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There has been much debate in recent weeks about the use of social media share buttons on your website.

Once seen as the perfect tool for promoting your website or blog for free as users hit the like button and going viral is now becoming tiresome as every well designed website is littered with various tacky buttons.

Personally, I have found they work really well on some websites but for others I just wouldn’t bother. On the Creation Records website I run we have a Facebook group that has now surpassed 11,000 members and using Facebook on this site has proved really effective in growing the group. Many of the articles attract a high number of likes and are read by a large volume of the group. However I had tried share buttons in the past but ditched them and other than Facebook or Twitter the clutter outweighs the benefits.

For many other brands I really couldn’t see the point of trying to share your page, if you work in Financial Services you really don’t need a ‘Like’ button on every product page, especially as it can often highlight that only 1 person in the whole world likes this product (which was probably the developer testing it). So you are adding some third party code and slowing the site down (which Google won’t like) just to show that no one likes your product. Let’s face it, who would you want to advertise a mortgage to all your friends on Facebook, you just wouldn’t.

There are various reasons for not using share buttons:

  • It’s more clutter on the page to distract people.
  • Many share buttons slow the site down.
  • They can distract screen readers if not placed in the correct section of the page.

I’m sure the debate will rage on for ages until they are in the great big cyberspace graveyard in the sky with the likes of MySpace and Friends Reunited.

You can read .net magazine’s debate here.

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