WordPress is one of the most powerful tools out there for web design, development and upkeep; it also happens to be one of the most popular websites, and large parts of the internet are entirely powered by WordPress back-end and designs.
It’s likely that your website is one of the thousands of sites out there running on WordPress, and if it is, then you might not be using it to its full potential.
WordPress is designed to be easy to use for anyone on the other end, whether or not you know about things like HTML or PHP – and knowledge of things like HTML programming isn’t necessary at all to set up or manage a website through WordPress, which is what makes it so popular.
But there’s so much more that can be done with your website, and a lot of things that can make things easier for you – and a lot of fun for the traffic directed to your website.
Here’s our collection of the best WordPress plugins for social media – though if you want to know even more about plugins, how they work and how you can use them for your business, keep reading after this list for some more expert WordPress plugin and widget advice that you can’t find anywhere else.
If you find the technical parts a little too complex and need a little help, just get in touch with us and we’ll help you where we can: Our experts can teach you how to turn your website into a WordPress powerhouse in no time at all.
The Best WordPress Plugins for Social Media
ShareThis is one of the most popular social media sharing plugins out there, and it allows visitors to your site to share any of your posts or pages with thousands of their social media followers with just one click and a mouse-over to the respective social media platform. It’s already used by thousands of existing websites, and it’s easy to see just why – ShareThis is easy and simple, and for most blogs that’s all that they need to get their content seen.
2. WordPress Image Hover
WordPress Image Hover is another great integrated WordPress plugin that can make sharing your posts and pages to social media a lot easier for readers. This one integrates the image of the post into the widget, and allows users to hover over the image to see the share buttons to some of the most popular social media platforms – and with one click your post could go viral.
3. Social Media Feather
Social Media Sharing
Social Media Feather does pretty much what ShareThis and WordPress Image Hover does, and it makes for a great lightweight alternative to your traditional sharing button. Social Media Feather has also gotten a lot of praise from users for being easy-to-use and completely fine when applied to any mobile devices – no hassles, no struggling, just easy social media sharing.
4. Social Media Icons
Social Media Sharing
Some website owners – and, we’d admit, a lot of website users – just don’t want to see any extra frills or gadgets to worry about when they visit a website. They want something to be simple and that’s that – and for this, the Social Media Icons plugin does just what you need it to do. These allow your users to share any of your posts with their social media contacts – and you don’t have to worry about spending time installing it to your website, because it’ll click right in.
5. Monarch Social Media Sharing
Social Media Sharing
When it comes to social media sharing, Monarch gives you more: It’s one of the widgets that gives you more control over social media sharing, and you can customize Monarch far more to suit the needs of your website than some of the other social media sharing widgets that are mentioned on this list. Monarch allows your site’s visitors to share any content from your site instantly – and is linked up to more than 35 different social media platforms for this just to ensure nobody gets left out.
You’ll have to pay for Monarch if you want to use it – but there are thousands of users who say it’s worth it!
6. Floating Social Media Icons
Social Media Sharing
Okay, so Floating Social Media Icons take things back to being simple – but is that really such a bad thing? We would say no. When most people find something they might want to share with others on their social media platforms, most people just want to go ahead and click a button; anything more than that is too much fuss, and if they’re bugged with surveys, ads or even logging in first, they’ll lose interest.
Floating Social Media Icons is in a simplistic class – but that’s what makes it one of our favourites when you’re looking for something that has no strings attached.
7. Social Media Flying Icons
Social Media Sharing
Social media sharing buttons should sometimes do more than just share your social media posts – and they have to be a little more practical than this. Social Media Flying Icons does just that, and offers you a little bit more to customize when you’re looking for a more refined look that goes deeper than just having a social media sharing icon in the corner. With this one, icons can be chosen from a huge library of differently styled icons – and this gives a lot of website owners the style they want to add to their site.
8. Custom Twitter Feeds
Custom Twitter Feeds can be called a Social Flashback widget – that’s because it lets you share a specific Twitter feed or post right on your website. This can be your own Twitter feed, a fan’s Twitter feed or could even be for a specific tweet that you’re referencing in a news article or blog post – and Custom Twitter Feeds help to take readers and visitors right to the original post.
