Are Social Bookmarking Buttons Useless? - Blogger help, tips and hacks

Are Social Bookmarking Buttons Useless?

A poll about the use of social bookmarking buttons was set up on Dosh Dosh a week or two ago and it received 221 votes by readers and other visitors.

I’ve just ended the poll and I wasn’t really surprised with the results because they cohered with my personal experiences.

I’ll be the first to say that I have never used any social bookmarking buttons on any website or blog that I’ve come across. All my bookmarks or page submissions are done via a combination of official and third party bookmarklets or tools.

I guess I never developed the habit of using the bookmark icons for some reason. Before I examine the poll results, let’s do an introduction to social bookmark buttons.

What are Social bookmarking or voting buttons?

These are simply small icons or text links which allow you to easily bookmark the webpage you are reading by saving a link to it on an online bookmarking website. Some of these icons also allow you to submit the webpage to a variety of social voting websites, whereby other users of the social website can vote for it, if they find it interesting.

You’ll need to first register with the various social websites before you can start using the icons you see to bookmark the article. A good place to start is through this list of the top 25 most popular social bookmarking/voting websites online.



Social Bookmarking Usage Poll Results

Here are the results for the poll:

  • 45% of users never used them (99 votes)
  • 37% of users use them (81 votes)
  • 19% of users don’t know what they are (41 votes)

According to the results, 64% of voters do not use social bookmarking buttons, with 19% of them not knowing what they are at all. Out of the 37% of voters who use the buttons, there is probably a large number of them who already know how to bookmark through other means as well.

I don’t think social bookmarking or voting buttons are necessary for any website but I keep them up because they can serve as reminders for your visitors to bookmark or share the article with others. If I had to choose between text links or icons, I would probably pick text links because they seem to be more instructive and direct.

Reduce Social Bookmarking Clutter

You can easily set up social bookmarking/voting buttons for your blog but try not to display too many icons: they can create too much clutter and most of the time, nobody or very few people use the less popular web services.

I would suggest sticking with popular social websites like del.icio.us, Digg and Reddit. Stumbleupon buttons are quite useless because I think most stumblers are more familiar with highlighting + thumbing up a web page they fancy.

It’s also important to pick a social voting option that suits the theme of your blog, mainly because you want your content submitted and shared with an audience that appreciates it.

You might also want to provide an emailing alternative for your readers because some of them will indeed prefer to share a web page via email, instead of just social bookmarking or voting it.


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