As part of creating this website, I have been adding plugins to enhance the site and start to build its power. One area that is vital to building the power of the website is to add Social Media and there are several parts to this: ability to post your blog to the different sites, allow people to follow you on Social Media and for your readers the ability to share your content.
In this case I am looking at the later feature – social media share plugins to allow your reader to share your content on different social sites. This sharing is by far the most credible way to improve your website influence on the web. It’s the social proof that Google and the other search engines love about a website – genuine people spreading links back to your website.
Now if your theme doesn’t provide you with a Social Share Plugin I have 5 that you may look into to find the best one that suits you.
With any plugin you have to do your research about on them (How to choose a WordPress plugin).
First of all remember to define what you want the plugin to do and sometimes more importantly not want it to do. Here are my requirements:
- It has to float alongside the post i.e. It has to be responsive and as a reader scrolls up and down the page
- It has to be able to include counts of the share
- It has to have been updated in the last 12 months or be compatible to version 3.5 or higher of WordPress.
As part my set up I did some research and testing of some of the popular plugins and here is what I found.
It’s a popular plugin and offers more than just the share features I am interested in and the good news is it is free. Shareaholic boasts the features I was looking for – the floating sidebar with counter.
I tried to install it as it looked like it had all the features I wanted. It has good analytics and graphics for your website. However I had to couple of points you need to be aware:
You have to register a free account with Shareaholic to get these features. However, if your website has set up as a subdomain i.e. charliemkeenan.com/blog rather than at the root, then you won’t connect. As I found out their tool is “trained” to sweep the root domain for their set-up code for verification. The fix needs them to be handled manually by the support team.
Secondly, your user experience when trying to share posts is done via Shareaholic and that can take time.
Share Buttons by AddThis
I then took a look at this website share Plugin by AddThis – on the face of it would be doing what I wanted. It allows you to integrate with300+ Social Media platforms, booking and emailing. Used by over 2.6m sites so supports the popular nature of the plugin; it has had recent updates and at the time of writing is compatible with the latest WordPress version.
Again you have to register on their website to activate the account.
Most of the features offered are free but when I went to find the count feature I found it on the Pro version. Shame as I liked the look of this one. Cost of Pro version varies depending on page views starting at $10 per month for 10k views.
Slick Social Sharing Buttons
I then turned to look at Slick Social Sharing Buttons plugin as it had the floating feature and the counter with this. Slightly order looking graphics but it has only the major share sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.
You don’t need to register or set up on the plugin site. All the admin and analytics are on the admin page of your website. Main disadvantage is that the plugin hasn’t been updated since June 2013 so is potentially as time moves on likely to be problematic.
Secondly the graphics of the “share” buttons are old style in my opinion, so adding them may date your website.
Digg Digg is a popular free plugin which has been developed by Buffer (a social share service) with over 200k users. It has the features of counting and floating share bar and covers more sites than Slick. There is no external site to activate or set up from.
However like Slick above this plugin hasn’t been updated since June 2013 and like Slick, its share buttons are slightly old style.
Though both these plugins do work now, as time progresses the risk increases that they won’t work or even open up a security risk as their compatibility to the latest version of WordPress widens.
Monarch has been created by Elegant Themes offering some impressive features. What I like about it is it offers different places on the page to display or even animate the buttons. They include popups and fly-ins – which are intended to encourage your reader to share you post onto the different social sites (25 currently).
One feature which is different is you can activate the sharing of images from the image itself. You can see the share buttons on this post. Why not try than and share this post.
However it’s not free, you have to purchase a membership, which if you just want this plugin is expensive but if you use the themes then it is really a bonus! Cost is $69, but you get access to 87 themes and of course this share plugin.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.