Recently I had someone suggest that I look at a service from ShareThis.com. What I found after reviewing their service was that it would allow me to add a flash pop-up menu to any page of my board. This menu provides an easy way for people to promote my site for me, which is about the cheapest form of advertising there is. The pop-up includes links to Facebook, Twitter, and dozens of other “social” sites, and I’m sure the service provider intends to add more as they become available. However when I started researching what it would take to put ShareThis on my boards, I ran into a slight bit of confusion. Their terms of service page said this:
Registration. In order to have access and use of the ShareThis Widgets, registration is not required but is strongly recommended.
Yet in order to “get the button” they required me to register. When I sent a note to the support group, I was told that they no longer offered a “no-registration” option for their service. Why do they require me to register at all? In order to provide analytics and reports that show how many people are sharing content from my site, they need to have a unique identifier for my account. Since I’m not (at this point anyway) really interested in more reports and analytics, I decided to pass.
Now that I knew what to look for, I quickly found AddThis.com. It seems to be the same type of service but they offer an option that does not require me to register in order to use it. I spent a few minutes looking over their site and quickly selected the options and format that I wanted to use. I already have a toolbar with various icons at the top and bottom of my topic pages, so it was really easy to add one more icon to the mix. Here is the final product in action:
With this new icon, when someone sees a topic they like they can easily add it to their favorites, their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any of the other social media sites supported by the service. How hard was it to add this code to my site? Not hard at all.
Next, a few configuration options to specify which links I want emphasized versus those that I want relegated to the “more” page or removed altogether:
I did a bit of tweaking to the list of services in order to get them to come out alphabetically in columns, otherwise they came out in rows. I also excluded the “print” option because if you look at the icons in the screenshot above you will see that I already have a print function that uses an alternate template.
Finally, I included this code in the spot where I wanted the icon to appear:
<a href="http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php" class="addthis_button" style="text-decoration:none;"><img src="http://s7.addthis.com/static/btn/sm-plus.gif" width="16" height="16" border="0" alt="Share" /></a>