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Fast loading social sharing links

8 December 2013

These days it's very common to have links from different parts of your website to Facebook, Twitter and other services so that people can easily record and share your links with friends and followers.

The problem with many of the 'official' widgets for social sharing is that they require a lot of resources and can slow down your website.

The ubiquitous 'AddThis' set of buttons for example will add five elements to the page totalling around 170kb, and on occasion can load up to 750kb of extra files.

The advantage of these widgets is that they can display totals alongside each button, but these are only useful on very popular pages as in many cases the numbers are zero. Aside from speed, another downside is that they track and record your visitors around the web.

In the spirit of speed and security we've developed our own set of widgets, actually just formatted links, which you can see above. These require only 2kb of resources so will load almost immediately.

Instead of JavaScript, we use server-side coding to insert the relevant details into each link. The different icons are stored in a single CSS Data URI Sprite for faster loading.

Adapted from Social Sharing Links & Buttons.
(copyright Chris Ferdinandi. Free to use under the MIT License)

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