Social Networking “Share” Buttons and their Impact on Site Performance

screenshot of one incarnation of sharing buttons on this siteWhen originally redesigning this site in December 2011, I had the big three social networking sites located to the top right of every page, with a fixed position so that they’d be visible wherever a user was on the page. I was pretty happy with my idea. I haven’t used these types of buttons to their full effect on my site before, and I wanted to know if really putting my all behind them would have an affect on how much the site was shared.

Then I started trying to trim the fat from my site’s header, ie, minimize http requests, which affect pageload times and can even affect your SEO. The first thing I noticed was that Google+, Twitter & Facebook were all loading a lot of scripts, images, etc. Out of a total of 47 http requests required to load my site’s homepage, 27 of those were being called by the three social networks.

Not good.

I decided to leave them in at launch, but plan to test just how much traffic I actually get from them to decide if these types of buttons are even worth using at all.

Stay tuned!

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