(So far anyway… ;)
The easiest way to increase the number of people sharing the content on your website is by simply making it easier to share. But despite how painfully obvious this “solution” is, every day I see websites screwing it up.
And remember, “social sharing” is now playing a bigger role than just exposing you to new potential customers on the different social networks while at the same time creating free social proof (just in case this isn’t enough)…
It’s also playing an ever-more-important role in getting good rankings in Google.
If you sit in a room full of SEO geeks for about 5 minutes you are bound to hear them mention “social signals”.
Social signals happen when someone shares your content across one of the big social networks, which Google looks at as a ‘signal’ that people care about your site. And if other people care enough about your site to share it then Google knows they need to pay attention.
Another way to look at it, social signals are like backlinks from social networks… kind of.
So if you still don’t believe or care about social signals then you can quit reading now… but if you want to learn about the tools I use to get the visitors to my website to share my content and create social signals then keep reading…
Oh, I should also note that this post is NOT about writing great content.
I mean, it should be a given that if you write crappy content you can make it as easy to share as you want but it ain’t gonna happen (unless it includes a cute kitten in a cup… then all bets are off).
Instead, I want to share a few of the tools I’ve discovered over the past year that I use on my different websites to make sharing my content dead simple and like any “favorite tools” type article, it may not seem like a lot but it is all of the tools I spent hours testing that you do NOT see here that makes this information so valuable.
I can honestly say that I’ve spent at least 50 hours in the last year testing social sharing WordPress plugins and tools. So figure out how much an hour of your time is worth, multiply it by 50 and that is how much this article is worth to you.
You can thank me later (cash or credit will be fine :)…
Also, all of the social sharing tools I am about to share were tested on WordPress and some will NOT work for non-WordPress sites.
So in no particular order…
My Top 3 Favorite Social
Sharing WordPress Plugins
This is great if you just want a simple social sharing plugin for WordPress that gets the job done and does not overcomplicate things.
You may think that more is better: it isn’t.
Don’t go crazy and add as many share buttons as you can find – just stick to three or four that best reach your audience. I always go with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and then depending on your brand you may want to include Pinterest.
Another nice feature is that you can easily position the share bar in different positions and styles to suit your site’s layout. For those of you who are members of The Internet Business Accelerator, I offer an easy step-by-step video on how to do this.
TOOL #2: Shareaholic (Click Here)
Shareaholic is another sharing plugin that I personally use on my blog because it comes with a few extra features I like including…
- Social Analytics: So you can gauge how often your content is shared, and which posts appeal more to your readers.
- Cool Icons: If you want to get away from the ‘standard’ sharing icons then Shareaholic is the answer. They have a few different sets of VERY cool icons that are more likely to grab the reader’s attention.
TOOL #3: Total Facebook Integration
Although, this really isn’t a specific tool I thought it should make the list since it is so important…
Now when we talk about Facebook integration is really goes beyond just having the ‘like’ button on each page and post. You can also give people the option to…
- Share your content on their wall
- Follow you directly from your site
- Comment on your posts via Facebook
- Display your FB fans directly on your site (instant social proof)
Facebook has developed a plugin that manages all of this and you can get all of the details at: https://developers.facebook.com/wordpress/
[shadow500] In Summary…
There are tons of different social sharing WordPress plugins out there and lots of them have their own strengths but the three I listed above are the ones I use every day.
I should also mention I am going to be testing Digg Digg built by BufferApp which offers a whole suite of social media management tools but it is too early to comment and I may revise this post if it turns out to be a keeper, but I am not holding my breath…
So far my experience with social sharing WordPress plugins and apps that require scripts and buttons to load on someone else’s server (ie. AddThis.com and ShareThis.com) haven’t been good. All too often I would find my site had loaded and the sharing buttons hadn’t. Not good.
And if you have a favorite social sharing WordPress plugin that you think deserves mention please feel free to share it in the comments section below. I would love hear about it…