Free tool of the week: ShareThis button—instant social media

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For nonprofits who want to make their Web sites and blogs more social without a lot of redesign expense, free ShareThis buttons are one easy answer. They enable your viewers to easily share the content on your site.

You’ve seen these kinds of buttons a million times on other sites, but maybe you didn’t realize you could install them on your own site free. There are really two options–AddThis buttons and ShareThis buttons, but most expert reviewers pick ShareThis as the best option. (For one thing ShareThis means more to users than AddThis.)

AddThis buttons are those little orange boxes with plus-signs in them, usually located on a small bar with tiny icons for email, del.icio.us, twitter, facebook, etc. They can appear at the beginning or end of the content you want to share.

ShareThis buttons are just as common, but they have a white v symbol in a green box—you can see it on the photo above. They’re great not only because they instantly help socialize your Web sites and blogs, but because they provide you with data reports about how people are sharing your content and what items are being most shared. You can even get separate streams of data for different domain names on the same account.

You get to customize ShareThis in several ways. First, you get to choose what’s included. The default tabs are Social Web, Send Email, and Post (Post let’s another blogger re-post your content). You can choose to include any of those you want, plus you get to select from the 20 services available under Social Web tab (the whole set is in the photo). You can also customize the operation of the button, and coordinate it to the colors of your site or blog. Placing a button is as simple as copying an html code from the ShareThis site.

If you have a knowledge base on your site, or any collection of resources that users might want to bookmark or share, incorporate a ShareThis button and let visitors spread your content for you!

NEXT WEEK I’ll tell you how you can add free comments, polls, and ratings features to your blog or Web site to make it even more social.

(Note: ShareThis doesn’t work on WordPress.com. So—thanks to two kind nudges from tech savvy readers—I’ve discovered GetSocial and AddToAny buttons, which both work on WordPress. Love it!  I really appreciate the comments that led me to these discoveries! I’ve added the AddToAny bar below.)

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Don’t forget to download a free copy of my eBook on best practices in nonprofits website design!

DOWNLOAD HERE: Best Practices: Nonprofit Web Site Design

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5 Responses to “Free tool of the week: ShareThis button—instant social media”

  1. Natalee Says:

    Thanks for this tip and the links for this tool! I think so few people know this and it would significantly change the results that they see.

    I can’t help but notice though, unless I’m missing something despite looking pretty hard, you seem to be lacking this very tool yourself on this blog. I can’t figure out how to “share” this tip with my coworker who actually does our web updates.

  2. Kristy Says:

    Oh dear, you have not seen AddToAny!? http://www.addtoany.com

    You should give it a look. I am a fan of the smart menu, the breadth of sites, color chooser, and that wonderful email tab. It’s my second favorite WordPress.org plugin. :)

    If you want the backwards-compatible button for WordPress.com look at their “no script” option.

    Good luck!

  3. Shannon Aronin Says:

    Hi Gayle,
    Great post. I have already re-tweeted it and will be coming back to this one to install soon! Also, I have launched a new site for my business (see above), and a new blog. I have added you to the blog roll, so please come check it out and subscribe.

    http://aroconsult.net/blog

    Cheers,
    Shannon

  4. Top 5 Ways To Generate Low Cost Website Traffic Says:

    Thanks for this info and ebook. i download and like.

  5. lmkitties Says:

    Great addition. thanks.


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