A standard feature on most websites, social sharing buttons are a great way to increase engagement. They let visitors share their favourite content with their friends and followers and in return, you get more traffic and new sales. The sticking point, however, is which social share plugin to use; there are so many to choose from. To narrow down your search, our WordPress hosting team have chosen their top five social sharing plugins for you to take a closer look at.
What to look for in a social sharing plugin
On the surface, there seems to be very little difference between the range of WordPress social share plugins available. They all provide a selection of buttons, usually with similar designs, which are displayed on your website so that users can click on them to share your content.
However, there are things you might want to look at in more detail. Some social sharing plugins provide a wider range of buttons than others, some provide floating buttons while others are fixed, there are also plugins that let you customise the size and colour of the buttons. There are a number of other features you may also want to consider before choosing.
In addition, you may also want to know how a social share plugin impacts the speed of your website. As each plugin requires more data to be sent to a user’s browser, you’ll be better served by installing a plugin that has a minimal effect on your loading times; after all, this can affect your Google ranking.
When choosing our top picks, we took all those factors into consideration, as well as the price, in order to come to our final five. We hope you like our choices.
1. Social Warfare
Although there’s a free version from within WordPress, it’s the much better, $29 premium version of Social Warfare that we found so appealing. This powerful social sharing plugin provides you with attractive looking buttons for the social media sites that matter and gives you a range of options in how you display them: above or below the content, above and below, manual placement and floating buttons. You also have the option to turn sharing off on individual posts or pages if you wish.
Other great features of the pro version include responsive design, analytics integration, sharable quotes, custom tweets, content protection, Pinterest images and more. As for performance, in most tests, it didn’t increase site speed what so ever. It’s well worth a closer look.
2. Easy Social Share
Easy Social Share is a free plugin you can install directly from your WordPress dashboard. It enables you to add buttons for the main social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and even via email.
It lets you display buttons in either the header or footer of your posts or, alternatively, provides a short code for placing them within your content. You can even add buttons to images. There are two other options to choose from, you can display the icons with or without the number of shares being shown.
3. WP Social Sharing
WP Social Sharing is another free plugin available from the WordPress repository, providing responsive social share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, Reddit, Google+ and Pinterest. It enables you to add buttons to posts, pages, images and custom post types.
Buttons can be displayed above and below the content or, using a shortcode, can be placed within it. You can remove unwanted icons, if you wish, and reorder the ones you have selected. In order to encourage readers to share, the plugin also lets you add your own text to the buttons.
If you are looking for a social share button with bells and whistles, then Monarch is perhaps the ideal choice. However, to get the plugin you do have become an Elegant Themes member, which will cost you $89, though this also lets you use their 80+ WordPress themes (including the fantastic Divi theme) and some other awesome plugins.
With regard to features, Monarch lets you add buttons for just about every social media platform worth sharing to, over 40 in total. Each button is customisable, both in size and design, and can be displayed almost anywhere: on a floating sidebar, above or below the content, on a popup, by fly-in and on any media. You can even control when the social media icons appear, for example, after a specific time or user action. In addition, the plugin also enables you to track your audience, so you can monitor how they interact with your site.
However, whilst these are obviously great features, providing all this functionality means the plugin isn’t the most lightweight on our list. Although Elegant Themes have done a reasonable job in keeping its impact on speed low, it still increases loading times by around 0.4 seconds.
5. Ultimate Sharing
With over 3,500 five-star reviews on WordPress, Ultimate Sharing is a highly popular plugin that lets users share to over 200 social media sites (not that you’ll ever need them all) as well as to RSS and email. It also has a wide range of plugin designs you can choose from, over 16 in total. You can even upload custom share icons if you don’t like the designs they provide.
As for display options, this is one of the few plugins that lets your icons have multi-purpose functionality. For example, you can use your Facebook button to send visitors to your Facebook page and let them use it to like your content. There is a host of other display options, too, including animated, popup and floating buttons, all with or without share counts.
Whilst the plugin can have a small impact on loading speed, we like it because it’s programmed to load after all other scripts on your site, meaning that a decrease in speed won’t impact a user’s experience.