Social media is the second biggest driver of traffic to your website or blog, second only to search engines. People love sharing stuff, especially ‘share-worthy’ content and the question is, how effortless can this process become on your site. Recent research by BrightEdge Research shows that sites with improved sharing options, can have seven times more mentions on Social Media, than sites who neglect it.
There are hundreds of social media plugins out there, and choosing the right one really depends on your requirements and what works best for you. Here are a few that we like.
ShareThis – this is a Swiss army knife in terms of plugins. It scores on the following parameters
- Easy to configure.
- Multiple options, including a single button option rather than the typical multiple button option.
- Also has a hover option that remains permanent on all pages.
- Also has email sharing options for those who want to share your content but not via any of the social networks.
- Integrates with most of the popular social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest Linked in and more.
- Distinguishes between the Facebook Like and Facebook Share options.
- Has extra Twitter options, such as appending all tweets with ‘via…’.
- Can edit the HTML and widget options using code.
- Incorporates some basic analytics once you register with them.
- Regularly updated.
Shareaholic provides more or less the same level of functionality as ShareThis with the exception of the following.
- More control over configurations. More options and easier to configure.
- Integrated with over 60+ social networks.
Both these plugins do really well in terms of enabling even the not-so-technically-inclined make changes and configure them rather easily. They are simple to use but packed with everything that you probably need. A social media plugin, in our opinion, must have analytics. Being able to analyze how your information is being shared, will give you valuable insight into your customer base. Both these plugins come with analytics built in. However these plugins only enable visitors to share your content. But you probably also want people to subscribe to your Facebook page or follow your Twitter account.
That’s where WP MashSocial Widget comes in. Inspired by Mashable’s social media widget, this all-in-one widget, enables your visitors to subscribe to email updates, follow you on Facebook, Twitter and more and also retweet and like pages. It also encourages visitors by telling them who amongst their friends on Facebook, likes the same site.
If you want people to ‘subscribe’ to your Facebook page (as opposed to ‘liking’ a post) or if you want to incorporate social commenting on your page, you might want to consider the default Facebook for WordPress plugin, which gives you a stripped down version of distinct functionality such as the Like button, the Send button, the Subscribe button, the social commenting button, the activity feed that you can incorporate on your site as well as the recommendations box, recommendations bar, login and registration.
There are some brilliant plugins out there. But it comes down to what you need, and how your visitor base likes to share information. We would probably use a combination of two or three of the plugins mentioned in the article above in order to meet all our needs. But don’t take our word for it. Test these (and others) out and let us know what you think.
This guest post was written by Susan, who is with blogVault, a Premium WordPress Backup Service