Is Having Too Many Social Sharing Options Bad?

A few weeks ago the content of this very post was published in our monthly email newsletter, so I thought I’d publish it on the blog also. I asked the question – ‘Are you placing too many social sharing options on your blog?’ I.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus One, LinkedIn, Stumble, Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Pinterest, Blog Engage, Buffer, email, print version… the list goes on and on and on… Is there even such a thing as having too many social sharing buttons?

We asked you to post your reactions on our Facebook page and some of you responded with some great comments.

I personally enjoy using social buttons on my site and enjoy seeing them on my favorite blogs also; to me it is not just essential, but ask anyone, social sharing tools are valuable for getting free publicity to your content. Those who share your content using social sharing tools are effectively advertising your content for free, so that can’t be bad right?

But wait?

Too Many Social Sharing Buttons

I had a recent conversation with one of my contacts on Twitter, we talked about – could having too many social sharing buttons on your site actually do more harm than good? Do let me know what you think in the comment section below after this post… Bu in the meantime, here’s why I think having too many options could be bad… Just for the record, what I classify as ‘too many’ is anything over 6 or 8 sharing buttons on a single page at a push.

4 Reasons Why Having too Many Social Sharing Options Could Be Bad Business…

#1. A burden on the loading time of your web pages - The first reason why I believe that having too many social sharing buttons on your blog is bad is because it can actually put a burden on the loading time of your site (site performance). I’ve actually experienced this happen to my own blog, so I know this can be an issue.

On some rare occasions I’ve even seen my entire site loading time become severely affected for several hours, and this could be down to just ‘one social button’ has stopped functioning properly…

What about you? Have you experienced something similar? Do you think that having too many social buttons can degrade your site performance? Let me know below…

“Does having too many social sharing options degrade site performance?…”

#2. Are your readers confused which social buttons to use? - I think it’s perfectly fine to provide your site visitors with ‘the more familiar faces’ of sharing options such as a tweet button, Facebook Like or Google’s Plus 1 button, maybe throw the Pinterest button in there too. But does having too many social sharing options make it difficult for your visitors to choose which button to use?

Should they use just one or all of them? Are they familiar with the other social sharing buttons on your blog, I mean everyone is familiar with Facebook’s Like button, but not everyone is familiar with Buffer or Blog Engage button. Will they get confused? Again let me know your thoughts on this…

#3. Too many social buttons make your site look untidy - This is another area I actually agree with, I believe a site with 4 or 5 social sharing options will always look much tidier than a site with a list of about 10 or 15 sharing options running off the bottom of the page. That’s just my opinion of course, but once again let me know your own thoughts on this… Do you prefer to have as many options as possible for your visitors to share your content? If you do, do you not think it makes your site look untidy?

#4. Having too many social sharing options with a big fat Zero is an instant put off… – OK say you offer Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and they all have some good share counts in them, it looks tidy and healthy right. It shows your site or page is socially active? But imagine having only one or perhaps two buttons with say a dozen shares in it, and about 6 or 8 other buttons with a big fat zero sat in them… does that make your site look unpopular or what? If you had just one social button active and the rest of them inactive, I think that can also make your site look unpopular, again let me know your thoughts.

A little tip would be to check your Google Analytics to see which social sites are bringing you the most traffic, the ones that aren’t really making much of an appearance should tell you which buttons to perhaps not use right now?

Also look at how you order the buttons, I use the Sharebar plugin and have found that placing Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn is the perfect order for sharing content on my blog.

So those are the 4 reasons why I think sometimes having too many social sharing options can do more harm than good. But now I hand the debate over to you, what do you think, is having too many social sharing buttons bad or not? Leave me your comments below as always.

  • Eddie Gear

    Fabrizio, I prefer not to have too many social icons as it makes my site slower and also make the site look crapy. In my opinion if a reader wanted to share the post they would share the post even if I dont have a button.

    • Fabrizio

      Hey Eddie I can relate to that mate, that’s a good point you make about sharing, I guess sharing buttons make the process a lot easier, if I came to a site with no social sharing buttons and I loved the content, I don’t think I could be bothered to copy and paste the link to share it on Facebook for example. I’m just a lazy gimp really lol.

  • Usman

    I think having 6-7 options is better choice.

    Which may include, Facebook, twitter, Google+, Digg etc, having many more definitely will confused. And as you said, site loading time is very important, so it is better to have less and important sharing options.