9. Instagram Feeds
Instagram Feeds are another Social Flashback app that allow you to display a specific feed from Instagram – or, of course, a specific post – in the sideline of your website. This is useful especially for blogs that are focused on photography, media or arts and ones that already have a solid foundation in Instagram; if not, it can allow you to reach an entirely new audience, and might inspire visitors to your website to seek you out elsewhere online.
10. WordPress Social Stream
It can be a battle to connect with several different social media platforms at once – and it can be frustrating, too. Not anymore! Now you can be logged in to several of your businesses’ social media platforms at once – and share content to several of them just with one click. This saves plenty of hours that would’ve been spent clicking, copying and pasting to get the same post shared across several platforms – now, it’s downright effortless.
11. Social Login
Social Login is another great social sharing app that helps you to share information and posts cross-platform with just one click; this one supports a little more social media platforms than you can expect to see from WordPress Social Stream – but other than a little more support for other social media platforms, there isn’t much different between the two. Try both and see which you like best if you are struggling to decide between these!
12. Akismet Spam Filter
Social media isn’t just all about sharing – it’s sometimes about spam, too. That’s the part of the internet that people try to forget exists, and if you want people to feel safe while browsing your website, you want to make sure that they’re being kept far away from spam. One way to do this is by installing a simple spam-filter to your website – and one of the best around is Akismet.
You want a spam-filter that can tell the difference between a real comment and a spammer or bot – and Akismet has done this for thousands of WordPress users so far. When it comes to success rate, Akismet is one of the most accurate spam filters you’ll find, and you don’t have to worry about useful comments getting drowned in spam.
In fact, Akismet is so accurate that you don’t even have to check up on it.
13. Yoast SEO Plugin
Not sure how to approach SEO keywords for your website? It’s a huge part of social media and how people find your website and interact with it. If you want to be on-point with SEO keywords in your posts and pages, then the easiest way is to hire an expert – or let a plugin do some of the hard work for you.
One of the best around is Yoast SEO Plugin, and it stays in your WordPress dashboard where you can call it u when you need to: From there, it assesses your title, text, description and post for keyword-readiness and hels you to make some suggestions.
Assessing Your Site
If you’re reading this as a website owner, then you’re thinking that your website could do more – and you’re not alone. Most website owners and bloggers want to know how to increase traffic and stay in touch with their readers and clients the most – and it’s one of the most common questions we get asked.
The first thing you should do is to take a proper look at your website. Visit your website through both PC and mobile to see exactly what it looks like to your end-user. Then, take another look at a website that competes in your industry – who would you say is your strongest competition?
Comparing Your Site
Now, compare the two: What are they doing that you don’t?
The comparison method is only one way to assess your website, and it can tell you just what your competitors are doing – and how you can build on it. Remember: The idea is never to copy what someone else is doing, but to improve.
Next, you should take a look at your site’s content. People want to see site content that interests them, captures their attention and teaches them something new at the same time – this is what makes people want to share content. If you’re not much of a writer yourself, then you should hire a ghostwriter to take care of the website’s content for you – they can assess your market and brainstorm which ideas could work for you.
Your Website’s Function
Then, you should ask whether or not your website is functioning as quickly as it should – in most cases, people will say no. Just ten seconds of loading time can cost you a lot of traffic
Take a look at your site’s needs. Is it meeting your readers’ needs and yours? If not, then you should do something about it to make things easier, right?
Most people aren’t experts when it comes to WordPress, site optimization or SEO. That’s fine. The wonders of WordPress includes the fact that you don’t have to be an expert to build or run a website – but there are still a couple of extra tricks that can make your web experience better.
If you need help assessing your website, we can do it for you: We’ll take a clear and comprehensive look at your website and just how well it’s performing behind the scenes, and then we’ll do what we need to in order to fix the problem.
- Diagnose the problem with your website.
- Fix any issues your website might have.
- Tell you where your website can improve from there.
If you’d like to know how your website can perform better, get in touch with our team and we’ll set you up with one of our WordPress experts.
