All of the websites that we build for our clients are built in WordPress. It is a truly fantastic, free, open-source piece of software and I usually can’t think of any reason to not use it. And when it is set up, it is very beginner friendly, so it is ideal for most of my clients.
And another of the reasons it is so great is because there are so many ways to customise it, with things like plugins. These are add-ons, you put on to your WordPress site, to add an extra feature.
It goes without saying that social media, social sharing and ‘going viral’ have become big deals these days. And it is great for any business that can achieve that. With WordPress there are some absolutely fantastic social media and social sharing plugins you can use. All you have to do is install the plugin, spend a couple of minutes tweaking settings, and you are good to go.
These are in my opinion, the best plugins out there for their ease of use, quick loading time and general all-round awesomeness.
…Oh and they’re ALL FREE!
1. Wibiya Toolbar (http://www.wibiya.com)
Wibiya is a social toolbar plugin. You set up a Wibiya account, choose the social media apps you want on your site and then install the plugin. When someone logs on to your site, that toolbar appears along the bottom and scrolls down the page with them. It is completely non-intrusive, discreet and can be hidden if the visitor doesn’t like it.
So instead of having social media buttons on your content, you can have them in this live, active floating toolbar. So when someone wants to hit like or share or tweet the button is right there in front of them. You can even link in your Facebook page or your twitter profile so people can ‘like’ you or follow you straight from the bar.
You can see the bar in action on Places To Eat London.
2. Social Discussions
Social Discussions is the social media plugin I use on my own site. You get a great range of options, simple controls and it works with mobiles too. My website is responsive, so it shifts its shape to fit on to different devices. And I needed an adaptable, lightweight plugin to work well with that. And it does this perfectly.
I have my key buttons – Facebook like, Facebook share (which is more important than the like button), Tweet, Google Plus and Pinterest. Then I also have a share button, which pops open dozens of other options. So no one from any network is left out. It’s a great little feature. I would strongly recommend it.
Download link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/social-discussions/
3. Tiltshare Social Widget
Okay I don’t think this one is quite as functional or practical as the others I just suggested, but I think it looks very cool and I have it installed on all of our sites as well. Tiltshare is a plugin which lets you install a widget for all your social sharing buttons. If you look at the top right of this article, in the sidebar, you will see a line of social sharing buttons which you don’t find on my other pages. That is the Tiltshare widget.
Like I said, I think it looks very cool and covers a fantastic range of social networks. But it can be a bit out of the way, hidden and not in front of visitors eyes enough to get your viral sharing going on. I like it though, so I have got it installed.
I always prefer floating sharing buttons, instead of ones stuck at the start or the end of articles. That is why I use Wibiya. But you have another great option with Sharebar.
Sharebar adds a floating bar in the position you choose (meaning to the right or the left of your content) with the social networks you want on there. It is lightweight, quick loading, looks good and floats so it is easy for your site visitors to share your stuff. Just what you want!
Download link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sharebar/
If you have ever seen some slightly ‘racy’ looking sharing buttons, they were probably from Shareaholic.
Shareaholic are small, lightweight, quick loading, animated bookmarks which look good and are very popular. I have seen these sharing buttons on dozens and dozens of websites. Probably more than any other plugin.
I really like this, but I haven’t tested out their compatibility with responsive web sites yet. So I stick with tried and tested formulas. They do have a great mobile one, for mobile sites. But I don’t know what happens with responsive themes. I haven’t tested it yet.
So what you need to know – light, quick loading, fun, look good, very popular.
Download link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sexybookmarks/