    • Fabrizio

      Hey Usman thanks for dropping by dude, the main ones are important yes. More however does hamper site performance but as Aditya mentioned this can also greatly depend on your hosting provider too.

      • Usman

        Yes hosting provider matters too, but you need to take for everything at your end.

        Because some times even if hosting provide didn’t have issue, but some plugins or any other thing can cause issue.

  • Samantha Wright

    Hey Fabzy great post and you’ve selected an interesting topic here. I know what you mean about blog’s with excessive sharing options, I’ve seen many myself and boy do they look untidy I agree with you there.

    I think about 6 buttons would be ideas, for me those would be Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Stumble, Pinterest and Digg most definitely. What do you think?

    • Fabrizio

      Thanks Sammy, yeah of course those are the ones I use for most of my blogs. Someone mentioned to me that having 3 or 4 sharing buttons can encourage users to use them all as apposed to just one or two of them. What’s your thoughts on that one?

  • Aditi

    I don’t think having social sharing options is not bad. Even I think the more number of social sharing options you have, it is always better for your site because social sites helps you to interact more with your visitors. This is infact good for your site. Thanks for the share!!

    • Fabrizio

      That’s interesting Aditi, so you believe that more is better?

  • Chris

    Hi Fabrizio.
    On my blog I try to give my readers only 3 options in one place, and it works very good for me. So IMHO less is better ;)
    Thanks for sharing,

    • Fabrizio

      Thanks Chris, yes I definitely agree with that and you’re proving a good point that less is better. Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Aditya

    Hey Fab,
    I guess there is no problem in having social media buttons on one site.The reason behind this is one can have choice which social networking site to opt for as it may be possible that one has account on just one or two sites.
    And regarding the loading of a page it depends on the hosting service one is having i guess.

    • Fabrizio

      Hey Aditya, thanks mate, so you also believe that having as many social buttons as possible is a good thing? Yes I somewhat agree with hosting can be the cause of loading the social buttons slowly, something I’ve been experiencing at the moment lol.

      • Aditya

        With no doubt Fab Yes,I think it a good idea to have as many social media buttons as one can.

  • Sam

    Everyone has their own thoughts but if you will give final touch through right ways then it would help lot for you.

  • Arunincy

    Social sharing sites plays a vital role in sharing our ideas among more people and helps to build relationships,But while considering your points its better to have minimum amount of social sharing sites would be good!.

  • Becca

    Visitors can also become confused by which social sites to follow you on, if they see too many options in one place.

  • Jeremy McDonald

    I agree with this post. Most people don’t share on most platforms, I tend to just play it safe and stick Twitter, FB, Stumble and Google +

    Covers most of the common ground.

  • Lorie

    I think using too many social networks at once can be too time consuming. Also, it’s better to master using 1 social network than to be mediocre at 5 of them.

  • Anne Peterson

    I usually concentrate on only three social medias which include facebook, twitter and linkedIn. I don’t think it is how many you are on that matters but how effective they are for you.

  • Naina

    Fabrizio, i think that it will only have a negative impact if it affects the loading speed of a blog/site.Unless having them is a great idea and it will only help the readers to get in touch with you everywhere.

  • Nadeem Khan

    I do believe that at max there should not be more than 10 social buttons on any page. One should check the analytics and place the social sharing buttons for only the top 10 social networks that are sending you traffic !!!

  • Ambika Choudhary Mahajan

    Yea right, Fabrizio.
    I have seen some blogs which put up an icon for all these social networking sites up there. I wonder how much time they waste putting up each of these posts across on all these sites.
    I would rather spend that much time on optimizing that post.
    I do have the Facebook Like, Tweet, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Stumble up there on my blog.
    And I dont think I need any more of them! :)
    Bloggers need to understand that there’s something called overdoing!

  • Ayush

    I think it is really a personal option and the behavior of visitors. Sometimes they seem very awkward but if placed in right place you can get maximum benefit.

  • Hari Narayan

    Hi Fabrizio,
    Really Social Media are the best way to promote our blog posts and it is the one of the key to drive huge amount of traffic. Having too many social media sharing buttons are not bad, but the only thing is, it tooks some time to load the sharing buttons.

  • Fahad

    Hi Fabrizio!
    Nice Post! (Y) Every new blogger makes this mistake and add too many social sharing options. I absolutely agree with you, It looks untidy and it takes loads of time to load the blog page.