Sometimes it’s easy to forget the simple approaches work the best. Social bookmarking is a simple, effective way to increase visibility for your website, so let’s review the basics.
In a nutshell, social bookmarking lets the online community find and recommend Web content. According to Wikipedia, it is “a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages…”
In a world where the amount of information is making it ever more difficult to find what you want, this form of “social searching” is an increasingly efficient way to find needed content. Some observers suggest that the pace of growth will outstrip traditional search engines’ ability to find relevant content, so that social search will come to dominate the search industry.
Irrespective of punditry, social bookmarking allows your business to provide a way for your community to share content through sending URLs to colleagues and friends, and tagging and commenting on the quality of such sites.
The most popular social bookmarking sites are:
- Delicious – Users label their bookmarks with tags that relate to the content. As of the time of writing, it had more than five million users and 150 million bookmarked URLs. Most businesses will benefit from setting up an account on Delicious and label their own sites with desirable tags. However, it is unadvisable to systematically set up link farms where you hire someone to mindlessly bookmark your pages. Let your content speak for itself by allowing other users to bookmark your pages.
- Digg – Focus is mainly on news, images and videos, and allows people to submit links and stories, and also to vote on those. “Digging” refers to voting a story up, “burying” is when a story is voted down. You can set up an account and submit your own stories to Digg. However, the site administrators penalize users who post items only from the same URLs, so the manager of your Digg account should also post items from other sites.
- StumbleUpon – customizes search results according to user-defined preferences. The user can install a “Stumble!” button in the browser’s toolbar. When clicked, a Web page is displayed, based on the user’s preferences as well as his or her ratings of previously “Stumbled” pages, or ratings of friends and users with similar preferences.
These sites provide branded widgets that website owners can embed to allow users to share their URL (bookmark) with a single click. Better still, this activity can be pushed to social sites such as Facebook and Friendfeed, so that bookmarking becomes a social activity with broad impact.
Rather than embedding each of these in your Web pages, you can use a social bookmarking application such as AddThis.
According to their Web site, AddThis is “the #1 bookmarking and sharing button on the Internet.” You add a snippet of code to their Web page (preferably in an include file that is served to all pages). The button creates a pull-down menu that enables the user to select from a range of options, including
- Adding to social bookmark sites such as Delicious and Digg
- Adding the page to the user’s favorites
- Emailing to a friend
The service provides analytics so you can see what services are most often used to bookmark pages. There is no fee to use the AddThis service.