Monday, 28 January 2013

Too many buttons: The Huffington Post manipulating the social graph

Huffington Post Social Reader

Thought I’d share this with you to give you a bit of hope when it comes to your social media strategy - even the big guys get it wrong sometimes.

This sidebar from The Huffington post really got my goat, and seemed ‘like’ a bit of a cheap way to gain social signals and referrals back to their site.

Why would you like or recommend an article based on the headline, or the picture next to it? Why would you just blindly click on it?

Worst still, why put the option there in the first place? It makes the page look like a child has gone crazy with some free promotional stickers.

Huffington Post Sharing Buttons

I think we are getting to a point where we are seeing too many professional websites such as the HuffPo try to gain and manipulate social signals by sticking a button in every spare bit of space. They should know better.

I hope that Facebook are taking into account the blatant click-baiting that HuffPo is indulging in, and deprecating their weight and influence in their treasured news feed in response to it.

My advice to them?

Think of the reader: Think of the person reading the content. Don’t insult their intelligence by sticking a share button by a headline, before they have the opportunity to even skim-read an article.

Remove some of the buttons, speed up your site: loading HuffPo in it’s current form on Chrome through my Mac is like trying to push toffee through a keyhole. If you remove some of the whistles and bells, you make sharing more relevant, and a by-product of this is that your site will load a bit quicker, which will lower your bounce rate.

Don’t break up the content: keep it clean and ensure that your content is the lynchpin of your site. The sharing buttons should always be secondary.

What do you think?