Social media has, without a doubt, revolutionized the way internet users share information online. When I first started blogging, it was common for readers to subscribe to blogs using RSS. Nowadays, however, it’s more common for people to subscribe to a website’s Twitter, Facebook or Google+ page to be notified of new content.
Social media has become such an integral part of the internet that, for the majority of websites, it’s their second highest source of traffic!
As a website owner, you can take advantages of these changes by making it as easy as possible for people to share your content — which means including social media buttons on your website.
Let’s take a look at ten of the very best plugins (including free and premium options) for displaying social media sharing bars and buttons on WordPress posts and pages…
In a short space of time, Elegant Themes have managed to establish their WordPress plugin, Monarch, as one of the best social media sharing solutions available. The plugin is free to those who have a developer license at Elegant Themes, which costs $89 per year and grants access to their 87 WordPress themes and five WordPress plugins.
Monarch allows you to display social media sharing buttons in a floating bar, in a pop-up, above and below content, and on a fly-in box at the bottom of each page. What’s more, buttons can be also shown on images and videos.
The buttons look gorgeous, and the plugin offers support for more than 20 social media networks. It also gives you many ways to change how things are displayed, allowing you to choose from various icon styles, shapes and colors. There’s an option to display the total number of shares next to each button, and you can also define what triggers a pop-up or fly-in box to be displayed.
In short: Monarch is a well-rounded social media sharing solution that has an extremely user-friendly interface. If you’re already an Elegant Themes customer, I recommend giving this one a try first!
Available from CodeCanyon for only $14, Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress is a feature-packed solution that supports more than 20 social media networks. I used the plugin for months on my personal blog (before I switched to Monarch), and I loved the wide range of icon sets it offered.
If you’re looking for a social media sharing plugin with heaps of customization options, Easy Social Share Buttons is for you. It has dozens of different settings pages, and boasts 12 icon sets, 19 built-in templates, a template customizer, four button styles, nine counter styles, four total counter styles, a shortcode generator, and much more. Sharing buttons can be displayed above and below content, in a floating bar, in a fly-in at the bottom of pages, or via shortcode inside the content area.
The sheer number of options may seem a little overwhelming, but, thankfully, the plugin also features a handy customization wizard that helps you set everything up the way you want in a matter of minutes.
Simple Share Buttons Adder is a minimal sharing solution that allows you to automatically insert social media sharing buttons above and below your content area. Buttons can also be inserted into your homepage, archives, and excerpts.
Fifteen social media services are supported, and the plugin lets you change the text that’s displayed next to the sharing buttons. You can also modify the styling of buttons, their alignment, and the container. Despite being a simple sharing solution, the plugin offers nine unique button designs, allows the number of shares to be displayed, and comes packaged with its own widget.
This particular plugin is in fact being used on this very site to display the circular sharing buttons you’ll notice above and below the articles (such as this one).
Simple Share Buttons Plus (the premium version) is available from $9.99 and offers various additional features such as retina-ready images, click tracking, and sharing statistics.
Social Sharing by Danny is one of my favorite social media plugins for WordPress. It’s a simple solution that adds sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to the end of posts, pages, and media.
The plugin has just a few basic options: You can change the text label, define your Twitter username, and choose whether 16×16 pixel or 32×32 pixel icons are displayed.
Social Sharing by Danny is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a minimal solution for your website.
AddThis (or, to give it its official plugin name, ‘Smart Website Tools by AddThis‘), is one of the most popular social media solutions for WordPress. To use the plugin, you need to register with the AddThis service.
It offers ten different social media sharing positions — five of these are free to use, and five are restricted to those who upgrade to their pro plan (which retails at either $12 per month or $99 per year). They also offer four follow tools, two marketing tools, and eight recommended content tools.
Everything is configured on the AddThis website: All you have to do is install the plugin and make sure your account has been activated. Once you’ve done that, any changes you make on your AddThis account will automatically be applied to your website.
The social media sharing tools are great and very easy to install. For each sharing tool, you can choose where the buttons are displayed, the size of buttons, and whether the page share count is shown.
Formerly known as Sexy Bookmarks (you can see why they changed the name!), Shareaholic is a versatile free WordPress plugin that offers social media sharing buttons and related content blocks.
The plugin has an interesting configuration page. You can customize your sharing buttons individually for above and below your content on posts, pages, your homepage, and categories (i.e. eight unique areas). The customizer allows you to choose from four themes and from seven headlines (although, if you prefer, the headline can be removed).
The customizer also lets you change the position, layout, size, counter, and alignment of your buttons. A total of 83 social networks and internet services are supported by the plugin.
ShareThis is a popular social media sharing plugin that offers three button styles, and supports a whopping 120 social media networks and services.
Buttons can be displayed above and/or below your content area, and there’s a choice of either a floating bar or a fixed bar that can be shown at the top of each page.
Where ShareThis lags behind some competitors is its lack of icon sets, offering them in just one style (in either small or large sizes). Official sharing buttons are available, but it’s a little disappointing to see such a versatile plugin not offering any additional icon styles.
If you want a simple social media sharing solution, you should definitely consider Floating Social Bar, which displays a simple row of official sharing buttons at the top of posts, pages, and media. When a user scrolls down the page, the sharing bar remains fixed at the top.
The plugin supports Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, although only a few options are available in the admin area, such as adding a label above the sharing bar, and defining your Twitter username.
Jetpack has evolved into one of the most versatile WordPress plugins available. It includes 34 modules, and more are continually being added by Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com).
The sharing module is simple, but effective. It supports nine social media networks, as well as email and print buttons. You can display icons, text, icons and text, or official sharing buttons. Buttons can be enabled on your home page, archives, search results, posts, pages, and media, and the sharing label and Twitter username can also be defined.
Jetpack provides a simple sharing solution. The output looks great, and it only takes seconds to configure.
Inspired by news blog Mashable, Mashshare is a big and bold social media plugin. The free version supports Facebook and Twitter, and displays the total number of shares and views. The sharing bar can be displayed above and/or below posts, pages, and other post types.
A subscription box is also available — you can configure its contents using the WordPress editor, or, if you prefer, you can link the subscribe button directly to a URL. The subscription box is a fantastic addition to the plugin, and one that distinguishes Mashshare from the competition.
Nine premium add-ons are available for Mashshare, including an add-on to bring support for 17 other networks, analytics, and a Facebook like bar. Add-ons retail at €18 each for a single site license.
When it comes to social media sharing, everyone has different views on what’s good and what’s not. For this reason, I’d encourage you to test out a few of the options listed above, and, where possible, review the demos of each thoroughly. Shop around and pay attention to the locations within posts and pages that the plugins support, the styles that are available, and the social media sharing networks included — and, above all, be sure to choose a solution that has everything you need and integrates well with the design of your website.
For many years, I switched between Jetpack and Social Sharing by Danny on my own blog. I love the simplicity and minimalism of these plugins, and the fact that they add very little load time to a page.
Later, I moved to Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress, and then switched again a couple of months ago to Elegant Theme’s Monarch plugin. I’m always open to the idea of changing my social media sharing buttons when better solutions come along, but, for the time being at least, I’m sticking with Monarch — although, as already mentioned, I’d encourage you to test out a few different ones to see which matches your needs best.
Using any of these? Which would you say is the best? Any you dislike? Any favorites?