In the following post you’re going to learn exactly which WordPress plugin I use as my go-to plugin for social shares. You’re also going to discover some other plugins that will help improve your social shares in one way or another.
Recently a lot of my readers have been asking me which plugin I’m using for social sharing here on Blogging Wizard through comments, emails and Twitter so I thought it was time to bring my answer to a larger audience because I know a lot of you would like to know.
To add as much value as possible I’ve included some other plugins in the mix so you’ve got more choice when you decide which WordPress social sharing plugins to use.
To help you get to what you’re looking for I have broken this list down into both free and premium WordPress plugins, you can click on the links below to navigate to the relevant section:
Right now this is my favourite social plugin that I’ve found, I first saw it on Neil Patel’s blog (Quicksprout) and since then I’ve seen it appear all over the place.
Flare provides you with share buttons that can float at the side of your post or appear above or below your post.
You can then choose exactly which services you want people to share on and the shape of your share buttons.
You can then go to the follow section, add the links to your profiles, customise your social profile buttons and head over to your widgets section and add yourself some social profile buttons into your sidebar.
I’ve used a lot of these types of plugins and this is by far the easiest plugin to use that provides social sharing buttons and social profile buttons.
Update November 5th 2013 – While I’m still a big fan of the Flare plugin, I have switched back to the Digg Digg plugin (mentioned below) a lot of the issues I used to have with Digg Digg have been cleared up in recent updates – Buffer have done a really good job keeping the plugin going and sort things out.
2. Digg Digg
This is the plugin that I used before Flare, I switched mainly because I preferred the look and feel of Flare, but it’s still a really great plugin, partly because it has a lot more in the way of customisation settings in comparison to Flare.
The team at Buffer (who are awesome by the way!) maintain and develop Digg Digg but it’s interesting to note that the Buffer blog also uses the Flare plugin.
It’s a great example of two great plugins being used together well.
AddThis provide social sharing buttons for a variety of platforms, not just WordPress.
Certain elements of this plugin aren’t as customisable as the likes of Digg Digg and there’s no floating sidebar option, but it’s still a really good plugin to work with.
You’ve got a variety of button layouts and what works really great here is the analytical data you get access to when you sign up for an AddThis account.
If Flare or Digg Digg just don’t do it for you then this is a great plugin to try that I’ve used on a few sites without any issues.
You’ve got the option for a floating or slide out sharing bar where you can customise all of the button types (vertical counts, box counts and that type of thing) and also which pages, posts, taxonomies that these social sharing buttons appear on.
The other thing I like about this is that you also get a social statistics panel within your admin area so you can see at a glance how well your shares are doing on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin.
Previously known as Sexy Bookmarks, Shareaholic boasts some very useful features. Choose your theme, layout, size and whether you want headlines above your sharing buttons.
What’s more is you don’t just get sharing buttons, you also get a related content widget and a top bar that displays social sharing buttons that floats down your page. Shareaholic also comes with helpful analytics to gain an insight into how successful your content is.
The company behind this plugin is LoginRadius, they specialise in integrating social logins into various content management systems including including WordPress.
Simplified Social Sharing allows you to choose from all of the main social platforms and a variety of layouts. You can choose to display social buttons vertically at the side of your content or horizontally on posts or pages.
Sometimes free plugins (even social sharing plugins) just don’t offer exactly what you need, this may be priority support, the look or the functionality.
That’s not to say you can’t get some good support from free plugins, but providing support for a free plugin? It’s not something I would expect from anyone due to the amount of time and resources that are needed for that sort of thing.
7. WP Sharely
This is a plugin that I’ve talked about in the past, both in my WP Sharely review and also my premium plugins article that I published a while back. It’s from the same team that brought us the Hybrid Connect plugin (read the review here) – and that is one of the best mailing list plugins on the market.
WP Sharely is a content locker that allows you to ethically bribe your readers into sharing your post.
It’s compatible with Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and has some great functionality.
A premium alternative for the likes of social sharing plugins like Digg Digg and Flare that comes with some great functionality including floating social sharing buttons and also shortcode for adding social sharing buttons exactly where you need them.
WordPress Social Share Buttons comes in at only $8 so it’s very reasonably priced.
Social Network Tabs for WordPress is a great plugin for drawing attention to the updates you are publishing across major social networking sites. You can choose from 16 of the top social networking sites and a total of 69 feed options, all in all this is a very customisable plugin.
You can choose various positions for this widget to appear, customise colours and the plugin also supports custom CSS.
This plugin makes it easy for your blogs readers to follow you on the social networks that they are most active on and interact with your updates.
There are times when you will want to use shortcodes to add social sharing buttons – this plugin allows you to do just that and supports Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.
The plugin can easily be customised using CSS and features some great styling options. This plugin looks seriously cool.
The Advanced Social Widget will make it extremely easy for all of your blogs readers to connect with you by providing you with this handy widget.
You can integrate all of the main social networks along with your RSS feed and email sign up.
There are 4 different layouts that this plugin comes with but there’s not where the customisation ends because you can change the majority of colours of the design and choose from 38 backgrounds. This means you can easily customise the plugin to fit your blog perfectly.
There is a big opportunity that bloggers often miss out on when it comes to images and that is using them to as a way to get more social shares.
WP Easy Social Hover allows you to do just that by displaying social sharing buttons when your readers hover over all of your images. You can choose from 1 of 12 different effects and 10 different backgrounds to display to your readers. Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest are currently supported.
Social signals are incorporated into Google’s algorithm and getting shares in general makes your site look really good and will help you generate traffic so you must make this easy for yourself otherwise your blog could easily fall flat on its face.
To some, I know I’m preaching to the converted but if you aren’t making it easy for your readers to share then most of the time they won’t.
That’s not to say there won’t be people that go out of their way to share, but generally not that many people will do that (although we can always hope).
Now, over to you – what social sharing plugins are you using on your blog right now?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.