Choosing The Right Social Bookmarking Sites

Providing social bookmarking buttons can be a service to your visitors, and help highlight your best content on various social networks and news services, but you must think carefully about which ones you include, and where.

One of the biggest takeaways from Traffic Stampede Secrets that I reviewed a few months ago was how important it was to target the right social bookmarking and networking sites for your own sites, and also to evaluate and test how effective a particular bookmarking button might be.

I have just removed my StumbleUpon graphic that floats on the top right of every post, and the Technorati favorites button that was included in the same place.

StumbleUpon

I love StumbleUpon, I use it daily to find great sites, and my readers love it as well.

So why did I remove it?

I use a lot of tracking, and frequently I saw clicks of the StumbleUpon button, but no corresponding reviews.
Someone will click the button, and decide not to write a review, and then click their stumble button to go somewhere else. People are shy….

In that situation you don’t get a vote even if one was intended!

If someone is using StumbleUpon, they have the toolbar installed. The “Thumbs Up” button is right next to the Stumble Button.

StumbleUpon Toolbar

It is possible I will get a few less reviews, but hopefully I will also get a few more positive votes for my content – those people who clicked a graphic and were too shy to write a review.

Thus whilst StumbleUpon traffic is great, the button I was using, because it only links through to a review form, might not have been helping me, in fact it might have been a negative for gaining votes, reducing the amount your best content is shared with others.

Digg

None of my content is written specific to a Digg audience. I try to write good “in-depth” content and generally many of my articles are not appropriate for the mainstream Digg audience.

Those articles that are appropriate appear to hit a well known phenomena, as happened on my article on Digg friends (which wasn’t about gaming Digg) or my in-depth review of PayPerPost Direct.

My recent articles on WordPress SEO, contain far more valuable information than the majority of “SEO Tips” articles that seem to make the front page of Digg.
Digg users often have short attention spans, and seem to prefer Digging shorter articles – I am sorry but I am not going to write short articles just for traffic. If an article needs more words, I am going to use them.

I am going to continue including the Digg button, because eventually I believe some of my content might become more appreciated by a wider Digg audience.

Technorati Favorites

The button was duplicating something I already include in my sidebar. I will still be reciprocating, many people find it valuable and it is my way of adding people to various OPML tools I am playing with.
There wasn’t a need to have the button in quite such a prominent position.

I maintain my Technorati Favorites with EngTech’s Technorati Favorites tool, the version from 23/05/2007 is working currently (see comments) – remember to clean up your favorites.

An example of how I use the OPML from my Technorati Favorites is the meme I created on Megite for the Technorati Favetrain.

The only way to be added to this special meme is to add me to your Technorati Favorites, and I reciprocate automatically.

This is how I get to read so many blogs, and seem to appear on blogs all over the blogosphere that have interesting articles.

PlugIM – New Addition

I have been a member of PlugIM for quite a while, and have always found it to be a good source of quality articles focused primarily on internet marketing.

Whilst many people might look on this as some kind of duplication with Bumpzee and the affiliate marketing community there, there is actually only a partial overlap in readership, especially among the dedicated reader base.

PlugIM is very much a niche community, whereas Bumpzee caters for many different communities, one widget fits all.
There are currently hundreds of niche communities which utilise some form of voting script.

Many might look on them as being Digg clones.

If you are a Digg user, let’s be totally honest – do you want the hottest knitting pattern for this coming season (yeah knitters will be thinking about Winter clothing already) appearing on the front page of Digg?

Until Digg caters for all topic areas, there is room for clones. Knitting is probably a bigger niche than Tech industry news.

Now for me, PlugIM is appropriate for my niche, I think it deserves a spot in prime real estate.

I have been waiting a little while to mention Michelle’s PlugIM plugin

When it was first launched it didn’t have the flexibility I needed to position it in the “prime real estate” that I wanted, but it is there now.

It is also very “light” in coding, just 4kb, and I hope it doesn’t affect load time too heavily. It certainly won’t be a factor on single pages. My front page is probably going to change somewhat as I make a lot of SEO changes.

One great advantage of the PlugIM plugin is that once an article is already submitted (which happens automatically because they pick up your RSS feed), you don’t have to be logged into PlugIM to vote, or even be a member.

I am also a marketer – PlugIM is designed for marketers and isn’t selfish – when someone votes on your content, it doesn’t take them away from your website.

Bumpzee

Bumpzee stays

I get a huge amount of traffic from Bumpzee on a daily basis, many of my readers are active users, and I maintain one of the largest communities on Bumpzee for blogs that have removed nofollow from their comments area.

In many ways Bumpzee is more like a social network than a social news or bookmarking site.

Bumpzee is the most multi-purpose voting widget, because the service caters for any niche.

Del.icio.us

I am going to integrate something for Del.icio.us with my next major overhall. I find myself using it more frequently for content I really want to keep a bookmark of for future reference.
It is most likely going to be using Feedburner’s Feedflares.

