Fads come and go. Social networking and linking to third-party sites seems to be today's craze. We live and operate in a Web 2.0 world.
If you are a developer of web sites, or even if you just have your own, chances are you are already familiar with a number of social networking, social bookmarking, or general social sites. Today, it is all about Web 2.0 and about getting the community to work with you. It has been shown that if you can get your content picked up on some of the social sites, that you can greatly increase your traffic. Getting "Slash Dotted" or getting to the top of Digg can result in tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people coming to your page.
Of course, knowing which social sites to associate with your site is the trick. Today's social sites might not be tomorrow's. Consider SecondLife. Last year it was making headlines everywhere. The fad was to associate your company and your sites to Secondlife. It was making headlines everywhere. Today, SecondLife is still popular, but it is not the end-all, be-all it was prophetized to be.
Today, it is sites like FaceBook, Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Dzone, and LinkedIn that get attention. These sites are the ones helping to drive people to other areas on the Web. In some cases, it is simply a matter of placing your link; in others, it is a matter of simply socializing with others and letting them know what you are doing. It is easy to add links to your site to get others to help associate your page to these Web 2.0 properties. In fact, it is rare that you can read an article and not see at least a few links to such sites. On this blog entry, you can click a link below to associate this to del.icio.us, Digg, Furl, Google Bookmarks, and StubmleUpon. You should feel free to click these and associate this blog entry.
Knowing which to link to is not necessarily an easy thing to determine. In general, however, I would recommend that you limit the number of items you link your content to. After all, you are better off getting a a lot of people on a few links rather than a few people on a lot of links.
Want to go overboard? I recently was asked to review a site's social network links. The number of links was so nebulous that it was mind boggling. I believe when you have over fifty choices for your readers, you've gone overboard. In fact, most people are likely to be unable to name 50 such web properties, especially when all you provide are their icons.
Could you name 50?
As a little test for you, I've included most of the icons from the site I was asked to review. They are shown below. How many of the 90 can you name? If you can get over 50 of them, you spend too much time on the Web. As a note, the title property has been set in the HTML for each icon iamge shown. As such, you can find out what each icon links to by simply hovering your mouse cursor over it.
So, as you are creating that next web site or updating a current one, feel free to add a few Web 2.0 links. Do however, consider which are best for your site and don't just plaster them on because it seems like the thing to do.
And for fun, comment on how many could you name!