Social bookmarking provides a plethora of benefits three of which are essential for marketing success whichever your area of business: Quick Indexing, Traffic Generation and Personal Branding.
(icons courtesy of www.komodomedia.com)
With Quick Indexing you receive the fastest method of having any webpage or web site visited by the major search indexers which is a must for anyone serious about generating traffic. Submitting your site to any of the popular social bookmarking sites like Digg, Stumble Upon or a service like Only Wire can result in having Google, Yahoo and Bing robots crawl your site within the first 24 hours.
Traffic Generation naturally follows the indexing of your site as you’ll receive a few hits but since you will also be tagging your posts etc, more traffic comes from the submission to these social bookmarking sites. Your traffic becomes more targeted due to your tags. This in turn can create return visitors if you have a well designed and content rich site or article.
Even the smallest business gains from using Personal Branding. Some of the social bookmarking sites even offer a personal page on their server which is more or less an enhanced profile you can use to list your websites or pages, link to those sites or publish content in whatever area you are involved in. This begins your branding of yourself as someone who is established in their market and gives you a better chance with the search engines and PR ratings.
Let’s also touch upon the topic of being friend(ed) by using the social bookmarks. With the usage of a social bookmark on your post or blog, someone who clicks it may, after reading the article, decide to friend you because the topic you wrote about or link you posted matched with their views or inspired them in such a way to want to know more about you or your company. Before you know it, your list of friends on the social networking sites will increase too thus bringing more traffic.
Back-linking is also accomplished by using the social bookmarking sites bringing even more traffic to your newly formed blog or website and having these quality back links may even get you frequented by the search engine robots bringing your PR rating up ever further.
So with the world being so interconnected through the internet and the hugely popular social networking web sites having more than millions of users daily with millions upon millions of posts, social bookmarking has become very popular. There are several well known social bookmarking widgets such as; AddThis or ShareThis, but there are others too, some of which allow you to customize their appearance provided you know some CSS.
Social Bookmarking Widgets have done something designers have been trying to do for years: ‘de-clutter’ a web page. It simply allows a designer to have their clean stylish design with minimal intrusion to it by grouping these icons into a neat little widget which usually fits nicely underneath any blog posting.
So how do you know which social bookmarking tool is best for you? How do you set one up? Can it be customized to look like my web site or blog? Yes, yes and yes again, but the last yes is dependent upon your coding skills. As I mentioned before you’ll need to know some CSS to adjust the look and feel of the widget, but most of them allow alterations to be done with minor knowledge of coding.
The first one is probably the most widely used as it is currently in use by the White House and other government agencies. AddThis provides a simple yet effective way to share your post and provide an easy bookmark to your readers. They boast having the largest collection of bookmarks around, support over 50 different languages, use analytics and it’s completely customizable. They even offer a tool-box feature which lets you get really creative. AddThis also offers a variety of plug-ins and extensions for your favorite blogs as well as toolbars for the different browsers.
ShareThis has a special feature which remembers what you’ve shared so if you share a link on Facebook the service saves a log of the activity into your ShareThis account. It is also available as a bookmarklet as well and can be very useful for the browsers like chrome or those not supporting add-ons. They are also the only bookmarking widget which allows the sharing of content through SMS messages in addition to linking to AIM and email. ShareThis provides analytics and a few ways to customize their widget, but full customization is not permitted. They do however provide a standard icon button, a sharing bar or a rotating icon which makes up a bit for the lack of customization.
3. Add To Any
Add To Any provides a great service which detects social services that your visitors use and places them first inside the widget. Its detection methods are not known to the author but I’d guess they are derived from reading the browser history of the visitor. With a simple page design and automatic visitor detection this rates pretty well.
4. Moo Socialize
Moo Socialize is based on AJAX and integrates many bookmarks into each blog posting you have. A nifty feature of this little widget is that it doesn’t open your link in a different window or page but a nice and clean hovered layer. Their code offers email integration as well letting you send the page or link to someone on the road. Customization requires some programming knowledge. Screenshot below (click to get to the source page): 5. Sexy Bookmarks
The Sexybookmarks Widget has an easy installation procedure both for Blogger and WordPress users and has what this author believes to be the best graphics and effects. It handles all the major social networking sites. The code is a bit long, but well worth the extra weight inside your file as this widget combines the best of both worlds (functionality and visual appeal ). Screenshot below – click to get to the source page: 6. Socio Fluid
The SocioFluid widget has a great little hover feature which operates in a Mac-style menu and allows for easy creation using its form. You can customize this widget using many options like the size of the icon, which links you wish to provide and whether or not to have the links open in the same or a different window. Screenshot below (click to get to source page): 7. Only Wire
Only Wire headlines its bookmarking widget with being the complete bookmarking solution and it syndicates your articles to the web’s top social networking sites simultaneously. They offer a free version and a paid version. The free version is limited to being placed prominently on the content or article section of the website or blog. Their code periodically checks to see if you have kept with your agreement and will disable your account if not kept as well as an advertisement from Only Wire. The paid version has no such restrictions, nor does it have any advertisements.
8. The Bookmarketer
9. Tell a Friend
Tell a Friend provides similar options but takes sharing to a new level by making it easy for customers that love your product to recommend it to as many friends as possible. Tell a Friend can be easily embedded in various blog and CMS platforms or on your website and it has the power to publish your site to so many channels. An account is required in order to get the button.
Screenshot below (click tot get to source page).
10. Social List
Social List.org is a very easy to embed social bookmarking button, which you can get at SocialList.org.
Now let us look at the different features available from the above listed widgets.
- Multiple Languages = the widget supports different languages.
- Customizable = the possibility to customize the look of the widget and its icons.
- Analytics = the widget provides option for analysis of the data
- Privacy = whether or not your personal information is secure or shared with third parties
- Flash Capable = the widget offers an option to share flash content via the widget itself
- Browser Plugin = if the maker of the widget also provides a browser plugin.
- Email = the widget allows emailing
- API’s = the widget uses API calls
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Know another social bookmarking widget that is worth mentioning? We’ll be happy to take a look and update our list!