Netscape

I know a few readers use Netscape, though I have seen only limited usage of it where it has been provided in Feeds for the last 6 months.

Someone browsing your site from Netscape might be doing it with a sidebar with a voting button, so in many ways providing a button is superfluous.

Other Services

I am always on the lookout for services that would be useful to add, which my readers would actually find useful. I can provide lots of different buttons using the hacked version of Sociable I use, if readers are going to use them.

If there is a social bookmark service that you actually use on a regular basis, and would like me to add, please let me know.

Facebook? Well I have included it in my feed for a long time, it doesn’t seem to be used

Other Optimization

I am going to start adding some additional optimization, such as custom greetings for each source of traffic.

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Comments

  1. says

    Whilst all of these (with the exclusion of PlugIM, which I haven’t yet tried) are definitely social sites, I’m not convinced they’re all useful for bookmarking. For example, where’s the easy way to retrieve something you’ve “bookmarked” on Digg?

    It may just be down to a different interpretation of the word bookmarking, but for me, del.icio.us is definitely a bookmarking site, and the remainder aren’t.

    I’m sure you’re aware that with del.icio.us, you’re able to save your bookmarks in Firefox, even replacing the internal bookmarking system in the browser. It’s very easy to retrieve them too. I’m not convinced you can do that with the other services you mention; you might as well use Spicypage or coRank for passing links to others. At least their users are not as snarky as some on Digg.

    Just my 2 euros worth.

    • says

      I agree that some of the services the search facilities currently preclude using them for personal bookmarking, though in many ways the sharing features are better.
      I do use some Del.icio.us integration with Firefox, though I don’t replace my standard bookmarking with Del.icio.us – there are some bookmarks I want to keep totally private.

      PlugIm is one of hundreds running on scripts such as Pligg – it is one of the best implementations I have seen of the script and heavily customised, and popular within its specific niche.

      Lots of services I use to share good resources with others rather than bookmarking them because I want to return to it myself at a later date.

  2. says

    This is actually something I’ve been thinking of all weekend, which buttons to keep and which to remove, balancing the three issues of page weight, which ones my readers actually use, and which ones bring traffic. When I do my write up I’ll definitely send a trackback. Thanks for helping me decide.

  3. says

    Thanks Andy for this great low-down. Ive just joined Bumpzee and My Blog Log in the last week and the difference in the traffic to my blog the birds & the beads is very interesting. Its also nice to have some hard feedback on just who is visiting it via thier widgets. I wasnt sure which of the others might be best for my blog, so your post today is a great help. Cheers! Lavender

    • says

      StumbleUpon without question is my biggest source of traffic to this blog, but that doesn’t mean having the button is a benefit.

  4. says

    Andy, fantastic post. I’ve done very little with social bookmarking on my site. I’ve wanted to do more but have felt a little overwhelmed by the options and wasn’t sure where to start and exactly the best way to implement. After reading this post, I’m more confident about where to start my research and why. Thanks for the informative post.

  5. says

    I’ll admit, I have yet to get my head fully around social bookmarking. Like you said, bumpzee is more a social networking site and that is why I like using it. I quite like the interaction. However, with sites like digg, I don’t like the fleeting nature and random factors, that is perhaps why I don’t use the buttons. Does ‘not’ putting social bookmarking buttons hamper your productivity?

  6. says

    Hey Andy,
    Great post! Made me think: what about social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook. I recently noticed that nytimes.com has a button for Facebook so you can post its content directly into your Facebook account. Any plans to incorporate something like this to your site? What are the pros and cons in your opinion?

  7. says

    Hi Andy – glad to see you were able to get the PlugIM Plugin working where you wanted it to now that the plugin allows for placement customization.

    I consider sites like PlugIM, Digg, etc. as “story submission” services, Delicious obviously as a social bookmarking service, and StumbleUpon somewhere in between.

    StumbleUpon brings me the most traffic, with PlugIM bringing me the second most… What I like about PlugIM is that it very targeted traffic, whereas StumbleUpon isn’ as much – less return visitors, less clickthoughs on my links, etc. People from there are oftentimes just “stumbling” through sites, from my experience.

  8. says

    BUMPzee really is a great choice, especially now that people can create communities based around whatever topic. While the filtering is not there yet, the community is likely to still attract readers interested in a specific topic, and I have found my BUMPzee readers to be more active readers than any other segment I have received traffic from.. I’d prefer 10 BUMPzee readers to 50 or so of any other kind of reader any time from an active participation standpoint.

    I’m highly digg resistant simply because I don’t generally write for the digg demographic and I strongly suspect getting dugg, for me, would be like eating empty calories. All these hits and nothing to show for them but extra bandwidth around the hips.

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  1. [...] Andy Beard. His writing is always detailed, insightful and easy to read, as his most recent post on how to choose the right social bookmarking sites shows. Some great tips on the differences between the major sites, how to implement them for [...]