Countdown widgets enable you to display a timer for a product launch, start of a certain event, and even more. Sales might be boosted throughout the holiday season due to the feeling of urgency from seeing the countdown timer. You can make your special countdown widget for your website using the tool to create widgets. Whatever holiday season you are aiming for, you can create a simple countdown widget on your website to show the days or time left until a new special event or holiday.

Exciting anticipation of the upcoming event is contagious and grabs all your attention. It may even make you feel nervous and in a hurry. The countdown is intriguing and makes you look forward to the seconds counting down to the weekend, wedding, vacation, Christmas Eve, or days until retirement.

In this article, you will find information about the most popular ways of making a countdown timer, what it looks like, and when it’s best to use it.

When is it appropriate to use a countdown timer?

Employ countdown widgets in sales, in-store promotions, company deals, and future webinars. A countdown timer will be suitable in the following cases:

  • To remind about the beginning or end of sale;
  • To inform about big discounts;
  • To remind customers about the end of their trial periods or discounts expiration;
  • To remind participants of the webinar start time and get ready for any draw dates (e.g. a lottery).

Ways to create a countdown timer:

  • Use pure JavaScript or JavaScript libraries (such as jQuery);
  • Use CSS or SVG;
  • Combine Theme: JavaScript + CSS + SVG;
  • Use special tools.

Method 1: Basic JavaScript

Instead of searching for a sophisticated way of creating the timer widget, you may make a countdown clock with plain JavaScript. Days, hours, minutes, and seconds are the four digits that are displayed on the countdown timer. Each number is in an <div> element. The first class (timer__item) styles the element while the second one targets JavaScript. The main part of the code is occupied by the countdownTimer function. This function calculates the remaining time and updates the contents of the timer__item elements on the page. The remaining time is calculated by subtracting the current date from the end date. The variables $days, $hours, $minutes, and $seconds contain the elements (targets) into which the time components are displayed. Changing the content of elements is done via textContent. If the value is less than 10, then the character “0” is added to it.

Method 2: Pure CSS

This solution uses straightforward logic to display some blocks with numbers and conceal others using CSS keyframes. For example, if tenths of a second should change every second then an animation should last for 60 seconds in total (animation duration), and there should also be 60 iterations (60/60 = 1 second). The animation calculation is a little trickier for minutes but still makes sense.

Method 3: Combination of SVG + CSS + JavaScript

This variation styles the countdown timer aesthetically by combining the two previous techniques (CSS + JavaScript) with SVG. Here, each number cell has seven polygon shapes that are shown for a predetermined amount of time using CSS keyframes (or hidden using the transparency property for the SVG object — fill-opacity). Thus, we provide the impression that the countdown timer dial is being turned on or off. For each of the seven polygon shapes, each number has its CSS animation sequence. Consequently, 28 animations are required for the 4-digit clock face (00:00). The initial leading minute zero does not have any animations since our timer can only run for five minutes, bringing the total amount of animations down to 21.

Shape transparency is changed by animations after a predetermined amount of time (using the animation duration property — animation-duration). Therefore, items representing fractional seconds should change once per minute (animation-duration: 60s), whereas elements representing single seconds should change every second (animation-duration: 10s).

With JavaScript, we merely set a timeout for 5 minutes to display the proper notification when it expires, which minimizes the use of JavaScript in this technique. Most of the work is completed using CSS keyframes, and we employ SVG shapes to build a scalable clock model.

Method 4: Services for creating a timer

This option is for those who prefer using services or don’t have time to deal with code and styles. Besides, it is unnecessary to be a programmer or hire one to be able to add a simple countdown widget to your webpage. Usually, tools for creating simple countdown widgets include the following steps: 

1. Customize your widget.
    Try all the settings and create your perfect widget;

2. Get the installation code.
    Get a unique code for your finished widget and copy it;

3. Embed the code on your site.
    Paste the code into the template or site structure where the widget is going to be located.

Summing Up

A timer with seconds ticking backward creates a sense of urgency and lack of time. The customer understands that the offer is valid for a limited time. It stimulates action and doesn’t give a chance to postpone or forget. Thus, the countdown timer is one of the proven strategies that encourage focused activity and increase sales. A complex marketing tool, the countdown timer may provide various events, such as promotions and/or online events with a sense of urgency. You may use a specific tool or write your HTML code to create a simple countdown widget. As you can see, creating a timer is not troublesome, so choose the most suitable method and improve your business.

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