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I have included the Google+1 button on my blog. Each post outputs a +1 button on the bottom. Depending if you are viewing the actual post or just the main page the +1 button will "+1" either the post address or blog website address.

This made me think for a bit if the +1 button should be configured to +1 the blog section (www.example.org/blog), +1 the main website address (www.example.org), or +1 individual posts?

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5 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I suggest having +1 buttons affect whatever page they're on (i.e. individual posts instead of your homepage or blog page, if that's what's being displayed).

This maximises the chance of other +1 users seeing recommendations in their search results for the wide range of search terms that return your blog posts, instead of the handful of search terms that return your blog's homepage.

Having as many pages plussed as possible is a good strategy, because Google only gives up a small space in search results to show that friends recommended that page; the increased clickthrough from having 10 people the user knows recommend a particular site over one person recommending it is likely to be negligible. I will often visit sites that one friend has plussed, even if it's quite low in the search results; it really is a good indicator of quality. (If you trust your friends.)

Of course, the +1 button on your blog and homepage could still plus the index pages themselves as you've suggested.

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To the most part I agree with Nick's answer, but I would like to add the following important note from the Google Webmaster Tools Help (emphasis mine):

To maximize your +1's, we recommend:

A "site-level" +1 button that targets either your Google+ page URL or the URL of your site's home page. This can be a standalone +1 button or Google+ badge (described on this page) in your site's header or right-hand navigation.

A "content-level" +1 button that targets the URL of the page, and appears above the fold, near the article headline, product name, or other significant content.

In my opinion, it is the UX designer's responsibility to distinguish between these two buttons so that the user gets the change to +1 either the whole site, or the current content page, or - best of all - both.

PS. If you run a fairly large site, check out my blog post on dynamically loading and debugging your Google+ buttons.

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I agree with all the answer given now for sites/blogs with many pages.

But IMHO for small commercial website (5/7 pages) I would make the +1 on every page to always plus just the website home page, for mainly 2 reasons:

  • it's the home page url that is more probable to be displaied in Google result (for a little site)

  • it's already hard to have many +1 on one page, it would be even harder if you distribute the plusses on all pages

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+1 has been designed for marking interesting, cool or useful stuff on the web, not necesairly for indicating that you like a website in general. For this reason I think that the correct approach should be to provide individual articles (posts, galleries and so on) with individual +1 buttons. There are at least three advantages to this approach:

  1. It is more likely that people will find a specific article worth clicking the +1 button. Even if the rest of your website is not that interesting to them, this single blog post you have written may be something they will recommend to their friends because it shows something cool or answers a particular question.
  2. It encourages deep linking, i.e. direct links to individual pages on your website. This is good for the same reason as in the previous point. You are more likely to be visited by people if you offer valuable content on a specific subject. People look for specific things rather than for "generally cool websites".
  3. You avoid confusion. Since it is more probable that people will want to recommend a single part of your website, it is more intuitive to have individual +1s for each part.
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My suggestion would be use it as you would a Facebook Like button. It would be confusing for users to have some social media buttons in one place doing one thing and some others in another place doing something else.

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But couldn't a Facebook like button could be used in the same way - to like an entire website, not just the content that appears on the current page? –  w3d Aug 9 '11 at 14:05
    
It could, but in this instance that would also be wrong, the user will think they are just liking the post. –  Toby Aug 9 '11 at 14:13
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