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Social media buttons -- do you use 3rd party service?



9:30 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

when i first put social media buttons onto my site i just had facebook, twitter and an email form, which i hardcoded into the page. so they were nice and fast. but then i replaced it with addthis because it was nice and easy. but straightaway my page load times went up, because of all the javascript and other stuff you have to load in.

so now im thinking of getting rid of addthis and going back to hardcoding a few buttons onto the page again.

what is holding me back is the code. with facebook there used to be a simple URL that you could include, with some easy $_GET variables on the end for stuff like the title and description, but they seem to be making it harder and harder to just have a simple button/URL. From the developer page, it looks like they only offer XFBML and Iframe versions now. i guess they want a callback to Facebook on every site with a button. To me, that ruins the whole point of doing it -- because the idea is to make it nice and fast.

also... when i look at my addthis stats, im always surprised to see how many users use services that i've never heard of -- stuff like "chime.in", "vkontakte" and "jappy ticker".

there's also a lot of clicks from stuff like stumbleupon, myspace, delicious and reddit, which i would never bother hardcoding into the page. i cant believe so many people still use those services -- there's loads of them!

so my question is this... how do you go about including social media buttons on your site?


5:13 am on Aug 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I just hand code the bare minimum of the big SNS sites...FB, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and the RSS feed link. Keeping up with the rest of the others was too much like whack-a-mole and didn't really show much return in my experience. It might depend on the focus of the site though as to whether you'd consider more.

A short while back there were some problems with AddThis that turned many off. I believe it was the added load time at the time when Google was telling everyone to speed up their pages that might have made people think twice about their service.


5:19 pm on Aug 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Addthis is the last third party widget we have on our site, we've removed all the rest for speed reasons, but addthis is still (only just) worth it, but with a couple of speed tweaks.

- you can host it locally, though they've never allowed us to for 'whatever' reason and I think they don't do this much (or publicise it). You can search on their site for the application form.

- the widget is pretty useless at mobile screen sizes, at least the toolbox option which we use. Considering that over half of the elements and total size overhead of our pages comes just from addthis, especially with all the behavioural junk they load onto new visitors, we got a real boost by not loading it on small viewports*. Easy to do and great payoff on mobile.

Last tip - although they can still track hits, it's worth excluding their cookie drop if you want to keep your EU and especially German visitors happy, plus fewer useless cookies are always good. You can find the right code on their site with a bit of searching in their forums.

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">var url = window.location.href; if (document.documentElement.clientWidth > 480) {


5:38 pm on Aug 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

i got excited about your hosting it locally idea. but then i found it on their site, and it says that they want you to update the code every 24 hours (at least). that took all the fun out of it.


5:55 pm on Aug 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Maybe a simple cron job setup and you're flying. I've 'asked' twice via that form and the forums and no answer - they don't seem hot on allowing too many people to host it locally.

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