Jul 1 2011
One thing that most web developers don’t plan on is that by entering into the world of web development they’re entering the world of web marketing. With millions upon millions of websites all competing for attention it’s hard to be noticed. It doesn’t matter how well built you site is, if people don’t know about it it’s not going anywhere. One of the best ways to gain attention for your site is through social networks. Top submissions are bound to gain a rush of traffic that will put a serious strain on your servers. Most site owners have the opposite problem. They own beautiful websites but are constantly trying to get people to visit them.
To gain attention on social networks you first ought to install sharing buttons so people can readily share your content. This minor step will at least give people the opportunity to begin promoting your pages. What most site owners find is that people don’t just magically press those buttons though. A very low number of web surfers are button pushers. By nature of being a website owner you end up becoming a social network sharing button pushers. In fact you begin to press them all the time, knowing the benefit you’re giving the site hosting the content.
Two of the most important buttons to push are the well know Facebook Like button, and the recently released Google Plus-one button. The latter is still unclear what impact it will have but it will relate to the overall traffic of your site. In Google’s words, “+1 buttons let people who love your content recommend it on Google search.” From a web developer perspective this is like a dream come true. I’m going to deviate for a second and suggest that the +1 button is a future major Google flop. The only people that will press it operate in the SEO and web marketing space. Normal people don’t care about recommending content to a nebulous mob of internet dorks searching the web. To contrast, Facebook’s Like button is effective since people click it to share content with real live people- their friends.
Regardless, Google is the 500 pound gorilla and cannot be ignored with their shiny +1 button. Like cub scouts going to camp for the first time, we’ll give them a badge of honor for putting up a tent correctly. Never mind the fact that it’s on the wrong side of camp and in the mud. Since only web marketers and web developers will be pressing this button there’s already a tool that makes it easier for them, with Like+1. (Per their intro video below Google seems to be under the delusion that people view them as a social network. Now that’s interesting…)
Like+1, (found at likeplusone.org), is a simple browser extension that turns all the Facebook Like buttons you encounter into Like+1 buttons. The result is that each time you Like+1 something you also give Google, the gigantic cub scout, a +1 as well. That is to say it both Likes it on Facebook’s network and +1’s it for Google. It’s a minor creature comfort but as noted in their own words it will reduce the risk of carpel tunnel syndrome by a clean 50%. Like+1 is currently available for FireFox, Chrome, Safari, and IE9.
The +1 button may only ever amount to a tool for teaming masses internet SEO matrons to organize global clicking schemes. I sincerely doubt normal users of the internet will ever press it. In fact I’m going to go so far as to say that the +1 button will be the beginning of the final downfall of Google. It will soon make their search results irrelevant and completely controlled by nefarious mobs of internet marketing specialists. We have nothing but spammy junk in store for us in the coming days of Google’s search results. But, there’s a silver lining to every set back, a rose amidst the thorns, a dawn after the dark night. That lining is there’s now a way for those that want to both Like and +1 the content they find with one simple click. Like+1 makes this easy so we can catch a part of Google’s downward wave with a minimal effort. And since Google’s still Google, at least for now, it’s a wave worth riding.