A question that comes up often through Support is How do I add… Usually it involves AdSense, or Facebook ‘Like’ buttons. We’ll explore this question in more detail, using Social Bookmarking in general. For anyone who may be confused by that term, ‘Social Bookmarks’ are the now ubiquitous icons found on webpages that allow for the sharing of said page on a variety of platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Email, etcetera). For an example, look no further than the bottom of this page.
The next question is often, Why doesn’t it come built into AOM? The answer is that it doesn’t need to. You can easily add your own social bookmarks so you can customize them to suit your own purposes. The same is true of email contact forms, newsletter subscription boxes, and the like. There are literally thousands of free scripts easily obtainable online that you can drop into your site. So there’s no need to include these with AOM.
To start, you’ll need to find some bookmark scripts. You can always create your own links with icons, but often premade scripts will allow you access to a large variety of sites, so it can save you a lot of coding. There are many available online, such as AddThis, ShareThis or BookmarkCraze, to name just a few.
What you’ll get is a snippet of code known as a script. It will usually look something like this:
<!– AddThis Button BEGIN –>
<!– AddThis Button END –>
Almost all the sites will allow you to customize the code to include the services you’re most interested in, such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and so forth. You’ll also be able to include print and email options as well. There should also be various styles available, so you can have small icons (for left or right columns), large icons (for page or body tops/bottoms), or other features (color, background, overall size, etc.). Some sites will have a popup menu with dozens of social network sites available. This way you can have something that should be ideally suited to your needs, instead of options you can’t change and may not want.
Once you have your script copied and ready to go, it’s time to create a custom box to paste it into.
From the Custom Boxes tab of your AOM control panel, create a custom box, which will look like this:
You can adjust the various parameters that control where the box appears (such as Left, Right, Page Top, Body Top, etc.). Also Home Page, Category Pages, Item Pages and so on. In addition you can adjust the appearance of the box (border size and color, box background color) to match your site. Paste the social bookmark script into the Box Content area. When you save and view your site, you should see something like this appear on the pages:
The procedure would be the same for AdSense, signup forms or any other snippet you might want to display on your site, including Amazon widgets. You simply create a custom box and paste the script into it.
Some bookmark scripts might come in two parts, with a script you paste into the custom box as shown above, and another few lines of code they want you to put into the HEAD section of your site. If so, paste this part into the Site Head box located under the Site tab of your AOM control panel. If you are using a custom header file, you’ll need to manually edit the file to paste the code within the HEAD section.
If you purchase a premade template that has Facebook or Twitter icons built in, you may need to edit the template files to manually add a link. The template should come with a README file that contains specific information on how to do that. If not, contact the template seller for instructions.
As you can see, the procedure to create a custom box and add a basic bookmark script is not difficult at all. Custom boxes allow you to add all manner of content to your Associate-O-Matic store, whether Facebook and Twitter buttons, an AdSense block, even eBay or Amazon widgets. It’s a method you can employ to greatly expand and customize your site. Building some of these features directly into AOM would in fact limit the choices and options available to you. But by allowing you to pick and choose from a wide variety of third-party scripts, you may wind up being spoiled for choices. Yes, you may have to do a bit of searching initially to find a script that suits your needs, but once you do, it can become another useful tool in making your site stand out above the rest of the pack.