Going Beyond the Basics
Okay, for the purposes of this post we’re going to assume that your knowledge about WordPress is basic at the very least. This means that you’ll know how to get into your WordPress administrator panel, know how to make a post and know how to find your way around basic post editing.
If that’s all you know about WordPress for now, that’s okay. As we’ve said before, you don’t have to be an advanced user to get the best out of your WordPress-run website.
Still, wouldn’t it be great to get a little more out of your website than you were getting right now?
At some point, every website owner decides that they want to do more with their website. They want it to go further, and usually they need this to happen in order to reach new clients – and connect with existing ones.
If you want to go beyond the basics of WordPress and give your website that little something extra, you should use plugins.
The Basics of Plugins
What are Plugins?
Plugins are little web-tools that are part of the front- or back-end of your WordPress setup.
These are designed to make things easier for you in some way or another, and there are thousands of different plugins out there, each with a different job.
For example, the little counter that tells you just how many hits have visited your website so far… That’s a plugin.
You might also have heard of Flash – the in-browser program that runs a lot of video players and ads on the internet. That’s also a plugin.
Your website should have a selection of plugins and widgets – though remember that you should keep it to the essential ones. You don’t want to bore your end-user with too many plugins, or make their system lag so much that they can’t get a thing done on your site.
Too Many Plugins?
It’s true that you can put too many plugins on your website – and there are many reasons why you don’t want to do this.
- First, it looks insane to have a website filled with a thousand-and-one plugins, and this can throw people off from what they’re really on your website to do in the first place. Do you remember what the average MySpace profile looked like when people first discovered they could add widgets, gadgets and plugins? It was a design nightmare – and a processing vampire – that meant most people started clicking away from MySpace.
- Second, plugins have to serve a practical function: If your plugins are sitting around your website doing nothing, they’ll be taking up both space and speed. If we encounter a website that’s running too slowly and taking up far too much processing speed, the first thing that we check is the amount of plugins that are being run on the website.
Keep your plugins limited to a useful handful, rather than an entire flock of them that sit around your website doing nothing.
There’s no “law” for downloading plugins, but there are still a couple of things you might want to keep in mind. Here’s what you should be thinking about before you put a plugin on your website.
- Choose a safe source. Would you go to the restaurant across the road from the good-looking one just to sit in a really dirty basement and eat food that could make you sick – no? Most people wouldn’t. Then you shouldn’t do this with your software, your website or your website traffic. Always download your plugins from a safe source that has been verified and approved.
- Double-check reviews for the plugin. If someone has an opinion about something, you’ll probably read about it on the internet – and that’s a good thing when it comes to software reviews. If you’re thinking of installing a new WordPress plugin for your website, take a look at some of the reviews for the plugin first; if people weren’t happy with the plugin, their reviews should be more than enough to tell you this.
- Go for the trial run. Anything and everything installed on your website should be put to test for a special “trial run” to see just how it works. This is the troubleshooting phase in practice, and it’s where you’ll see just how well it works for you – or doesn’t. The great thing about trying out different plugins is the fact that you can just try another one if you aren’t happy with the results.
- Check for viruses. You should always check for viruses when you download something new, especially if you’re acting as a webmaster while you’re doing it. Just a little bit of precaution and security measures (such as a virus check) can save you and your website’s visitors thousands of dollars in damages and potential data loss. You never want to be the website that gave people a virus or exposed their personal information – and a simple virus check can do this.
- Update regularly. If a plugin isn’t working correctly, then it’s usually a version problem. Always ensure that your website is using the newest version of the plugin, and if it’s something that needs to be updated from the user’s end when people visit your website, ensure that they know this before it turns into a potential headache – how many times have you clicked your way out of a website just because they said you needed to update your Flash player?
- Mobile friendly plugins. Ensure that the plugins you install on your website are mobile friendly, too – and sometimes this means grabbing your phone and testing it yourself, or downloading an emulator for your PC and visiting your website “disguised” as various different types of mobile devices. The most common ones are Android and Apple devices, and you want to be very sure that your website (and attached gadgets) work the way they should – even on older models.
