Written by Aaron Charlie– Tue 20 Apr 2010
It can be tricky deciding how to choose your Social Bookmarking websites, and hard to know which are the best ones. You may wonder whether your subject matter is appropriate, what sort of audience they attract, or whether your bookmark will leave a dofollow link.
But confusion aside, social bookmarking sites are a key part of the Social Media and SEO mix - once you've decided which ones to use, bookmarking is an incredibly way of increasing exposure and traffic. It's also important to add some bookmarking widgets to your blog, to encourage others to recommend it - see our hands-on Training for Social Media, Training for SEO and Training for Blogging courses to learn more about this.
Read on for our list of the best Social Bookmarking sites and tips for how to use them.
Digg is definitely one of the top social bookmarking sites and subsequently tends to attract a mainstream audience. If you're writing on a niche subject and want your page to take off on Digg, stick to bite size chunks rather than lengthy explanations. A quick browse of the most dugg articles under technology demonstrates this, with catchy headlines and not the most well-written pieces you'll find on the web.
Del.icio.us is probably the most popular social bookmarking tool around, allowing you to tag your submissions with dozens of relevant and search engine friendly tags. The method of tagging content rather than categorising it has advantages and disadvantages: users seem to be attracted by this flexibility, but it does mean that it's sometimes hard to find what your searching for, and often difficult to get a post on a specific subject to take off.
With almost 9 million members at last count, StumbleUpon is another big player in the Social Bookmarking world and although again not the place for niche areas, it is the place to head to attract big traffic numbers.It is one of the best sites for making new contacts as you can follow those who StumbleUpon interesting stuff and even write a review on their profile - which will hopefully lead to them Stumbling your favourites and giving these more credibility. For basic bookmarking StumbleUpon should be included in your favourites, but for regular users there are some drawbacks as noted in this useful blog.
Like StumbleUpon above, this bookmarking site is less popular than Digg, so it's worth investing more time building up contacts and attempting to get your page to take off amongst the community. It is worth bearing in mind though that Reddit, even more than other bookmarking sites, will rarely allow a bookmark to be added of a news item if you're not the first to cover it and you're not adding anything new - therefore it's better to focus on adding useful and sustainable content (e.g. a guide, a commentary or a comparison). Also see this informative blog about some holes in Reddit that make it less easy to use than Digg. Unique takes on news items are more likely to take of on Reddit, but beware of the cliquey community and the lack of moderation (content isn't always work-safe). One downer is the "you're submitting too fast" warning that comes up if you try to submit two items just after each other.
These are our top 5 social bookmarking sites, but there are dozens of popular ones out there - Technorati being one that is popular. But with Bookmarking, we find it's best to choose a few favourites or you'll be spending your life on these sites! Do let me know if you have a favourite you think should be included though :-)
We've also just registered for more "serious" bookmarking site Business Exchange - has anyone tried using this?
The other interesting thing about social bookmarking sites (as opposed to news and trends aggregators such as popurls) is that they function like a social network - you can add friends, see what they're digging etc, comment and share your favourite content with them. This is where social bookmarking becomes more than just self-promotion - it's a chance to socialise, to share tastes and opinions, and to establish your personality. On this topic we're keen to get your opinion - we tend to overlook the social-side of bookmarking sites, as Twitter, Facebook and the like get most of our attention. Have you found "socialising" through bookmarking sites an effective marketing medium? As one blog about social bookmarking notes, to bookmark only your own content would be seen as spammy - the web is increasingly expecting us to get social.