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Enabling social bookmarking and link sharing for your web content October 14, 2009

Posted by farshidk in Social media, Web 2.0.
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In a previous post “Shall we bookmark?” I discussed social bookmarking and covered several of the social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon. In this post I briefly describe how you can easily add social bookmarking buttons to your web pages or blog posts so that a reader or visitor to your blog can use any of such sites to bookmark your blog post or page.

There are several services that have made this very easy by packaging up access to numerous social bookmarking sites into a dialog or pop-up window configured as a single button that can easily be added to your pages without any programming. I cover three such services here — AddThis, AddToAny and ShareThis — here.

AddThis (www.addthis.com)

This service provides pre-configured buttons and simple procedures for adding them to the services that they support out of the box (WordPress, Blogger, and MySpace) as well to a general website. For WordPress.com you simply add a widget to your template for this purpose. I have in fact used this service to add a social bookmarking button to this very blog on WordPress.com that you are reading. The pop-up box is shown in Figure 1 below.

AddThis Social bookmarking button popup

Figure 1: AddThis bookmarking & sharing button pop-up

Note however that applying the button takes you to a new page away from the blog  to a new page with the box below, instead of showing you the box in the same page, which is the intended and desired behavior of the button. The reason for this is that WordPress for security reasons does not allow any JavaScript which this button and its pop-up require to work properly. Even if you paste the button code with the JavaScript to the blog widget, WordPress.com automatically strips out its JavaScript.

AddThis also provides a toolbar so that you can add its bookmarking button to your browser toolbars.

AddToAny (www.addtoany.com)

The other service is AddToAny which provides you with a configurable button with access to a long list of sites for bookmarking and sharing. Figure 2 below the AddToAny pop-up box with this service. Note that this is an expandable box and once expanded it provides links to numerous other bookmarking and sharing services.

AddToAny bookmarking & sharing expnadable box

Figure 2: AddToAny bookmarking & sharing expandable button pop-up

This service however is different from AddThis in that you insert the widget into an individual post and not the blog container. So you need to add the button to every individual blog post. It does provide you with a button that can be added to your browser toolbar so that you can easily insert the button on any page you are working on.

As mentioned before AddToAny also provides a subscription service. This service allows you to enable your viewers to subscribe to your blog as a feed using one of the listed services as a host. See Figure 3 below.

AddToAny subscription box

Figure 3: AddToAny subscription button pop-up

ShareThis (www.sharethis.com)

This is yet another service that provides a similar service in addition to other services such as address book consolidation. The bookmarking and sharing service is available for publishers (such as bloggers) packaged for WordPress (your own installed instance of WordPress), Blogger, and TypePad, as well as a scripted button for any other web site. It is also available for developers through an API. Figure 4 below shows the default ShareThis pop-up box which can also be customized.

sharethis

Figure 4. Sharing pop-up box from ShareThis

ShareThis also offers a toolbar for the browser so that you can easily bookmark any site you visit through their service. Another interesting feature that ShareThis offers is the reporting and analytics service which enables you to view reports on page view and frequency of shares on your content pages.

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Comments»

1. Justin Thorp - October 16, 2009

Hi, my name is Justin Thorp. I’m the Community Manager for AddThis. Thanks so much for the post and for using our tool.

I wish SOOO much that WordPress.com would allow us to have JavaScript so that our users could utilize the full functionality of our product. I have personally have a WordPress.com blog so it’s extra frustrating.

We actually also have a tool to make it easy to subscribe to RSS feeds. Go to this place and select the “RSS feeds” tab. – http://addthis.com/web-button-select

Let me know if there’s anything else that we can do to make the experience better for you. – justin@addthis.com

farshidk - October 17, 2009

Hi Justin, Thanks for your note and the info. I agree — without the JavaScript in the AddThis button defition, the interaction and flow is somewhat awkward. Best.

2. Caberefsuness - December 11, 2009

Awesome, I did not heard about that up to the present. Cheers!

3. Derek Dole - February 24, 2010

Some of the CMSs provides this functionality out of the box. (as Kentico CMS). While others offers this as a add-on (Umbraco).


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