Last week we published a list of the best Social Sharing plugins for WordPress, which generated quite a bit of discussion ( and social shares! ). At the top we listed the plugin: Easy Social Share Buttons which is what we use right here on WPLift. It's one of the highest rated and most popular plugins on CodeCanyon, currently sitting at 13th on the popular list with over 13,000 sales.
I have been using the plugin for over a year now and have been very impressed with it - it is jam packed full of features and display options that I believe it is the most comprehensive plugin of this type available. Also impressive is the face that it is constantly updated and improved with new features, networks and other fixes. Just today, version 3,4 was released, you can check out their changelog here to see how often and what updates are made to the plugin.
In this post I'm going to show you around some of the features of the plugin, how to set it up correctly and how you can use it to display different style buttons in different places around your site.
As I mentioned, this plugin is highly comprehensive with the features that are included, I recommend you check out their demo site where you can view all of the included features and view the different styles and positions that the plugin can create. This is a run-down of the features you can expect from this plugin:
- More than 40 Social Networks - Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress support 40+ of most popular social networks including most popular mobile messengers. We continue to grow the supported network list with each update.
- After Share Actions - A great way to encourage social following or grow your mailing list with most social engaged users
- On Media Sharing - Images are important part of every social strategy and this is why we include powerful on media sharing function
- Sharable Quotes - Create in-post tweetable quotes that make it super easy for people to share. (a.k.a Click-to-tweet)
- 27 Included templates - Be different. Easy Social Share Buttons contains 27 build in templates and easy visual template customizer
- Different button styles & layouts - We also add various buttons styles and different layouts (full width buttons, fixed width buttons, display in columns, automatic display)
- 20 Automatically Display Positions - The most advanced display engine that allows you automatically display share buttons on 20 locations and also you have powerful shortcodes that allows you to add buttons anywhere in content or theme.
- Eye Catching Mobile Display - Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress comes with 3 special mobile display methods to engage social your mobile visitors.
- Social Share Optimization - Deliver the right message to your social audience. Easy Social Share Buttons includes social share optimization module that allows you to customize shared information. You have also powerful on post optimization fields, automated Tweet message tune up, custom Pinterest image and more.
- Social Metrics Lite - Easy track your overall social performance for posts or pages in most popular social networks.
- Social Analytics - The most advanced social share analytics module. Track your visitor actions based on post, display method or device type. You wish to use Google Analytics – we also cover this. Plugin includes options to activate custom Google Analytics tracking campaigns
- Like, Follow & Subscribe Buttons - We know how important they can be and we add 12 most popular native buttons. You can also use them in skin or in privacy mode (to cover law restrictions in some countries).
- Social Followers Counter - Easy grow your social following with eye catching social followers counter module with automatic update of followers value. We have also premium add-ons for it to track your social profile changes or extend its visual options.
- Social Profile Links - Easy add links to your social profiles at any place
- Top Social Posts - Let users know the best performed social posts with easy to use widget (requires Metrics Lite feature to be active).
- Lightning Fast - Built with performance in mind. We include various optimization options that allows to get maximum performance of buttons without affecting speed of site load.
- Social Proof - Showing your visitors that other people have shared your content is a powerful tool to encourage even more shares.
- Share Counter Recovery - The most advanced share counter recovery module that covers almost any change including permalink structure change, protocol change or migration to new domain
Setting up The Plugin
When you first activate this plugin and are taken to the options page, it can look a little overwhelming - the sheer amount of options packed into this plugin are huge, along the top of the page you will see tabs for Social buttons, Display Settings, Style Settings, Shortcode Generator, Analytics Dashboard, Import / Export and Update. Down the left hand side for each tab are further options for each section.
Luckily, there is an easy method for getting the plugin setup, it includes a "Quick Setup" wizard so I would recommend you start with that. Click the button and it will guide you through the steps required, starting off with choosing a template - this is the style of buttons you would like to show, I use the "Metro Retina" buttons here on WPLift:
Next you choose the "Button Style" where you can change styles, alignments, spacing and width of the buttons.
