How to Make del.icio.us a Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how to add “bookmark to del.icio.us” links to your blog posts and web pages. Quite often when I bring up the idea of the bookmarking website, I can expect a raised eyebrow, shrug of the shoulders, or just a glazed over effect which means the conversation will fall onto deaf ears. However, for those website owners that are looking for better ways to organize their online strategy, research hot topics and potentially draw traffic, links and networking connections, the use of del.icio.us is for you.

This post details various ways that website owners, surfers and general Internet enthusiasts can use del.icio.us as an online tool for organization and research, content generator and an overall component of your online marketing (and search engine optimization) strategy.

First, some reasons why to consider using del.icio.us:

  • Over 53 million posts (on 25 million URLs) have been created on del.icio.us as of August 2006 (according to TechCrunch), and that post growth has increased 250% since December of 2005.
  • 36% of all users fall into an income bracket of $100k and $150k per year, compared to 13% of the total Internet using population. (source: Hitwise)
  • From an SEO perspective, a bookmark that reaches the “popular” page of del.icio.us can generate thousands of traffic referrals in ONE DAY, which can generate hundreds of inbound links and additional bookmarks from del.icio.us users (which are permanent links, tagged with search engine-friendly keywords)

How I use del.icio.us as a part of my online marketing strategy

  • Bookmark the way you want to, how you want to
    First and foremost, del.icio.us is a bookmarking tool online. That means that instead of folders and sub-folders, the del.icio.us interface allows you to save web pages that you find interesting, using a tagging system (keyword-based labeling system) that you create. You could bookmark this post using tags such as “delicious”, “tips”, “capecodseo” etc. It all depends on how you want to organize your information.

    Tagging also means that you no longer have to name and rename folders and sub-folders or drag and drop your web pages amongst appropriate folder directories or themes. More importantly, your bookmarks are now online, so when you go from computer to computer, location to location, you can always access the web pages that are important to you (assuming you are working online, of course).

  • Share your interest with others
    The second (or first, depending on how you want to infer) component to the del.icio.us website is in the ability to share web pages that you find valuable. Instead of traditional email, IM or pen and paper, your bookmarks are now online, and can be accessible by anyone with an Internet connection.

    From a business perspective, that means that groups of individuals within an organization can save, archive and share collaborative information together, which may be beneficial when working on projects, research or company strategy.

  • Use del.icio.us as an online research tool
    Possibly one of the most underutilized functions of the del.icio.us website from beginning users (including myself until very recently) is the ability to use the community tagging functionality to find valuable information related to subjects you are interested in, or require for business purposes. Some even argue that the popular tagging functionality may be better than Google for purposes of online research.

    Consider how I would research “SEO” through del.icio.us bookmarks:

    • First, I would look at what the most “popular” SEO resources are through the community.
    • Second, I would look at the top contributing profiles that are bookmarking the most popular SEO resources and research what additional information they are bookmarking on the subject. If the information is relevant and I find it valuable, I may try to “add them to my del.icio.us network”, so that I am potentially able to share SEO related links back and forth with them.
    • Third, I want to look at who the “Active Users” are that are bookmarking using the SEO tag, and the related keyword tags that are suggested. Often times, related tags can provide similar or complementary material on the desired subject.

    The above scenario is just an example of how I may use the del.icio.us tagging functions for research, but a quick search through blogs reveals many other clever ways to use del.icio.us for organization, including archiving previous blog post subject matter and organizing research for future blogging material.

  • Blogging Add-ons, useful plugins and making your content more “Shareable”
    There is a wide assortment of del.icio.us tools and tricks for creating content, links and ways to make it easier for your users to bookmark and save the content found on your website.

    Some notable resources include:

    • Import your IE favorites and Firefox bookmarks. del.icio.us also provides browser extensions which makes the ability to save, tag and organize your bookmarks more convenient.
    • Linkrolls allow you to import recently saved items right into your blog or web pages. An example of two linkrolls that I use can be found in my Links and Resources section. By tagging web pages with certain descriptive information (tags), I can present two lists of material with completely different themes. I’ve seen quite a few bloggers incorporate linkrolls into the sidebar of their weblogs, which blends very well with the look and feel of the website.
    • Daily Blog Posting allows bloggers to provide regular content for their blogs in the form of saved bookmarks for that day.
    • Finally, TechRoam put out a very good list of del.icio.us tools, plugins and reference material for people interested in incorporating and using the social bookmarking technology.

Lastly, here are some ideas to consider when investigating del.icio.us social bookmarking even further

  • Don’t ignore the network. Even if you have trouble finding colleagues, friends and professional associates willing to adopt the usage of an online bookmarking system, use the tagging structure of the site to seek out people online who do use it regularly. Through the del.icio.us network, not only will you find resources of value in areas of interest, but you may also be challenged with what you thought you did or did not know.
  • Understand what popular tags are and how you can contribute your own information to these tags. If you have a great recourse on CSS and want people to know about it, find the audience that is bookmarking CSS resources, how they are tagging it, and get your material out to those people.
  • Popular submissions drive traffic and links. Quantcast ranks del.icio.us 1,455 of all websites online, with over 1 million monthly visitors. Remember that each of your web pages bookmarked creates a link to your website. If hundreds of people bookmark your pages, that’s hundreds of inbound links. More importantly, your bookmarks reaching the popular pages of del.icio.us may mean thousands of daily visitors from around the world looking at your website.
  • Search your brand, company and your competitors. Because everything is online and public (except imported bookmarks), you can research if and how you and your competition are being bookmarked, potentially gaining insight into what the community online finds valuable that is being provided.
  • Find online profiles. Most people keep a universal profile for their community-based website activities online. If you can find out what that profile is, you have insight into what that person is interested in, is looking for, or is researching. This may mean an understanding of the competitor, the prospect, or the linkerati. This information provides the opportunity for new content development, specific to the interests of the people you want to attract (or gain the upper hand on).

del.icio.us is a social bookmarking tool that allows you to create, organize and manage the web pages that you find of interest in your travels online. The fact that del.icio.us is an online community allows users to share, comment and contribute websites and web pages that they find of interest. I use del.icio.us for a variety of reasons, including researching and saving information, competitive analysis, professional networking, and driving traffic and inbound links.

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