Content sharing is one of the easiest ways to drive traffic to your site. With this digital and mobile world, social media plays a vital role in distributing the content to interested audience. And WordPress makes the social sharing simple through hundreds of free and premium plugins. In this article let us explore more on the importance of social sharing and top 5 social sharing plugins for WordPress that will help to get more followers and drive traffic.
Before Installing Social Sharing Plugin
WordPress classifies social sharing under the territorial of plugins. Hence you will not see any free themes offers social sharing as part of theme itself. As far as we checked, most of the commercial themes also do not offer inbuilt social sharing. WordPress plugin repository shows 1000+ found when you search for “Social Sharing”. You will get lost with hundreds of free and premium plugins before finding a good one for your need.
Before looking for the plugin, list down your needs and below are some of the requirements people generally look for:
- Possibility of different placement positions of social sharing buttons. For example, you should be able to add the buttons below post title and after the content.
- Multiple layout styles like circle, square, rectangle, with network name, without network name.
- Mobile display – responsive on mobile and floating as a bottom bar.
- Floating on left or right side and scroll along with content.
- Complete share analytics.
- Different types of social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
- Elegant follow us buttons.
- Enable or disable share counts.
- Animated and retina support social buttons.
- Using it in widget area and supports shortcode embed on anywhere.
The requirement depends on the theme and style of your site. In our analysis below are the top 5 free social sharing plugins for WordPress based on the features offered and user reviews.
- AddToAny Share Buttons
- Share Buttons by AddThis
- Shareaholic – Share Buttons, Related Posts, Social Analytics & More
- Simple Share Buttons Adder
- Social Media Feather
1. AddToAny Share Buttons
AddToAny is the top free social plugin with more than 300 thousands of active installations. Basically this is a third party service commonly available for all websites with additional embed code for platforms like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. The plugin is a dedicated one for self hosted WordPress users.
It has huge features which should satisfy all kind of your general needs.
- More than 100 social networks are available. You can display primary icons and use + button to display remaining icons in a popup.
- Multiple placement option like before and after content
- Use as a shortcode in widgets.
- Responsive, retina supported with scalable vector graphics (SVG) icons.
- “AddToAny Follow” widget for adding follow buttons on the sidebar and footer widgets.
- Automatic integration with Google Analytics to see the statistics (you should have installed Google Analytics on that page).
- Show share counter besides each network icon.
- Horizontal and vertical floating buttons.
The AddToAny WordPress plugin does not require any other signups and has very good support from the developer.
2. Share Buttons By AddThis
AddThis is again a common social sharing service for multiple platforms and the WordPress plugin is a kind of integration for self hosted WordPress users. It has more than 200 thousands active installs and a decent support on the forum.
- Multiple placement options different sizes.
- Attractive floating social buttons with or without counter.
- Fixed mobile toolbar at top or bottom position.
You need to create an account for getting access to the dashboard and view the statistics. Also this plugin only offers share buttons, there are three other plugins for follow buttons, related posts and all in one plugin. So if you are looking for both follow and share buttons then we would recommend to go with the AddThis website instead of installing two WordPress plugins.
3. Shareaholic – Share Buttons, Related Posts, Social Analytics & More
Shareaholic is content amplification management plugin that helps you to show social share and follow buttons along with additional options for related posts.
Below is the complete list of features:
- Simple and attractive social buttons with floating option.
- SVG share and follow buttons with mobile optimized.
- Integrate Google Analytics automatically.
- Related posts with monetization option.
- Supports popular URL shortener services like bit.ly and goo.gl.
4. Simple Share Buttons Adder
As the plugin name indicates it simply helps to add social sharing buttons on all posts and pages of your WordPress site.
- Supports URL shortener.
- Can be added anywhere on the site with shortcode.
- Attractive bottom bar on mobile devices.
- Click tracking through dashboard.
5. Social Media Feather – Social Media Sharing
Social Media Feather plugin powers more than hundred thousands of WordPress sites with nominal support.
The plugin offers the following features:
- Retina and high resolution support.
- Offers widget to add share and follow buttons on sidebar.
- Supports shortcode with customizations.
- Supports adding social icons on posts, pages and custom post types.
Important to Know About Social Sharing Plugins
Free is always not a good option, especially with social sharing plugins. Below are some of the important points you should aware of these free plugins:
As big data analysis is booming almost all social plugins collect the traffic data from installed websites. They use the collected data for statistical analysis purposes. For example, Social Media Feather plugin does this as anonymous data aggregation service.
Some of the plugins direct the traffic to their website. Let us take an example of AddToAny. When you click on the share button, first it will go to addtoany.com before getting redirected to the social sharing site. This has two aspect – one is the dependency on third party server and the second is about privacy. Each social sharing click on your site will be tracked by AddToAny for that matter.
In summary, read the terms and conditions of the plugin before installing on your WordPress site.