Online social sharing tools have been around since del.icio.us launched in 2003. Now, after almost a decade of social bookmarking and sharing online, it’s clear that link sharing tools come and go. I don’t know about you, but when Yahoo! threatened to shut down delicious, I exported my bookmarks and never looked back. And how many of your friends are still using Digg? Meanwhile, Google+ just joined the party this year and Pinterest is starting to hockey stick.
So if you haven’t updated the sharing tools on your blog for a few years, it may be time to ditch some of the old buttons in favor of some new ones. Take a look at your Google Analytics and consider which sites drive traffic and which do not. If a sharing site hasn’t driven any traffic in the last six months, ditch the button. You don’t need the clutter. Plus, if it’s a widget that loads within an iframe, it can really slow down the loading time of your page.
Next consider which new buttons you should add. Do your analytics show referrals from link sharing sites that you are missing? Add them. Then consider the newcomers like Google+ and Pinterest. It’s still too soon to tell whether Google+ will really take off, but considering how it can boost your results in Google search, you should add the +1 button for now. If you have a blog related to fashion, home decor, crafts, art, or food, the Pin It button is essential. I’ve found that at Feastie, Pinterest drives more traffic than any other social sharing tool besides Facebook. I attribute this to the close match between the Pinterest demographic and the Feastie audience as well as the relatively high signal to noise ratio compared to other sites like twitter. Finally, consider adding the Linked In share button. The links people share on Linked In are mostly work related. That’s why I included the Linked In share button here but not at Feastie.
What social sharing widgets have you included on your blog?