Is Having Too Many Social Sharing Options Bad

A few weeks ago the content of this very post was published in our monthly email newsletter, so I thought I’d publish it on the blog also. I asked the question – ‘Are you placing too many social sharing options on your blog?’ I.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus One, LinkedIn, Stumble, Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Pinterest, Blog Engage, Buffer, email, print version… the list goes on and on and on… Is there even such a thing as having too many social sharing buttons?

We asked you to post your reactions on our Facebook page and some of you responded with some great comments.

I personally enjoy using social buttons on my site and enjoy seeing them on my favorite blogs also; to me it is not just essential, but ask anyone, social sharing tools are valuable for getting free publicity to your content. Those who share your content using social sharing tools are effectively advertising your content for free, so that can’t be bad right?

But wait?

I had a recent conversation with one of my contacts on Twitter, we talked about – could having too many social sharing buttons on your site actually do more harm than good? Do let me know what you think in the comment section below after this post… Bu in the meantime, here’s why I think having too many options could be bad… Just for the record, what I classify as ‘too many’ is anything over 6 or 8 sharing buttons on a single page at a push.

4 Reasons Why Having too Many Social Sharing Options Could Be Bad Business…

#1. A burden on the loading time of your web pages – The first reason why I believe that having too many social sharing buttons on your blog is bad is because it can actually put a burden on the loading time of your site (site performance). I’ve actually experienced this happen to my own blog, so I know this can be an issue.

On some rare occasions I’ve even seen my entire site loading time become severely affected for several hours, and this could be down to just ‘one social button’ has stopped functioning properly…

What about you? Have you experienced something similar? Do you think that having too many social buttons can degrade your site performance? Let me know below…

“Does having too many social sharing options degrade site performance?…”

#2. Are your readers confused which social buttons to use? – I think it’s perfectly fine to provide your site visitors with ‘the more familiar faces’ of sharing options such as a tweet button, Facebook Like or Google’s Plus 1 button, maybe throw the Pinterest button in there too. But does having too many social sharing options make it difficult for your visitors to choose which button to use?

Should they use just one or all of them? Are they familiar with the other social sharing buttons on your blog, I mean everyone is familiar with Facebook’s Like button, but not everyone is familiar with Buffer or Blog Engage button. Will they get confused? Again let me know your thoughts on this…

#3. Too many social buttons make your site look untidy – This is another area I actually agree with, I believe a site with 4 or 5 social sharing options will always look much tidier than a site with a list of about 10 or 15 sharing options running off the bottom of the page. That’s just my opinion of course, but once again let me know your own thoughts on this… Do you prefer to have as many options as possible for your visitors to share your content? If you do, do you not think it makes your site look untidy?

#4. Having too many social sharing options with a big fat Zero is an instant put off… – OK say you offer Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and they all have some good share counts in them, it looks tidy and healthy right. It shows your site or page is socially active? But imagine having only one or perhaps two buttons with say a dozen shares in it, and about 6 or 8 other buttons with a big fat zero sat in them… does that make your site look unpopular or what? If you had just one social button active and the rest of them inactive, I think that can also make your site look unpopular, again let me know your thoughts.

A little tip would be to check your Google Analytics to see which social sites are bringing you the most traffic, the ones that aren’t really making much of an appearance should tell you which buttons to perhaps not use right now?

Also look at how you order the buttons, I use the Sharebar plugin and have found that placing Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn is the perfect order for sharing content on my blog.

So those are the 4 reasons why I think sometimes having too many social sharing options can do more harm than good. But now I hand the debate over to you, what do you think, is having too many social sharing buttons bad or not? Leave me your comments below as always.

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