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Social buttons made easy

Whether you work as a freelancer or part of a bigger studio, raising your profile is key to your long-term success. Once you’ve created a stunning website or online folio to showcase your work and skills, you need to make it easy for people to find you – which is where social networking come in.

Web buttons (or social networking buttons) are little clickable icons on your site that can serve two purposes: the first is to help visitors share images, articles and so on from your website with other friends on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The second lets you point users to other pages or sites of yours that they might be interested in. Web buttons are a great way to drive traffic to your main site and can increase the number of inbound links to your various sites and webpages – two of the key components you need to push your page ranking up on search engines like Google.

Adding social buttons to your site is really easy to do. Many blog platforms and templates already offer built-in sharing support for things like RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter, but you can easily add your choice of preferred web buttons with only a modicum of web know-how.

Most social networking portfolio sites have ready-made web buttons you can add to your website. All you have to do is pick the button style you want from the relevant resources page, choose the relevant web platform for your site (Wordpress, say), add your username, and then copy and paste the auto-generated code into a relevant container in your website’s content management system (CMS).

On Wordpress or Blogger this usually entails pasting the code into a text-based widget that appears in your website’s sidebar – and you can usually add as many of these as you wish. The beauty of this approach is that the buttons are usually big enough for visitors to easily spot – making it more likely that they’ll head off to your Twitter, Flickr or Pinterest account, or share your content with their friends.

The other way to add social networking buttons is to sign up to a service like ShareThis or AddThis. These enable you to embed social networking buttons alongside individual articles, images and blog posts, making it even easier to share. And if you can’t find the web button you’re looking for, then why not create a custom one of your own?

Here are the top five web buttons – and where to find them: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.