Look. I get it. We all want distribution, and readership. And we want to make it easy for people to share our content on the networks they use. But don’t do this. Putting every. single. social widget you can find on your site isn’t smart — it’s desperate.
I love what Nick Denton, Gawker CEO, says about social widgets. I think it’s dead on in this, and many other, instances.
“These sites festooned with social media buttons–they look like primitive tribesmen clutching pathetically onto shiny baubles they believe to the symbols of modernity,” quoth Denton.
Here’s why it sucks:
- It mucks up your user experience – what are people supposed to do here?
- It takes away from the core content – what am I supposed to be looking at?
- It ruins your design.
- It shows a lack of focus – you should know what your users want to use and don’t want to use. Pick the ones that really drive your business and ditch the rest.
- It hurts social proof – having 100 likes on something is one thing. Having 3 Diggs and 14 Stumbles and 9 LinkedIn shares, shows your audience that this content really isn’t going anywhere, on any network. So why should they share it. Social proof works both ways.
So please, don’t do this. Instead, look at your traffic and user behavior and understand the networks that really drive traffic for your site, and focus on those. Let random one-offs copy and paste the URL to where they want to share it. You’ll create a better user experience, keep your design clean, keep your site looking professional, and amplify the channels that actually matter for your site.