Social media buttons on a technical specifications page?

It’s quite important to keep your landing pages ‘clean’ and to the point – we all know that. But it’s actually quite important to clear the clutter right across your website. On most sites, there’s no end of ‘stuff’ which has probably not been specified by the siteowner, but which has been included by the graphic designer to make things look busy. Much of it is just distracting, and the more you throw at visitors, the more likely they are to just hit the back button and return to where they came from.

One of the first things designers love to throw on websites nowadays is a set of ‘social media buttons’. Well, they make it look like you’re a really happening outfit, right?

Now, there are two things these buttons are used for (and it’s usually hard to know in advance what they’ll do, which is why they don’t get used much). One is just to link to the company’s social media accounts. Fair enough, although whether these links need to be anywhere other than on the home page and the ‘About Us’ page is up for debate.

The other function is to encourage visitors to ‘spread the word’ about the page. Seriously. There are sensible businesses out there which are inviting clients to click on a ‘Tweet this’ button to broadcast, er, a technical specifications page about a blue widget. Or even to ‘share’ this wonderful find on Facebook. Mmm, I’d bet those links get used a lot.

By all means invite people to share ‘social’ pages – maybe a news story with some sort of human interest. But as with everything else on your website, please don’t be persuaded to devote a large part of each page to ‘filler’ decorations which are standard across the whole site, and just there to make it look nice.

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