The next step is to define which social networks you wish to include, there are over 40 different options to choose from and you can change their position by dragging and dropping them into the order you would like.
The counters section allows you to display a number which each icon showing how many shares it has had, along with a total counter if you like which will add together all the social counts and display it - you can customize the text for this as well.
Next up, you can choose where on your site they should be displayed, this section will list posts, pages, archives pages and any custom post types you have installed on your site.
Next we have the important step of choosing where about on the page the icons should be displayed. There are 8 main positions to choose from :
- Content Top ( what we use on WPLift )
- Content Bottom
- Content Top and Bottom
- Float from Content Top
- Float from Content Top and Bottom
- Native Social Buttons Top, Share Buttons Bottom
- Share Buttons Top, Native Buttons Bottom
- Manual Display Only - You have to place them with a Shortcode
After choosing your main position, you also have the option to display additional positions such as :
- Post Vertical Top
- Top Bar
- Bottom Bar
- On Media
- Full Screen Hero Share
The mobile options are next, the plugin can detect people browsing on mobile devices and change the icons to suit. For example, you may wish to hide them completely on mobile or perhaps change them to display as a bottom bar.
What About Twitter Counts?
Unfortunately Twitter recently decided to change their Twitter buttons and discontinue the count feature so now no count numbers are displayed in any social buttons, official or otherwise. The Twitter counts were always the highest on WPLift so it was annoying to see all our total counts go down across the site - they were also a good way for me to see which posts were doing well as Tweets were the most consistent way for me to check.
The plugin does have a way for you to show some data for Tweets which relies on it using it's own internal counter to get the number to display. Note, this will not show total tweets for the post, it will just show how many times the actual tweet button has been clicked from your site - not great, but its better than showing no number at all if you decide to show counts with the icons.
To activate this feature, you need to go to "Social Buttons" > "Display Counters" and look for the "Twitter Share Counter" and set to to "Self-Hosted Counter".
Something else you can do if you wish to avoid negative social proof around your Twitter counts, is apply a minimum value across all your posts. If you visit "Advanced Settings" > "Twiter Counter Setup" you can apply a "Minimal Share Counter Value" and choose to apply it on all your posts so it appears that the post has had that many Tweets.
This can also be customized on a per post basis, you can simply enter an Internal Share counter number for a post to start with on the post editing screen.
None of this is ideal but I prefer to use click counts of Tweets rather than showing a zero or no number at all. This is an important metric for Twitter to remove so Im sure that there will be a solution by a third party to come soon which can help address this problem.
The plugin keeps track of all clicks on icons from your site and lets you view reports so you can see which content is popular with your readers. To access this, visit the "Analytics Dashboard" link within the options page and you will see Total clicks for each network and a graph of the last 30 days.
Under that you can see a table which lists all your clicks by month and which network it was:
Finally, at the bottom you can see a list of your most popular content along with click counts for each network.
There are a number of free and paid addons available for this Easy Social Buttons:
- Social Profiles ( Free ) - This allows you to display buttons for your social networks so people can follow you on the.
- Social Metrics Lite ( Free ) - This allows you to track how your posts are doing on social networks with detailed reports.
- Click Log Analytics ( Free ) - This is the module which tracks when buttons are clicked from your site
- Video Share Events ( $9 ) - This allows you to create popups for videos including YouTube and Vimeo.
- Self-Hosted Short URLS ( $9 ) - Allows you to create your own Short sharing URLS for your site.
- Social Profile Analytics ( $9 ) - Monitor your follow counts across all your social media profiles.
The plugin is available to purchase on CodeCanyon for just $19 which I think is a very fair price for this plugin. That includes 6 months support, which can be upgraded to 12 months for $5.70.
If you are looking for a plugin to handle your social sharing buttons across your WordPress website with a high degree of customization, analytics, and positional options then I believe that this is currently the best plugin to do so.
There are free plugins available which will do the job if you just need something simple but for $19 I think it is well worth the investment - I have been using it here on WPLift since 2014 with no problems at all and considering it has had numerous updates and new features added in that time it has well I cant recommend it highly enough.
Check it out ...