Social Bookmarking vs. Visual Clutter

Andrew Krespanis

Some of our recent blog posts have ended up on the front page of Digg and del.icio.us, garnering a massive influx of traffic. Traffic spikes to webmasters are like the first taste of candy to a child — once you’ve had that taste, you want more, more, MORE!. Ahem. You get the picture.

Following this, we had some extensive discussions about whether we should add the oft-seen “Digg This” and “Post to Del.icio.us” buttons to all our blog posts. One side of the debate is that it makes it easier for people to post the content to these services, the other being that people who use these services will already have a familiar method of posting items of interest; eg: bookmarklets/favelets.

As you can see from the bottom of this post, we decided to go with the buttons. The one thing we could all agree on is that this collection of buttons would not be allowed to grow into the frequently spotted and just as frequently ridiculed mass of buttons representing every social bookmarking service in that crowded corner of the web. If you do decide you want to offer your readers 40,001 ways to bookmark your content, please, consider something like the Share This WordPress plugin rather than a blinding cluster of favicons for each site.

So now I’m handing the mic over to you, our readers. Should we have added these links? If so, are there other services you’d like to see embraced?

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  • Rick

    People who use social bookmarking sites to any degree at all probably have their own tools for posting. For example, I use the del.icio.us add-on for Firefox, which makes tagging a one-click proposition. I never use the buttons provided at the bottom of the blog post. Just my .02.

    Rick
    FatBloggers.net

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    I have to agree with Rick.

    I will Digg if the article is really sensational. Otherwise, I use my Firefox del.icio.us plugin.

  • chezza

    I like the buttons – I never go to Digg (too full of puerile teenagers) but I will digg an article I like if it has a button.

    I think the buttons are good for occasional social bookmarkers rather than regular ones – I’m sure the regular users have their own methods, but I might click on a button if I liked the article and there’s a button there, but I’d never bother actually going to Digg to vote.

  • http://www.ex-designz.net dexterz

    I haven’t tried those buttons in my site yet. I don’t know if my site will benefit it. I read some good and bad about these buttons.

  • http://www.ryanprice.ca Ryan Price

    I’m using Share This on my blogs, and it works great. Lets users have the flexibility of using their preferred bookmarking site while taking up the space of a single one.

  • Insomn3ak

    I agree that if I wanted to Digg an article here, I could easily copy and paste the link into Digg myself. However, the buttons make it one step easier. Plus, not everyone knows about the firefox plug-ins (but if your looking at SitePoint…you arguably SHOULD know about them) so it makes it easier for those people as well.

    The social bookmarking sites haven’t gotten to the point where they’re used by the average Joe, as much as they are used by clusters of people interested in certain topics (usually tech, politics, current events, and entertainment to a lesser extent). Those people are almost certain to know about the latest browser plug-ins for these sites. I believe they’re also know as…geeks! Not everyone wants to clutter their toolbars with them though.

    As long as you only have links to the top 2 sites though, I think they’re ok.

  • joaquin_win

    You Should think of adding the same buttons to your feeds ;)

    I came from Google Reader and there I cannot use firefox’s del.icio.us extension because of the ajaxy Reader I use…

    It would be one less clic for me ;)

  • vinoth

    I do think the social bookmarking sites like DIGG are pretty useful and they lead you traffic and placing buttons to those sites would no cause trouble for u .

  • HomerJSimpson

    I do agree with Vinoth…Social bookmarking are a short period of traffic and the conversion is pretty low. Also remembers if you are using share server you might have a problem with your host because the amount of the bandwith :)

    Homer

    vinaArcade.com

  • http://www.dustindiaz.com polvero

    I personally ignore them on all sites. And I think most folks also ignore them. People know how to use del.icio.us. And people know how to use Digg. Whenever I come across a site with those buttons, for whatever reason, I get that feeling like the content I’ve just read just became a bit cheaper. I can’t explain why… but it’s like you’re no longer original any more. Since when did Sitepoint ever have to join in with the crowds?

  • http://www.digitalgreenlight.com busy

    It’s a good idea. I rarely use del.icio.us so I usually won’t remember unless I see a reminder.

  • http://www.hyperdogmedia.com/ HyperDogMedia

    Web site visitors have never been more pressed for time. Will they take the trouble of an extra click or two? How about to visit digg or delicious and paste in a URL? Only if the content is worth it!

    I think the best strategy is to begin narrowing the number of social bookmarking icons as the market narrows choices, and as your target market’s profile begins to match the niche(s) certain social bookmarking websites.

  • http://thechrisblackwell.com Chris Blackwell

    Good call on the buttons. I think we need to see more of this on some major news sites and alike. I don’t use Digg that often but I normally check to see what is on the homepage. I love del.icio.us and use it everyday.