- Add these pages! If your website is making use of a few plugins in the back-end, then there are two important things that you should add to your website: The first, of course, is a simple disclaimer for users. In it, mention the basics of your website – and what you’ll be doing with users’ personal information. Also include any specific site rules here, and include rules pertaining to the plugins (for example, that some plugins on your website are run by third-party users) – this can help your business out should you ever run into legal trouble.
Most good websites also have a page that says “troubleshooting” that gives people a list of the most common issues they might encounter on your website and what they can do about them. If you get a lot of emails about questions that can be answered in a few lines or less, the troubleshooting (or sometimes FAQ) page is the best place to put it.
And this includes having some extra info for users on what to do if any plugins on your website should do something weird.
Social Media Plugin Safety
Basic safety rules should apply when you’re dealing with social media plugins for your website.
Yes, some plugins will require you to “log in” to your chosen social media platform before you can use the widget on your website – and this will require that you enter personal information such as your password.
This is where it becomes really important to ensure that the plugin you’ve downloaded is from a reputable source – and you’ll also want to make sure you read the terms & conditions to make sure how the plugin’s designers view information sharing.
This can save you a lot of worry as a website owner, and it can also help users to feel a little more safe on your site.
There’s a Plugin for Everything
When it comes to plugins, apps and widgets, there’s literally a plugin for everything. There are plugins that can tell you the weather, plugins that can track the location of your website users, plugins that allow you to play snake while your website is loading…
But pluugins can do a lot more than just the few basics things we’ve mentioned there.
There are also useful plugins that help you keep in touch with your social media users – and if you’re a website owner that’s looking to increase their reach, here’s where you’ll find the gold.
Exploring Social Media Plugins
Why are social media plugins so important?
Well, just look at social media: Almost everyone uses some form of social media to stay in touch with their friends, family and other contacts. This means that if you are a website owner or a business, social media forms an integral part of your website or business – and you just can’t go without it.
Social media is the new word of mouth, and it can make all of the difference when you’ve got a brand to promote.
In short, social media plugins can help you to do this much easier. With just a few clicks, you can see anything you need to about your social media followers – or connect with them through several social media platforms just by clicking one single button.
Social Media Plugins and Why They Matter
Using Social Media
Is your social media working for you?
Social media is a way to stay in touch with your readers, customers and clients. Through your social media, you can let your collection of readers know of any new developments for your business, or you can connect with thousands of people at once just by clicking a button.
That’s one of the most powerful tools when it comes to getting your brand out there.
For every time someone clicks a like or share button linked to your content or website, then it means that your brand has just expanded – and often far more than any other, older forms of marketing would have allowed it to.
Social media is the new thing, and you want to use social media as effectively as you can if you want it to better your business or brand.
That’s where social media widgets come in.
Here’s our list of some of the best social media widgets and plugins for WordPress.
Professional Help with Your WordPress
Handling User Reports
The more users your website gets, the more likely you are to get user reports in your inbox – that’s fan mail in basic terms, though not always! – about what people think about your website and the way it works.
Of course, the more active your website is, the more traffic you’ll get and the more user reports will come your way.
User reports are vitally important to your website. They can tell you what type of social media plugins they want to see on your website, and they can do a lot in terms of directing you towards what you could be doing with your website to improve it.
Sometimes user reports can also tell you a lot in terms of troubleshooting; if there’s a widget that anyone is having trouble with, try updating it to another version – or switching to another widget entirely – if other users start reporting the same problem.
Always take note of any comments, queries or user reports that come your way through your website: These can tell you everything.
Why Professional Help, Helps
Not everyone is a WordPress guru or an HTML expert – and not everyone knows their way around code. That’s fine, and WordPress was designed for both novice and advanced users in mind.
But if you want to take your website to the next level and incorporate a few things that your competitors aren’t, then it’s time to get professional help.
Getting in a WordPress expert sounds like an unnecessary expense to a lot of brands and business owners – until they realize just how much it could do for their website, business or brand to have an expert around.
If you want your site to function better and faster for the end-user, then an expert can help you to take a proper look at your website to figure out the most important two things for any website owner: What’s lacking in their website and what they can do to change it.
Simply put, professional help, well, helps – and if you want to take your WordPress website to the next level, we’re happy to consult you on the improvements that can be made to your site, and we’ll be there with you for every step of the way.