Del.icio.us is not only a great resource for internet users to keep track of bookmarks, but it is also one of the best ways for website owners to market their site. Everyday pages that are on the front page of del.icio.us receive a few thousand visitors and gain a number of bookmarks from users. Throughout this article we’ll take a look at how del.icio.us works and what you can do to use it to promote your website.
Introduction to del.icio.us
If you are not familiar with del.icio.us or other bookmark managers, it is basically a place to store all of your favorite pages. You have probably used the bookmarks or favorites feature of your internet browser. Del.icio.us provides the same benefits but in a much more efficient manner.
To start with, new users will need to create an account with del.icio.us (which is free). Once you have an account you can download a toolbar for your browser of choice. The toolbar will allow you to easily bookmark any page that you are on. So, when you visit a page that you think you may want at some point in the future, you can “tag” it to save it. Del.icio.us will then prompt you to add several descriptive one-word tags to categorize the page. The tagging system is a key to del.icio.us, as you will find when you want to retrieve a page.
Now, in the future when you want to find a page that you bookmarked, you will go to your del.icio.us page, mine is http://del.icio.us/vandelaydesign. On the right side of the screen you’ll see a listing of all the tags that you have used to save pages. By clicking on the tags you’ll be sorting the bookmarks to find only those that have that particular tag. So as you can see, accurately tagging bookmarks is key. Del.icio.us also has a search feature that you can use.
If you are using your browser to keep track of your bookmarks you probably struggling with the folders and keeping the number of bookmarks to a manageable number. With del.icio.us’ tagging system you can keep track of a huge number of pages without any problems. Also, your bookmarks are available in any browser on any computer.
Ok, so this covers the basics of how del.icio.us works, but how can it be beneficial for marketing a website ? The front page of del.icio.us shows 12 pages that are popular with users, based on the number of bookmarks that they have received. If a page from your website makes it to the front page it will stay there for a few hours, receive about a thousand visitors or more, rack up even more bookmarks, and gain exposure in front of a lot of del.icio.us users. In addition, the more bookmarks you get, the more repeat traffic you are likely to get when del.icio.us users return to their bookmarks.
Marketing a Website with del.icio.us
First of all, why should you use del.icio.us to market your site instead of some other method? One of the biggest strengths of del.icio.us when compared to other social media websites is the amount of repeat traffic that you can generate. Many social media sites create a quick rush of traffic and then it ends. With del.icio.us you should always be receiving a small flow of repeat traffic as users return to the pages that they have bookmarked. Additionally, the volume of traffic that popular items receive can be very significant.
Another strength of del.icio.us is that it leads to more inbound links than other social media websites. While the links that come directly from del.icio.us use nofollow tags, many popular pages will get a lot of links from other websites and blogs as a result of being found on del.icio.us. Del.icio.us offers users the option to post their bookmarks each day to their blog. So every time one of these users bookmarks one of your pages you will be getting a link from their blog. When one of your pages becomes popular you’ll probably see it getting links from several of these users. Of course inbound links are beneficial for click-through traffic and for improved search engine rankings.
If one of your pages becomes popular with del.icio.us it will also be listed on popurls.com, which will also send a few hundred visitors. Popurls provides links to the top items on del.icio.us, Digg, Reddit and several other popular social media sites.
Traffic and links aren’t the only reason to strive for popularity on del.icio.us. Being shown as one of the popular items on the front page can serve to build name recognition and build your reputation as an authority in your field.
In order to get substantial results you will need to strive to reach the front page by getting a significant number of users to bookmark your page. It is possible to get some exposure and repeat traffic without reaching the front page, but the results will be much less substantial than if you had reached the front page.
What Works Well?
Del.icio.us users tend to be very tech-savvy, and as a result you’ll see a high percentage of pages that make the front page focus on some aspect of technology. If your website or blog covers anything tech-related you will have an advantage. If you cover topics that have nothing to do with technology you may have a harder time, but it is certainly still possible to reach the front page. Most sites that target non-tech audiences will have a very small percentage of readers that are del.icio.us users.
