Increase traffic to your blog with Social Bookmarking

Have you ever felt like you’re talking but no-one’s listening? I’m sure that’s something most bloggers can relate to (even A-list bloggers like Darren Rowse), especially when you’re in the initial stages of developing a blog. One way to increase your exposure is through the use of so-called Social Bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon, and many others.

Image courtesy of Derbeth.

Wikipedia defines social bookmarking as:

…a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata.

Essentially these community-oriented sites are large collections of links to (generally) good quality content (articles, images, video, etc) that has been submitted by ordinary internet users like you or I. Conceptually this is no different to the functions that most web browsers provide to save the URLs of pages that you find interesting so that you can find them again in the future. The only difference is that these links are stored online, so they can be:

  • viewed by the general internet population (unless you designate them private for some reason)
  • retrieved from any computer with an internet connection

Characteristics of Social Bookmarking sites

There is a vast array of these sites, with new ones popping up all the time. With some variations, they are generally characterized by:

  • The ability for ordinary internet users to contribute links / content. Indeed the internet community is the life-blood of these sites; if no-one submitted links, they would cease to exist.
  • The ability for the community to vote submissions up and down. If you, the user, find something you like on a social bookmarking site, you have the ability to vote it up, and thus contribute to its popularity. If, on the other hand you find something you don’t like, you can do the opposite.
  • The cream rises to the top. This voting system means that popular content becomes more popular, whilst unpopular stuff gets buried. (There are no doubt many strategies to manipulate the popularity of various items, some legitimate, others less so; needless to say, going too far is likely to get you banned.)
  • This voting system makes these sites good places to discover interesting sites, particularly as a starting point for a surfing session, perhaps better than using Google, for instance.
  • Most social bookmarking sites also have a networking aspect to them; generally the most influential members have established connections (I hesitate to say relationships) with other members, which often lends weight to their submissions and votes.

Social Bookmarking sites as sources of traffic

So much for discovering other people’s interesting content. The interesting thing is: you can also submit your own content, and attract attention to your own site(s). Having said that, I would caution you to not go overboard with this – there’s a fine line between sharing and spamming, and overstepping the mark may get your account banned.

A better and more sustainable (not to mention beneficial) strategy is to get your readers to submit your content on your behalf. How do you do this? Well, for starters:

  • Write good content. This may not be enough in itself, but is the starting point for developing a good site.
  • Encourage your readers to share your content.

I realise there’s a catch-22 here: if you currently have no readers, how can they submit your content! Well, I guess the answer is to make use of your existing network (friends, colleagues, granny, etc) to get you started. Basically call in a few favours. Mixed in with a bit of judicious self-submission, this at least gets you listed, and with any luck it’ll grow from there.

Sociable plugin for WordPress

There’s a nifty plugin for WordPress users that makes it easier to invite submissions from your users. I use it on this site – have a look at the bottom of this post.

Unfortunately there is no way to go from zero to loads of traffic overnight (unless you’re prepared to pay for it), but, as with any technique, if you persistently utilise the suggestions in this article, over time you will see an increase in your traffic!

And now that you’ve finished reading this, how about submitting it to your favourite social site?

Related posts:

  1. Stumble your way to a Rush of traffic
  2. Collect traffic and backlinks by participating in Blog Carnivals

20 Responses to “Increase traffic to your blog with Social Bookmarking”

  1. Gravatar of Dale 1 Dale


    Thanks once again for your insights. I installed this plugin tonight and like what I see so far.

    Bye for now….

  2. Gravatar of kahthan 2 kahthan

    nice plugin, though i’m pretty unconvinced about how much we can get out of social networks for our niches. internet marketing and make money online blogs are kinda frowned upon as far the social networking sites are concerned.

  3. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 3 Rodney Smith

    Kahthan: I’ve actually had a couple of nice spikes from Stumbleupon this month (and I didn’t submit them myself, promise!). It tends to be pretty transient kind of traffic though, not nearly as valuable as good old organic search.

  4. Gravatar of kahthan 4 kahthan

    strangely enough, so have i recently but stumble traffic is not the most targeted sort sadly. i think squidoo / weebly / hubpages are the way to go and social bookmarking and sites like digg / propeller / delicious etc.. especially if you use the lenses/hubpages as revenue sharers.. :)

  5. Gravatar of Work At Home Ideas 5 Work At Home Ideas

    “…A better and more sustainable (not to mention beneficial) strategy is to get your readers to submit your content on your behalf. How do you do this? Well, for starters…”

    So Rodney, does this mean you would not recommend people to use a social bookmarking service like SocialMarker. What are your thoughts on using it.

    Peter Lee

  6. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 6 Rodney Smith

    Peter: good question – yes I do use SocialMarker, but only for pure “bookmarking” sites, ie delicious style. I don’t use it for the Digg-style sites where voting plays a role (unless it’s a site I participate in actively, not just to promote my own content).

    What about you?

  7. Gravatar of Lonet 7 Lonet

    Social bookmarking is a very simple step that you must do after you post an article in blog. Bookmarking sites can generate traffic more quickly than search engines because they index and categorize content faster than the search engines. when you are bookmarking be sure to add the correct tags to your bookmarks. This will guarantee that they are seen and will increase links to your site. When adding tags, be sure to pay attention to the format that the site uses. Make sure you follow the correct format so you get the full benefit of each bookmark.

    Social Bookmarking

  8. Gravatar of Tlaga Jaya 8 Tlaga Jaya

    Many social boomark site now give us links too beside traffic also, some people posting huge list about social bookmark site who give dofollow link.

  9. Gravatar of Web Developer 9 Web Developer

    Rodney, I agree with your comment about the relative value of organic traffic. From my experience, organic traffic and referral traffic from niche sources is by far the most valuable traffic. Almost all of the other traffic is hit-and-run – no realy value there.

  10. Gravatar of Matt Helphrey 10 Matt Helphrey

    I use a site like SocialMarker called SocialPoster. It gives you more sites to submit to. I have to agree as well to only use it to “bookmark” your sites. Anything more and you may get banned.

  11. Gravatar of Busby SEO 11 Busby SEO

    Usually I bookmark my content manually. I think I should consider to use this plugins.

  12. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 12 Rodney Smith

    Busby: it’s worth a try, although I think the real benefit of this plugin is that it makes it easier for your readers to bookmark your stuff for you.

  13. Gravatar of 13

    Makasih infonya. Selama ini saya kira traffic dari social bookmark omong kosong, tapi setelah baca posting ini ga ada salahnya di coba. Thanks

    Thanks infonya. During this time I think traffic from social bookmarking hogwash, but after reading this post I have in one try. Thanks

  14. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 14 Rodney Smith

    Well, it’s certainly not as valuable as search traffic, but it doesn’t have to be either-or!

  15. Gravatar of SEO Services Company India 15 SEO Services Company India

    The plugin helps users share the information but the information has to be worthy enough to be shared. Worthiness is decided by the people ont he social bookmarking sites. Having influential friends on the networks definitely helps :)

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