Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding social sharing buttons, part of WordPress DIY: Small Business Website.
- To get the full marketing potential out of your small business website, it's a good idea to have a blog where you can post promotions and stories and pictures of current projects and DIY posts, and everything else, to get people to not only interact with your business as a business, but also to go to your site to get information about what's going on, either in the community or how to learn how to do new things, and so on, and so on. Once you have a blog, it's also important to allow people to share your content easily on social media with their friends and acquaintances. Social media sharing is actually more important than Google searches today, because people are more likely to follow links they see on social media, than follow links they find when they do a blanket search on a search engine.
Therefore, on our site, we need to add some social media interaction. Now, there are hundreds of different plugins you can use to add social media buttons to your site, but because this is a small business website, I recommend using a plugin that is a bit more than just adding the social media buttons themself. I recommend using a plugin that also runs stats on what's happening and allows you to extend the functionality of social media sharing, if you want to do that. There are two main plugins that do this. One is called AddThis, and the other one is called ShareThis. And these two plugins are really supporting two rivaling services.
Personally, I like AddThis, but that doesn't mean it's better, it's just meaning that personally, I like what those buttons look like. So we're gonna look at how to add this to our site, right now. The first step in the process, as with every plugin, is to go to the back-end of your site. Go to Plugins, and Add New, and then search for addthis in one word. This will return this Smart Website Tools by AddThis plugin, that's the one you want to install. And yes, I am aware the rating for this plugin is pretty dismal.
That doesn't actually mean it's a bad plugin, the reason why the ratings are bad, is because AddThis, the service, changed greatly in the last couple of years. And a lot of people are frustrated with how it used to work one way, and now it works completely differently, but honestly, the current version works just as well as the old one, it's just completely different. So, we're gonna install this plugin, activate it and once AddThis is activated, we need to configure the plugin. So, at the top here, in the Plugins panel, I now have a warning saying Congrats, You've Installed AddThis for WordPress.
Configure now. I can either click on that button, or I can go to Settings and then AddThis for WordPress. Now, what happens when I get to this page is, AddThis tells me, you need to hook-up to the AddThis service to continue. You can do this either by clicking the huge Next button, or, if you already have an AddThis profile, which is quite possible, you can click Edit Profile Settings, and just insert your profile information. But for now, let's pretend we don't have an AddThis profile, so I'm gonna click Next. This takes me to the AddThis service, where you can login either using Google, Facebook or Twitter, or you can setup your own account.
So I'm gonna go down here and create a new account. I'll setup for my email address, which is info@.... I'll setup a password. Uncheck the Email me the monthly newsletter, and click Register. Now I can choose either to go with the free option, or with the Pro option that currently costs $10 a month. For now, I'm gonna choose the free option, and to be honest, that's also what I use on my personal site, but for large sites that have a lot of traffic, and for business sites, I recommend checking out the Pro version and what you can get with those things.
But for now, we're gonna use the Basic version, to get used to how everything works. So I'll select the Basic version. My profile is now created, and linked to my WordPress site, and I'm navigated back to WordPress. And here you can see my WordPress site is now being linked to my AddThis profile. I'll click Confirm and Save, and once that's done, I can click on the big blue button again, to control my AddThis plugin. Now, this is a fairly interesting experience, if you've never seen these types of third-party services before in WordPress. What happens is, the AddThis buttons are actually not generated from within WordPress.
They're managed from addthis.com, and then injected into the WordPress site. And here you also see what the difference is between the Pro version of this plugin, and the free version of the plugin. With the Pro version, you get a lot of different types of buttons and features you can add to your site. You also get some features with the free version, but they're more limited. So here we have to choose what type of buttons we want and where we want the buttons to appear. The options we have are, these sidebar buttons, that appear on the side of the site, the standard AddThis buttons that appear directly above your content, the default buttons that come from the different social media services, also added in your content.
And you can also add a Mobile Toolbar, and a Newsletter sharing button. So I'm gonna choose these sharing buttons here, because I like the minimalist design of them. Then I can choose where they're gonna be displayed. So here I have Position On the Homepage, I'm gonna turn that off. Then we have Position On the Blog Post, above blog posts. On the pages, I'm also gonna turn it off. On the Category Pages and on Archive Pages, I'm gonna leave it on. And then I can choose the size, so I'm gonna set this to the medium size, and I'm gonna choose whether I want to Show Share Counts, so I can either Show Share Counts, or not.
I like to not show the share counts. And then we get to the really cool thing about AddThis. What you see here is the preview display that shows Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, but the neat thing about AddThis is, it actually monitors the user. So when the user comes in, if that user most likely is gonna use Pinterest, then Pinterest will be the first button that appears. If that user used some other service that you're not aware of, then they will see that service instead of the ones that you've selected. And that way, your content is more likely to be shared by the people who visit the site, because they will see the buttons that they're most used to using.
This is why I like using AddThis, and this is why I always leave the setting to Auto Presentation, and the number of buttons to five. Now I'll click Activate. I get this message, Nice work! Update successful. And if I now go back to my site, I'll open it in a separate tab, and go to my blog, and then go in and look at a blog post you'll see that for each of my posts, I now have sharing buttons. And if I click on a sharing button, I can share content with that service. And here you'll notice, that even though the original list was Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, because I'm currently logged in as a dummy user on this computer, and I've been using Gmail a lot, you see my first option is Gmail, then Twitter, then Facebook, and then regular email.
And if I click the plus button, I get access to all the other social networks supported by AddThis, a total of 293. So now we have social sharing buttons on the site, all managed through AddThis, and as people start sharing your content, you'll start getting emails with stats about how your content is being shared. And if you choose to upgrade, you'll get more options.
Find more courses in this series in our WordPress DIY playlist.
- Establishing the goals for the site
- Making a content inventory
- Adding a custom menu
- Choosing a theme and plugins
- Customizing the front page
- Adding promotions
- Setting up a contact form, calendar, and social media buttons
- Securing your site and managing spam