I spend a lot of time auditing websites for clients, and geeking out in curious website research. Lately, I’ve noticed how many website make it VERY difficult to share their content or to simply locate where they are on social media networks. What’s even more concerning is that the websites offering the most native content are the biggest culprits!
They’re missing out!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that native content is king these days. And what does that mean? Any content that comes directly from a brand – content made by a brand, i.e. blogs, videos, photos, etc. Content that can ONLY be aligned with your business.
As the proliferation of marketing continues to work its way through all our favorite social networks, we’ve become numb to marketing messages, and that’s important to take into account. Because what sets your brand apart is the native content it’s producing, and how it’s utilizing that content to tell stories and share the brand values.
But you can make the best, coolest, most beautiful content on the web, and if it’s tough to share from your website OR it’s tough to find your social channels on your website – you’ll completely miss the mark. And all the content you’ve spent money or time on creating won’t benefit you in anyway.
That. is. tragic.
So I’ve put together action steps to upgrade your website for optimal social sharing. While ensuring a website is optimized for social sharing isn’t a complex topic – it’s one that’s CRUCIAL, and overlooked so often I had to write this article!
Let’s jump in:
1. Display social channels prominently on your Home page
When an Internet peruser comes to your website, it’s vital that your social media channels are displayed prominently or very easy to find.
If they have to spend time finding your social channels to follow you online – they won’t, and then they won’t be privy to all that awesome content you’re sharing.
Don’t overvalue your importance to visitors and/or think they’ll hunt you down.
2. Make social channels buttons open in a new tab
This is my biggest pet peeve for social sharing on websites – make sure whenever someone clicks on your social channel buttons that they open in a new tab.
You do NOT want them to leave your website – that’s where you make money! But you DO want their support on social media, so ensure that clicking a button doesn’t cover up your website with a social media website.
I can guarantee they won’t find their way back 8 out of 10 times.
3. Utilize clear and easy-to-use sharing buttons
If social media sharing buttons aren’t easy to find, they won’t share. Period.
Even in this day and age, I can’t tell you how many blogs I come across that don’t make it easy to find their sharing buttons!! Drives me crazy and I usually leave. Or send them a nasty note – no, I’m joking.
But if I love their content then it makes me feel like they don’t really care about sharing it, and that’s not a message you want to convey.
I suggest placing the sharing buttons at the top and bottom of posts. While side hanging bars can look cool (I have one that needs to be replaced #argh), they don’t optimize for mobile sites, and can wreak havoc when the Internet swishes the website on other browsers (happens all the time).
4. Use beautifully designed (and effective) social sharing plugins
I’ve seen some hideous social sharing buttons that were basically unusable and/or were placed somewhere that intercepted the content itself.
And update to something modern! Those outdated little boxes must go! They’re ugly, and people like pretty – so use attractive plugins for your sharing buttons.
Take the time to do your research to find effective and easy to install social sharing plugin that can optimize your shares.
5. Add Pinterest buttons to all your photos
All the photos on your website should be easily pinnable (yea, that’s a word now).
If you’re unsure of how to do this, Pinterest offers excellent tutorials to guide you along the way.
Even if your business doesn’t use Pinterest to market, it doesn’t matter – Pinterest drives a TON of traffic, and you never know how one addition could change your traffic sources.
6. Display social network buttons from the side bar
The side bar of your website is another way to get your readers to see you’re online and follow you.
Most templates come with social buttons installed for sidebar use, but if not, use a plugin for the sidebar.
It adds another layer to people being able to find you. And that’s what we want!
Overall, my message is simple – MAKE IT EASY to find your business online and share its content.
We’re all busy and hectic and running about the web with our heads cut off, so if your social networks buttons are hiding or the sharing buttons disappear, you’re throwing $$ out the window.
And we want the bling.
Alright, your turn – what am I missing??