Resource lists are very popular with del.icio.us users. People bookmark pages that they think may be useful in the future. If you can put a number of valuable resources all on one page that will save them time, you’ll be likely to get a lot of bookmarks. One of the most successful resource lists I’ve created was 77 Resources to Simplify Your Life as a Web Designer, which has almost 3,000 bookmarks. This post is really only links to other resources that can save time on web design projects. People like saving time, and as a result the post has drawn a lot of bookmarks.
Typical blog posts and other articles tend to not draw enough bookmarks to make it to the front page. Like I said earlier, people bookmark things that they will want to come back to in the future and things that will save them time. As a result, traditional articles will usually not get enough bookmarks. Of course there are some exceptions. The best way to get a lot of bookmarks to an article is to get the article to become popular on another social media site like Digg, which will send thousands of visitors and increase the number of people that see the article.
Strong, attention-grabbing titles are also important. Pages and blog posts with great titles tend to attract more bookmarks. Once an item has made it to the front page, the title is one of the most important factors in determining how many additional bookmarks it will receive. A strong title will increase the amount of click-throughs, which will also increase the number of bookmarks.
Keys to Making the Front Page of del.icio.us
The key to making the front page can be broken down quite simply: create something that people will want to use in the future and get enough del.icio.us users to the page to receive the necessary amount of bookmarks. Of course this isn’t always easy.
I mentioned earlier that resource lists tend to do very well on del.icio.us. If you want to market with del.icio.us this should be great news. One of the advantages to using resource lists is that they are easy to create. They may take a lot of time to gather together, but they do not necessarily require a lot of knowledge or experience. Writing a great blog post is more difficult than creating a popular resource list. For this reason anyone can have success with del.icio.us, even brand new bloggers.
The amount of traffic that comes to a page will affect its chances of popularity on del.icio.us. The more traffic it gets, the more potential bookmarks it can receive. Likewise, if a page only gets a few visitors, how is it going to get enough bookmarks to reach the front page? Equally as important as the number of visitors is the number of del.icio.us users that visit the page. A page can get 10,000 visitors in a day, but it none of them are del.icio.us users it won’t be getting any bookmarks.
Methods for Success
1 – Funnel traffic
Because the amount of traffic that comes to a page will influence how many bookmarks it gets, you’ll want to focus on funneling traffic from other sources in hopes that it will lead to bookmarks and popularity with del.icio.us. For example, submitting a page to other social media sites may result in increased traffic from those other sites that will lead to more bookmarks. If your page is tech-related, focus on submitting it to niche social media sites that also target tech-savvy users as you will get more visitors that use del.icio.us. If you already have a huge amount of traffic to your site this may not be an issue, but for 99% of us it is an issue.
2 – Show the number of bookmarks on the page
One of the best resources that I have found for increasing bookmarks is the Tagometer Badge from del.icio.us. Del.icio.us will provide you with the code, and all you have to do is insert it in your page where you want the badge to appear. The badge will then give visitors an easy way to bookmark the page, and more importantly it will show how many people have already bookmarked. If a visitor sees that 50 other people have already bookmarked the page it may encourage them to do the same. FeedBurner provides a similar feature with their FeedFlare that can be implemented into your pages.
3 – Cater to the masses
Give del.icio.us users what they want. Rather than trying to get something to the front page that doesn’t fit with the interests of del.icio.us users, try using something like a tech-related resource list. Especially if you haven’t had much experience with del.icio.us, study what types of content are becoming popular and come up with some ideas of your own that would fit.
4 – Share with friends in your network
Although the networking aspect of del.icio.us has less impact on what becomes popular than the networking system on many other social media sites, you can still gain some bookmarks by sharing your pages with your network. When your are looking at your del.icio.us page you will see those users who are in your network on the right side of the screen. When you are bookmarking your page and creating tags you can send it you those in your network. For example, if you wanted to share it with me you would use the tag “for:vandelaydesign”. Just like any other social media site, you can have more success by leveraging your network from time-to-time.
What’s Your Experience?
Have you had good results with del.icio.us? What has or hasn’t worked for you?