To the left or on the top? News sites position their social buttons in different locations
News organizations, like the majority of websites online, want to use social media to help their content spread far and wide. Many sites include social media buttons at the top of each article so that readers can easily click and share it with their social networks.
The Chicago Sun-Times, in a strategy used by several media organizations, display these buttons at both the top and the bottom of each article; this provides two opportunities for the reader to promote an article. Including a number next to each social media icon shows the popularity of a particular article and may encourage a reader to join in on the conversation.
The Boston Globe uses a drop-down list to display social media options (listed under a “Share” link at the top and bottom of each article). This approach means that the Globe can’t display the number of times an article has been shared by others.
Other websites display their social buttons vertically, to the left of their content. The Washington Post, for instance, fixes the position of the buttons; no matter how far down a reader scrolls, he’ll always have the option to easily click and share.
The Albuquerque Journal has a nice looking menu of social buttons to the left of the content. But it’s surprising that this website doesn’t utilize a fixed position approach; a reader can scroll down, leaving the social media buttons at the top of each page. With nothing else filling that space, why not have the buttons travel with the reader?
USA Today has social buttons on the top, bottom and left side of an article. Clicking on any of the options provides readers with a social media/comment app that pops up from the left side. Readers can post the article to a variety of social media outlets, email it or leave a comment — and then simply close the app and keep reading.
Tags: social media
About Chris Shores
Chris Shores is a web developer and journalist with a special interest in digital media.
Shores is a reporter for The Recorder, a daily newspaper in western Massachusetts. He covers education (K-12 and higher education), health and human services and writes monthly feature stories. He also works on Recorder.com and is studying Open Source Web Development at Marlboro College Graduate School.
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