When I was building this blog, I wondered where I should put my share buttons. I figured that the best place to put them was at the top and the bottom of every post. This way, people can immediately share my posts after reading the headline or when they are done reading the article. If I want my posts to be shared on twitter, facebook, stumble upon, etc, I have to make it as easy as possible for the reader to find. I also wanted to make this suggestion at my internship for their blog because they currently only have share links on the bottom of the post.
I tried to find some research to support my idea to put share links at the top and bottom of posts but I couldn’t find any evidence of what positions are more effective or what most blogs do. (I did find a couple of posts that talked about the issue and included suggestions, but none that had any evidence other than personal opinion.) I asked my boss at school if he knew where I could find this information out and he suggested to do a bit of my own research. So, I am. (He even suggested how to do it; here’s a big thanks to Rick!)
To find out what most people are doing, I am going to look at 100 websites and document whether they have share links and where they are on the page. I’m only including share links that allow you to share individual posts or pages, not social media links for the entire website because that is the data I’m interested in. I’m using stumble upon to randomly choose the websites and I created a new account so that my previous like/dislike data wouldn’t skew what websites showed up. I had to choose one at least one topic of interest so I picked food/cooking. I had no reason for picking this topic, I just chose it randomly.
I hit a couple of snags while doing the research.
1. I got a lot of results that I felt might upset my research. I kept getting photos on flickr from Betty Crocker and videos from Stumble Upon. I thought it best to delete those hits from my data because it isn’t possible to put share links on those websites.
2. Stumble Upon provided me with random pages, not random websites. I was getting a random assortment of websites’ home pages, topic pages and individual websites. I wanted to make my samples as equal as possible. So I always searched around on the website to see if they had excerpts, share buttons on the excerpts, individual post pages and share buttons on individual posts.
3. My category choice. I should do another study using a different category or multiple categories to get a more generalizable result. One could argue that this data is only relevant to food/cooking related websites. However, I don’t think the data will change that much using a different category. A lot of different people are interested in food/cooking and I don’t think those authors are overall more or less social media savvy than authors in other categories.
My next post on Saturday will reveal my findings. In the mean time, any guesses on what the results will be? Does anyone have any links to information on this topic? Please share your own posts on the subject in the comments!