Since I’m a full-on nerd, I’m entitled to use the term “pseudo-nerd.” After all, while not everyone aspires to be a full-on nerd like me, I’ll bet you’d partially cave to nerd status if you found a simple tool that could:
1. Help promote your blog or website
2. Make it EASY for new, targeted traffic to FIND your content
3. Do those two things easier and more naturally than a trucker slipping a tip into a stripper’s g-string.
Are you with me? Let’s talk social bookmarking.
What is social bookmarking?
If you’ve ever added a website to your “favorites” in your browser of choice, social bookmarking is the same thing. But there’s one super-squirrel-awesome difference: when you add a site or blog post to a social bookmarking site, you’re adding it to a HUGE database of “favorites” that users of that site can see! Imagine the inherent coolness (yet overbearing clunkiness) of having one web browser that everyone shared with one big “favorites” bar. That’s social bookmarking in a nutshell.
Why should I use social bookmarking?
If you have a website or a blog that you never want anyone new to visit, by all means ignore this section. Social bookmarking offers the users of a particular social bookmarking site the opportunity to find content they might be interested in using things like tags and categories. In plain pseudo-nerd English, that means if I’m over on Digg or Stumble Upon, I can discover new content related to Business or Pets with the click of a button. And that single click is a pretty cool way to let other people know about your content.
How hard is it to use social bookmarking?
It’s not. It involves registering for a site as a new user. Username and password. Sometimes a profile. That’s it.
Okay, so how do I use it to benefit my website or business?
Here’s a cool Random Redhead Fact: 20% of my web traffic comes from StumbleUpon. It used to be closer to 30%, but my organic traffic is on a serious upward trend (no complaints). Social bookmarking is simple: if you’re reading this, you have a blog (imma guessin’). If you’re powered by WordPress, you can install a simple Social Bookmarking plugin. At the top of this post, you’ll see Digg Digg (displays my Digg/Tweet/FB share/StumbleUpon buttons) and WP FB Like. I use BOTH the Facebook Share button from Digg Digg and the separate FB Like plugin because some people just don’t want to commit to sharing a post on FB with a comment as “share” implies – so I let them just “like” it. You can also use plugins like Sexy Bookmarks (another personal fave).
When you publish a new blog entry, submit it to the social bookmarking sites you’ve signed up for. I personally use Digg, StumbleUpon and Mixx (my latest addition) regularly. The choice is yours. I find that these three are great for not only sharing new content but driving new readers BACK to my site. And when you get those social bookmarking widgets installed on your posts, you make it easy for other readers to add additional votes to your content. Let’s talk more about that now.
How do most social bookmarking sites work?
It’s a voting system, essentially. Sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx and Reddit (and many others like Propeller and Yahoo! Buzz) use endorsement marketing to lend a bookmarked post more or less weight. What that means is that, yes, the voting system can be a little biased towards long-term, active users of the sites than new ones like yourself. But it’s not unlike blogging: you’re not going to build a readership like Copyblogger, Chris Brogan or PR-Squared right out of the chute. You have to earn your chops.
You earn your chops by being active. Submit content from sites other than your own (and in addition to your own). Leave comments. Connect with other users on those bookmarking sites. Build your network. I spend 30 minutes each day combined for all sites I participate in, adding new content and voting up other users’ submissions I like. Some days are a miss and others, I can’t stop bookmarking. Just remember to be active – that’s the key (and with a variety of content so the sites don’t view you as a spam account).
You said I could get new traffic and readers from these social bookmarking sites. How does that work?
When you submit content, you tag it with either tags, categories or both. Be sure to use the site’s pre-determined tags for most of your content (but there may be occasions where you need to create a new one, like “BP oil spill” or something). Now, take the time to get to know your social bookmarking sites of choice. Tool around in them and learn how to find content in your favorite categories. Most sites make it very easy to find main categories of content and will then show you the latest headlines submitted in those categories by other users. You can then click on that content and it’ll take you right to the post or site. BAM! One-click easy (told ya). This not only lets YOU discover new content, it brings new people to YOUR content in the same way.
Pro tip: if you’re smack-dab in the middle of writer’s block and need a blog idea for the day, try browsing content on a social bookmarking site. Works for me every time.
So there’s the basics on social bookmarking – and you are now officially a pseudo-nerd on the subject. If you’re curious about the best social bookmarking sites, eBizMBA publishes a monthly list (here is September’s). If anyone else out there uses social bookmarking and you have an add for anything I’ve shared here, PLEASE share it! That’s what the comments section is for. And if you have a question, let me know that as well. If I don’t know the answer, it’s likely someone on here does and we’ll get you squared away. And since I’m not the end-all, be-all on social bookmarking, here are a few more reads you might enjoy on the subject:
How to Digg (video – though from 2006, a solid 101 primer on the site)
And if you’re on StumbleUpon, Digg or Mixx – connect with me! And if you have profiles, leave them in your comments. We can all do with more connections! Here are my profiles: