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