Social bookmarking, beginning with Digg and Delicious, heralded the Web 2.0 era of the internet. Since then, social bookmarking has evolved and grown with only a handful of the original social bookmarking sites retaining some sort of relevance (Reddit, StumbleUpon, to name a few). Yet, social bookmarking can send your website hundreds of thousands of visitors overnight (aka the ‘Digg Effect’).
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Below, we take a look at five of the most popular social bookmarking websites and how to best use them:
Reddit is the self-styled ‘front page of the internet’. The numbers bear out this claim: it is the 49th most visited website in the US and served 37 billion page views in 2012. This traffic has only grown in the first six months of 2013 with even Barack Obama hosting a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the website.
Tips for Sharing on Reddit
- There are sub-reddits (categories) for virtually everything on Reddit. Sharing your links on the most relevant sub-reddit is crucial to getting the highest possible traffic.
- Reddit is very strict about spam. Share genuine links and get involved in the discussions to derive maximum mileage from your shares.
- If you are even remotely famous or have a unique life experience, consider doing an AMA for additional traffic.
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You’d have to be living under a rock to not know about Twitter, which Alexa ranked as the 11th most visited website in the US. Twitter is less of a social bookmarking site and more of a social sharing site. Still, it can generate massive amounts of traffic with the right content.
Tips for Sharing on Twitter
- The key to being successful on Twitter is to be topical and relevant. Tweeting about Marc Antony and JLo’s breakup when the British Royal baby is being revealed won’t get you much traffic. Keep a close eye on current happenings across the globe, and share only relevant tweets.
- Humor goes a long way in keeping your followers interested on Twitter.
- Creating (and courting) controversy is the easiest way to get noticed on Twitter. But be careful not to harm your own reputation as you parade around like a Twitter drama queen!
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Throughout its long history (it was sold to Ebay before the original founders bought it back), StumbleUpon has been the go-to destination for literally, stumbling upon links. The website still retains a very healthy user-base (it is the 221st most popular website in the world) with millions of unique visitors each month.
Tips for Sharing on StumbleUpon
- StumbleUpon favors entertainment and ‘fun’ (think cat pictures and rage comics) links over more serious subjects.
- For additional traffic, try using StumbleUpon’s unique ‘Paid Discovery’ advertising service.
Pinterest was the breakthrough website of 2012 and now ranks as the 15th most visited website in the US. Pinterest is for sharing pictures, not links – a medium that makes it perfect for the current image-centric nature of the internet. You can create ‘pin-boards’ on particular subjects and themes and pin any image from across the internet on it.
Tips for Sharing on Pinterest
- Pinterest’s user base remains predominantly female, so sharing links/pictures that interest this demographic is vital to successful sharing on Pinterest.
- Pinterest’s strength is its striking visual content. If your pictures aren’t up to par, you can forget about getting much shares or traffic.
- Organize pictures according to themes, ideas and subjects. Pinterest pin-boards tend to rank well on Google, so consider using SEO-optimized pin-board URLs (/best-chocolate-chip-cookies/ for example).
5. Hacker News
Hacker News is a niche social bookmarking site for entrepreneurs, coders and hackers. Although much, much smaller than the above, it has a very active, enthusiastic community that loves to share high quality content. A link on the first page of Hacker News can easily send you over 100,000 unique visitors. More importantly, it puts you before an influential community of venture capitalists, angel investors and tech-stars, plenty of whom have Hacker News as their home-page by default.
Tips for Sharing on Hacker News
- Spam will be downvoted into oblivion on Hacker News, so think twice before sharing any link.
- Technology and entrepreneurship are two of the biggest content categories on Hacker News, so make sure you share only topically relevant links.
- You can get feedback from the community by doing a “Ask HN” post. If you have a new product or technology, you can showcase by putting “Show HN” in the post title.
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There are plenty of great bookmarking sites in the world (SlashDot, FARK, LinkedIN, Google+). What are your favorites that we’ve overlooked in this list? Share in the comments below!