Share plugins are a dime a dozen in the WordPress repository, but most aren’t worth the time it takes to check out the screenshots. I’ve done the hard work for you here, and gathered the absolute best for your consideration. All you need to do is make sure your content is worth sharing – there are no plugins to do that for you.
This remains my firm favourite – a simple floating share bar that sticks to the top left on your content, which ensures that sharing is always possible. If users have to search around for a share option, you’re doing something wrong.
DiggDigg is also one of the most visually attractive share plugins, with subtle shades adding to the sense of “floating”, the share buttons featured can be customized to your requirements and you needn’t use the floating option, but otherwise it’s a very basic plug and play option.
This plugin gets my award for customization and sheer amount of included features. Capable of running a variety of share button types (with or without counter, floating bar, various sizes), ShareThis also has some innovative frictionless sharing features (which users can activate to automatically share content), and social analytics.
Share To Unlock – “Pay With a Tweet”
Going viral is the holy grail of online content. If you offer something of value for free, then it’s only fair that you ask for something in return. Pay with a Tweet enables your users to do this with either a tweet or share (to Facebook), and though it may not quite make it viral, you’ll have a better chance with this.
Creating a button is free; and you can pay with a tweet to download their eBook about making the best use of social media.
If you think you have room to space across the bottom of the screen, then Wibiya offers a beautiful share bar which also offers content recommendations and actions tailored to your users. One part of the bar is your customizable “dock”, with a permanent set of share buttons or links that you choose. The dynamic display area then attempts to display the optimal action to the “right user, at the right time”.
Installation requires registration – start here.
Code It Yourself
Also ensure that you have the correct OpenGraph tags setup so that the social networks can pull the correct metadata, such an excerpts and images for your page. Without this, they make a best guess but often get it wrong. The simplest way to set up OpenGraph tags is to use WordPress SEO which will automatically add them to every page. This is what we use at MakeUseOf.
Which Buttons To Use?
There are hundreds of social networks out there, and while some plugins will actuallly let you include all of them in one big mess, that’s not really the best way to encourage sharing.
As an absolute minimum, you’ll want Facebook and Twitter – combined, these account for the largest proportion of all of social traffic. If your audience is pretty tech savvy, Google Plus One may also be desirable. For non-tech savvy, be sure to include an email button. If you have a largely female audience and your content features attractive “pinnable” pictures, then a Pinterest button is a must. Beyond that, StumbleUpon is hit and miss; though when it hits, it hits big with a huge traffic surge.
OK, you have a social plugin installed and ready. Now what? For starters, be sure to read my 8 best tactics for making a blog popular. Install a replacement comment provider like LiveFyre which will help to keep the conversation flowing. Download our guide to social media marketing, and finally, be sure to review our Best of WordPress Plugins page.
If you’re only just setting out on the WordPress blogging road, may I also suggest my great beginners guide to Blogging with WordPress? For those of you who have an established site and are looking for ways to monetize it, I also wrote the Monetization Manual.
Did I miss your social sharing plugin? I deliberately didn’t include quite a few actually, so there was probably a good reason – but if you think you know an even better solution, do let me know in the comments and I’ll check it out.
And don’t forget – if you appreciated this post, do as the ninja cats say, and share it!