Monday, June 1, 2009

Add To Any, the wicked widget with a dull name


By Jorge Sosa

If you like powerful widgets (and who doesn't?) you may want to check out Add To Any. It's a simple-to-use tool that can help steer users to your online content -- and keep them coming back for more. Best of all, as its creators boast, "Add To Any is free, and always will be."

Add To Any lets you incorporate a button on any of your Web pages so your visitors can easily share that page with anyone else. Add To Any's Share button lets a site visitor link to interesting content on your site via just about any social network/bookmark service you can imagine: Facebook, Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Delicious, Bebo, Reddit, FriendFeed and quite a few others I've never even heard of.

Using Add To Any

The default button is cleanly designed and unobtrusive, as you can see in Figure A. Rolling the cursor over the slim 130-by-25-pixel "Share/Save" button pops up a contextual menu listing 12 services site visitors can use to share that Web page.


The default Add To Any Share button is slick and unobtrusive. (click for larger image)

Figure B shows how the contextual menu appears for me. It might look different for you, because Add To Any trawls through your browser cache to determine which services you've used recently (in my case, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon Wish List) and puts those in bold at the top of your menu.


Rolling over the Share button pops up a menu of social networking and bookmarking services. (click for larger image)

All a site visitor has to do to share your Web page is click on one of these services. Clicking on the little triangle symbol below the first 12 services listed pops up a constantly updated menu of other services beyond the most popular dozen.

How to add Add To Any to your site

Using the Add To Any Share button is so easy and intuitive, it probably has taken me longer to explain it than it would take you to figure it out. Adding the button to your site or blog is almost as easy.

Just point your browser to and fill out the form. The form generates a custom snippet of code based on your preferences, which you can then copy-and-paste into your Web page. Add To Any remotely hosts the button's back-end Javascript on its own server, along with the images for the buttons.

If you don't like the default buttons Add To Any offers, you can make your own or steal a copyright-free one from this Flickr image collection.

While checking out the button generator form, you might have noticed an option to create a Subscribe button. The Subscribe button lets users follow updates to your site or blog using just about any feed reader or bookmark manager, or by email.

The Subscribe button is cool, but the Share button is the widget that really turns my crank. When your site visitors can share your Web content this easily, it makes it much easier for you to go viral. And any epidemiologist will tell you that's the way to rack up worldwide fame.

Jorge Sosa is a writer/photographer for the Hutchinson Leader. He can be reached via e-mail at or on Twitter at