I’m not a designer but I have a good eye for knowing what would work for a consumer user. At Yahoo! I worked on trying to take the stale 2D approaches of our promotional designs and turning them into more engaging sites with unique viral product features. Take for instance the tell a friend that everybody puts on their web sites. Why would someone want to use that feature if they can just cut-n-paste the url from the browser bar? Unless it is a specific piece of content on the site such as video or the site is built in a way where the root url of the site (www.yourcompany.com/) is consistent no matter how many levels deep you drill down. It is important when you are designing, developing and marketing the site to think what the user interaction would to share.
Saw IV Blood Drive web site Share Page
Yahoo! Sports article page with a share button
From a design and development standpoint here are some preliminary questions:
- What is the look and feel of the share buttons/links next to each piece of content?
- Is it going to be a button or text link?
- Does it take it to a share page or is it inline using AJAX where a layer appears after the user clicks
- How are you going to analyze the stats of what is shared? Any back-end functionality you’ll need to do?
From a marketing standpoint:
- What content on the site is viral and worthy of telling a friend?
- Do have some seed videos that include celebrities or stupid pet tricks?
- Which social networks match up with your user’s demographics?
- Share/bookmark link creator and analyzer companies like addthis.com and sharethis.com
If you want to add the ability to share your web site, web page, or specific piece of content on another social networking site these two services are perfect for you. Really simple customization of the tool and cut-n-paste html code into your web site.
- Badge/Widget creator that helps in syndicating your content and analyzing the inflow of traffic to your site. One company I recommend is clearspring.com.
If you have RSS feeds that have interesting click-worthy content to bring users back to the site then create a badge to post on the user’s blog or myspace page or a widget on their desktop. Common uses of badges and widgets are content such as latest articles to a site or latest photos added.