Labels. I explored a new member's site that features plants in which I was interested. It took hours of scrolling, scrolling, scrolling because there were no labels and the archive was by date only. I kept thinking how much some labels and an archive that shows post titles would have improved that site, and mine. I fixed my archive to include titles.
The Translate widget I tried to use didn't work, unfortunately. I like a Blog Roll that shows thumbnail pictures from some of the links -- adds color and attracts. There's a choice between alphabetical or by latest to post, which I use to weed out blogs no longer active. My Label cloud is so big that I put it at the end of my posts along with Followers, to kind of balance the sidebar which wanted to scroll on into infinity until I shortened the Blog Roll, which can then be expanded with a click.
If you don't want to use your real photo, you might make a caricature.
Does this Avatar make Buffy and me look fat?
Text and picture widgets are easy and helpful. A little reminder to readers not to steal pics and text without asking indicates copyright and that photos are not from the public domain. I wish everybody would have a short 'who and where am I' to help new readers orient to where we are on the globe, either included in Profile, or a separate text. I liked Wiseacre's little text that says, "I encourage you to bookmark now. If you can view everything in one visit, you need to get a life."
I use a Poll gadget for the amusement of some of my readers, tying it in to my posts when I can, or making a new post with significant results. I like to display flowers as they come into bloom, but too many pics increases loading time significantly.
I haven't mentioned RSS feeds and Subscriptions and the like -- more and more gadgets. I keep a feed list, off my blog site, of blogs unrelated to gardening that I check daily: cousin Eddie, Kenju, Bye, Bye Pie, Gladys, Vodkamom and a host of others I don't want to miss. Oh, and links, almost forgot about Links, like the Blotanical Banner.
So, what's on your Sidebar? Which widgets do you like most to see on a blog? Are there some that you find more annoying than helpful?
Buffy helped dig, carefully avoiding fungi.