One thing we know by now is that using Social Proof on your website is a great way to encourage new visitors to take an action with you - whether that is signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase or choosing to add you on a social network, if they see that other people have also taken this action it helps validate their choice to do so as well. If a visitor sees that you have many people following you on Twitter, for example, it will make them think that you are someone worth following so could encourage them to do the same.
If you have built up a following on different social media sites, you should definitely advertise that fact and a great way to do this is by showing off how many people are in your network. Today we are looking at a plugin called "Arqam" which is a plugin for displaying the counts of many different social networks within your WordPress website.
Arqam will output your choice of Social Networks along with the number of people you have in the form of a widget which you can customize to match your website. The widget is responsive, retina-ready and comes with 5 different styles to choose from so you can match it to your site.
Here are the main features of the plugin, taken from their sales page :
- 100% Responsive
- Retina Ready
- Get all future updates with added features FREE for lifetime
- Translation Ready, Includes the .po and .mo files
- Cross-Browser Compatibility FireFox, Safari, Chrome, IE9, IE10
- Drag an Drop feature to sort icons as you wish !
- Option To set the Cache time to reduce load time and API calls.
- Store the values as a fallback, if any of the APIs is not reachable.
- Available as a widget and shortcode.
- Available as a widget and shortcode.
- Option for the number of columns.
- Dark skin option.
- Compatibility with the Visual Composer plugin.
- Facebook Page Fans
- Twitter Followers
- Google+ Page Followers
- Dribbble Followers
- Envato Followers
- Delicious Followers
- SoundCloud Followers
- Github Followers
- Behance Followers
- Tumblr Followers
- YouTube Subscribers
- Vimeo Channel Subscribers
- Foursquare Friends
- MailChimp List Subscribers
- Instagram Followers
- LinkedIn Company Followers and Group Members
- Vk Members
- 500px Followers
- Vine Followers
- Pinterest Followers
- Flickr group Members
- Steam group Members
- RSS Subscribers Number ( Feedpress.it / Manual )
- Spotify user and artist Followers Counter.
- Goodreads user and artist Followers Counter.
- Mixcloud Followers Counter.
- Twitch Followers Counter.
- bbPress topics, replies and forums counters.
- BuddyPress groups counter.
- myMail plugin subscribers.
- Mailpoet plugin subscribers.
- Members Number
- Posts Number
- Comments Number.
After uploading and activating the plugin, you will see a new menu item added named "Arqam" which is where you will begin defining all your social media accounts. If you load up this page, you will see a big list of all the available options:
Clicking on a site name will open up the options for that specific one, some you will need to create API keys for such as Facebook and Twitter which requires you to create developer accounts on those sites.
Other sites will require you to just input your username :
Each social network has its own color defined by the plugin author, but you are able to tweak this option for every site using the color picker or by entering a hex value. This could be handy if you wish to match the colors more closely to your chosen theme.
At the bottom of this page, after the list of social networks are some extra useful items you can also display with this plugin - Posts, Comments, BuddyPress, Members and bbPress Topics and Replies so you can also show off the counts for these.
Other settings you can change on this page are custom CSS if you need to modify the styles in anyway, there is also a cache setting which allows you to specify a time for the cache to refresh. This is designed to speed up your site so you are not calling back to all the social networks for a fresh count each time your site is loaded.
Displaying your social counters is achieved by placing a widget, in the widgets section, drag the Arqam widget to your desired position and you can then select some options for the look of it. You can choose from 5 different styles, 1 to 3 columns, light or dark skin, hide the widget title and force the items to be a specific width.
Here is how the widget looks in a theme using the "Flat Icons" style :
The "Metro" style, removes spacing from the sections and fits them together in a tile pattern :
The "Grey Icons" style adds the counts in grey circular boxes with some shadow around the boxes:
The "Colored Icons" uses the same layout but picks up the colors from the plugin settings:
The "Colored Border" icons is again the same layout but uses the colors for borders instead of the circle itself:
A style I liked was choosing the "Flat Icons" and setting the columns to "1" which gives you a nice block of links like so :
Pricing for this plugin is just $16 which includes 6 months support and you can purchase an additional 6 months support for $4.80. The license allows you to: Use, by you or one client, in a single end product which end users are not charged for. The total price includes the item price and a buyer fee.
This plugin worked perfectly for me - the interface was nice and neat and tied in with the WordPress UI. Setting it up was easy - signing up for a developer account for the different API keys you will require is likely the most difficult part but once you have done this once, you can reuse the same keys for other features on your site.
The look of the counters is nice and modern with some customization options so you should be able to match it into your theme quite nicely. The plugin doesn't slow your site down either - it adds one extra stylesheet and one small JS file and the cache feature is an essential feature to make sure your site speed isn't affected by using this plugin.
For $16 for a lifetime license, Arqam is good value for money. Check it out if you want to show off your social media counts.