One of the best features of Wordpress (and part of the reason for its popularity) is its extensive plugin library. Whatever feature you desire or whatever function you’d like your blog to perform, you’ll no doubt find a plugin to suit. At the time of writing there are over 50,000 verified and readily available Wordpress plugins to download helping to make Wordpress the most developed and customised application on the planet.
Today, we’re going to run through some of my favourite plugins in the social sharing sector. All of the plugins featured below are designed to assist in the growth of your social following and aim to maximise the social reach of your blog content. I’ve chosen my 7 best from a personal standpoint but in reality there are at least 20+ which are able to handle most of the social share related tasks you’d desire.
I am starting this list with Sumo as it is one of my favourite applications due to the fact it’s free, easy to setup and offers an extensive array of tools. Most users simply use the floating sharing icons across their blog content but it offers much more than that with over 30 tools built in. And that’s just the free version. The professional version comes with much more although it’s doubtful that most regular bloggers will require such detailed analytical tools. Sumo also makes it easy to generate a newsletter/email list as well as social sharing. It’s truly the most complete plugin when it comes to maximising growth on a per visitor basis.
Social warfare is a more sharing orientated social plugin that offers more than a simple floating icon list attached to a bunch of share functions. In short, it’s highly customisable meaning you can place share icon elements both sitewide and in specific locations in your posts. You can also call specific functions such as the click to tweet action meaning your integration options become even more flexible. It also features regular widgets for you to populate your sidebars with such as the ever popular most popular posts output.
Whilst Monarch is simply a regular sharing icon list like those offered by the plugins above it is very design orientated, the look and feel of the icon bar and the choice of icons available make it much easier to integrate into any style of design as opposed to be stuck with the default visuals as per the likes of the above. It also features a whole bunch of useful triggers which allow you to specific when and how you’d like your social sharing icons to appear such as after a user comments, after a percentage of the page has been scrolled or simply on a timer. You can also fix sharing icons on top of images or within the post body itself rather than simply have them float left or right.
This plugin prides itself on its simplicity and the fact that it is extremely light weight compared to other often cumbersome plugins. The developers of this solution realise how important site speed is and load time of your content in general and have endeavored to provide a highly specific plugin that allows users to simply output a bunch of social sharing icons at the top/bottom of your post without the need to bundle their plugin with lots of features that you might not even want. You simply have the choice of a regular button or a button with a share count. That’s it. Beautifully simple.
Another light weight, high performance sharing plugin is MashShare. It prides itself on the fact that it doesn’t make any remote JS or CSS calls meaning your blog loads significantly faster than those which require this. The plugin itself is as simple as you’d expect with the option to offer a list of beautifully styled vector icons across certain elements of your site and also short codes to allow you to place the icons where you see fit in your content itself. The options in terms of networks are fairly standard but if you want to offer sharing via networks such as Reddit or LinkedIn you will need to upgrade via their add on offerings.
Out of the box this plugin works really well and the comprehensive option panel allows you to choose the sizing and overall look and feel of your buttons well. You can also choose whether or not to show the share count and add additional text to the buttons as well as before and after them. If that wasn’t enough, the back end of the plugin allows you to add additional CSS code in general meaning you can completely customise the output visuals yourself. Although you will need some coding experience in order to do this.
There is no doubting that AddToAny is one of the most popular social sharing plugins out there. Especially when it comes to free options. Whilst the application itself is straight forward and comes with all of the customisation options you’d expect what sets it apart from the competition is the amount of services/networks it is geared up for. It allows you to add sharing icons for up to 100 different services where as with other similar plugins it will only offer the major ones for free and you’d need to buy an add on should you want more of the lesser used networks.
Growing your social following and getting the most out of each of your visitors should be a priority for any blogger or webmaster. A single unique visitor has the potential to be turned into lots of unique visitors or at the very least a repeat visitor. Your content and your social sharing mechanisms need to facilitate this. You need to adapt the mindset of converting each visitor into a newsletter sign up, social follow/link or at least a content share/link. If you can do this with even a tiny percentage of your daily visitors your blog will grow exponentially.
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