Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you know that social bookmarking sites are the big trend nowadays with familiar names such as Slashdot, Digg and StumbleUpon. These sites are driven by users; they choose which content they want to bookmark, which are popularized, and which go to the bottom of the listings.
Taking advantage of the social bookmarking phenomenon can begin with placing a free AddThis.com or AddToAny.com button to your pages. If you add the OnlyWire button to your blog, you’ll allow visitors to share your site, and you’ll get the service for free that, with the OnlyWire Submitter for Mac, allows you to submit your own site to dozens of the top social networks at one time.
So what are the pros and cons of getting your site listed on the big social bookmarking networks? Most importantly, will they help you generate more income?
One issue is the quality of the traffic you receive. Social bookmarking traffic will differ from organic search engine traffic or newsletter traffic.
No Internet traffic should be considered useless. Targeted visitors are potential customers. However, not all traffic is created equal, and upon analysis, great differences become apparent.
An analysis of Google Analytics may reveal that the majority of traffic will result in few visitors that stay on your site for an extended length of time, who will explore other pages or sign up for your newsletter.
This is true of all traffic that comes to your site. The majority will not stay very long or go very deep. What you are looking for are those few loyal visitors who will explore and come back repeatedly because they find your content interesting and incredibly relevant to their current endeavour’s. That’s the definition of targeted traffic. Social bookmarking sites can offer this, because the content there is filtered according to interest.
When a Web surfer searches for a particular term and picks your website to visit from all the results (or least, those they look at) they come because they think you may have what they are looking for. This is targeted traffic — traffic that is more likely to read your page, look at your information, sign up for your newsletter or even order a product. They may become repeat visitors.
Visitors coming from an article or a blog post you have written have been exposed to your content and are obviously interested enough in it to visit your website In search of similar content. These are the types of visitors you want.
On the plus side, many have reported that the traffic generated from StumbleUpon stays longer and behaves much like organic traffic, possibly due to stumble upon being a higher quality site.
One advantage of the high PR7 and PR8 social sites is that they can help your search engine rankings. Should your website be featured on a site such as Digg, your link can appear in a large number of secondary sites, as many as 1000 or more.
So yes, social bookmarking can result in targeted traffic, but, as with all forms of Internet marketing, it is largely a “numbers game.” Since only a certain percentage of visitors will buy, the higher the total number of visitors you can get, the greater your sales. The question is, does social bookmarking result in a large number of visitors?
If a site is lucky enough to get featured on the front page of a prominent social media site, you can generate thousands of visitors to your site, or enough traffic to overload your server, although that’s a problem many of us wouldn’t mind having.
However, social bookmarking is largely a hit or miss affair. There are those who will tell you that they have received thousands of visitors to their site in a few weeks. Perhaps this is true, but it is not the norm. It is largely a roll of the dice. If one of the big bookmarking services picks up your link and displays it on them home page, or if enough regulars vote it there, then it can indeed result in huge traffic. The only problem is getting this to happen.
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