Playing with Del.icio.us
A couple of years ago I set up a Del.icio.us account to store my bookmarks on. At the time I used more than one computer, usually one downstairs and one upstairs (simply because the laptop downstairs had a very low battery life and also weighed a tonne!). Now that I have a super lightweight laptop I can almost fit it in my pocket and not feel the weight, so I let my account slide a little. But recently I took another look there and noticed a few improvements to the site and the information it can give you about your own pages is very useful.
First off, for those who really don’t know what Del.icio.us is. It’s a social bookmarking site, one of the first, allowing you to add your favourite pages and sites to your account and essentially share your tastes with anyone who happens to come across your account on their site.
A great benefit of using Del.icio.us is that when you bookmark a site you can see how many other people have bookmarked the same site and who they are. A great way to perhaps see other people’s accounts with similar tastes to yours. Del.icio.us also works on a tagging system, so when you add a link you give it several tags which categorise it a bit more and helps those searching on Del.icio.us to find the site you’ve bookmarked. So theoretically you’re helping to build their search engine as well.
When Del.icio.us first set up you could simply add a bookmark, add a note if you wanted to, tag it and that was it. Your account page would then have a list of all the tags down the left, in no apparent order. I think in part this is what put me off using it after a while. It seemed a bit too chaotic and messy. However now you can bundle your tags, ie. you can create a header and select which tags sit below that header, allowing you to organise your tags a lot more neatly and a lot easier to see, which you can see on my own account.
So why else use Del.icio.us? Good question, especially when you use the same computer all the time and most browsers come with a perfectly good bookmarking service. Well, I don’t store all of my bookmarks online. My Internet banking links wouldn’t be of interest to many people for a start. However Del.icio.us is social, it’s public and it gives that extra boost to the sites you’ve bookmarked. Plus, as I mentioned, you can see who else has bookmarked the same site (note that’s only who else on Del.icio.us), which for a nosey person like me it’s interesting! However the real help starts when you bookmark your own pages. If you tag them well and have a popular subject then you can expect to usually get visitors through from Del.icio.us who have found your bookmarks via the tag search and then potentially visited your site. This means the possibility of gaining new visitors, especially if what you’ve bookmarked is worthwhile for them to realise your site is a wealth of information.
Sure, this is more useful for blogging, article sites, tutorial sites, sites which constantly add new pages to it. You could bookmark business sites, and I recommend you do, but with these you’ll need to tag them sufficiently well to try and make a good impression and get them popular. On a tag search, from what I’ve seen, the results are listed in relevency (of course), popularity then by date. So despite adding a new page tagged with PHP for example, and immediately searching on PHP, your page may not appear until the popular pages have been shown in the results first. However, don’t let that put you off. A couple of weeks ago I ran through my Learn PHP Guide and added all of the pages, tagging them with a few tags including, of course, PHP. Within 48 hours I’d had a handful of visitors direct from Del.icio.us. Same for my WordPress pages.
By adding your own sites and pages you can also see who else has bookmarked them. A little reminder that people do look at your site and for a blogger, a reminder that people are actually reading your posts, even if you don’t often get comments!
Despite Del.icio.us’s simplistic design (anyone know of a custom stylesheet for it?), it still seems to give far better info that some of the other bookmarking sites out there. It’s very simple to use, and you will eventually learn where the dots go in the name (either that or install the Del.icio.us firefox extension and it’ll always be in your menu bar!!).