If you have used WordPress for any length of time, no doubt you’ve been on the hunt for a great social media plugin many (many!) times. I know I have…
It should be easy to add social share buttons to your site – in fact it IS easy to add social buttons and that’s part of the problem. It’s a choose your own adventure story right on your WordPress site.
- The Problem With WordPress Social Media Plugins
- Why change social media plugins (again)?
- The do I, don’t I dance
- What’s so good about Social Warfare?
- I’ve not killed the plugin yet…
- What don’t I like about Social Warfare?
- How does Social Warfare stack up against other WordPress social media plugins?
- Related Posts
- Google+ Comments
The Problem With WordPress Social Media Plugins
The hunt for the best WordPress social plugin for your site is frustrating.
You find a social plugin you like the look of and discover its not mobile friendly or incompatible with other plugins. Perhaps you need to choose between speed and functionality or have a degree in reading set up instructions to get the plugin to do what you want it to do.
Getting more common with the shear volume of plugins available is finally finding a social media plugin:
- you like the look of,
- does what you need it to do, and
- you can live with the speed
…to wake up one morning to discover it’s no longer supported and it crashes and burns on a WordPress update.
Over the last 4 years, I’ve tried more social share plugins than I dare count and recommended quite a few depending on needs. Because of the amount of testing I do here on the blog (and the fact I am a plugin-a-holic) I usually have far too many plugins installed. It’s an ideal testing ground for seeing what falls over and what doesn’t!
I’ve been through a lot of social media plugins and killed many…
The speed of my blog went from bearable (2-4 seconds depending on time of day and where it was tested) to horrific double digits. So slow it annoyed me let alone anyone else.
A clean-up was needed. My share buttons along with a few other WordPress plugins were consigned to the deactivated and deleted plugins in the sky. I tweaked and twiddled a bit and really should find the courage to move my host again…
Shareless, my quest for the ultimate WordPress social media plugin began again in earnest!
Plugins on, plugins off. On, off… Nothing just right – I felt like Goldilocks tasting porridge.
At this point I’m almost tearing my hair out. I’m sure you will sympathise as a WordPress user who has struggled to find the best social share plugin for your blog.
Thoughts went back to earlier in the year when a new premium plugin I loved the look and sound of was released. The problem was comments about being incompatible with Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.
Not to mention, the name is a total turn off for me. My ingrained hype filter is so powerful – killer, ninja and anything remotely similar has an uphill battle to get my attention more than a tut and roll of eyes.
Who thought of Social Warfare? Really? Was that name necessary?
BUT I’m seeing the plugin on a few blogs I pop in and read. Don’t tell me you don’t check the source code to see what theme or hint at plugins used on a site – I’m sure it’s not just me who does that!
The plugin does look rather nifty. I can close my eyes so I don’t see the name. AND the conflict with Yoast was fixed…
The do I, don’t I dance
It’s a premium plugin with a horrific name. There’s no trial or free version – will it kill the blog? I’m very good at killing the blog with plugins. I class myself as an expert in blog killing.
Other than seeing this plugin pop up on blogs I read and finding the sales page, I had no reference point on how good it actually is. I dithered, hummed and arrhhhed about buying the plugin.
Obviously, I caved in because I’m writing this.
What this particular WP social sharing plugin does is well worth throwing $24 at (about £16 in real money) and trying it out.
What’s so good about Social Warfare?
Where to start? It’s a fab little social media plugin. I’m so impressed I couldn’t resist borrowing Carlsberg’s tag line. Indeed, if Carlsberg made social sharing plugins, this is what it would look like!
Every post can have a custom title, description and image for sharing on social media.
Yes, I know Yoast does it and I am incredibly lazy using that function. Social Warfare also includes the ability to upload (hold on to your seats, this is cool) images for sharing to PINTEREST.
No more faffing with bits of code or inserting long images in posts! Even someone like me who can’t create gorgeous graphics loves Pinterest – it’s still my largest social referrer.
Every post can have a custom Tweet – I really need to do that!
Social share buttons can simply be turned on and off, both above and below the content for each post right in the post editor or site-wide in the display settings.
You can manually place your share buttons in your post too, with a nifty shortcode like this…
Feel free to click it!
Customise the colour of your share buttons if that’s what floats your boat.
Personally, I like share buttons to look like share buttons in share button colours. Call me old fashioned…
Include a click to tweet quote in your post.
Again, something I don’t use enough. Currently I have Co-Schedule’s plugin installed.
Turn on a sniply buster to bounce your pages out of any frames.
Turn on and off social share counters.
Have a floating share bar that moves down the screen with you.
I like mine at the bottom. A recent update now allows you to set the floating bar to the side vertically too.
Oh and not forgetting it’s:
- mobile responsive,
- light weight,
- quick to load.
I’ve not killed the plugin yet…
I took the leap. I closed my eyes, ignored the horrific name and bought my Social Warfare plugin a couple of weeks ago. So far I haven’t killed the plugin. That’s always a good sign.
It’s been an unusual couple of weeks of pushed out WordPress security updates quickly followed by WP 4.2 and 4.2.1. It really isn’t normal to see so many WordPress updates in such a short space of time. Social Warfare has had its time with a multitude of updates and plugins being installed, activated, deactivated and deleted. It’s still standing.
If the plugin was going to fall over, this last few weeks would be the ideal time. Of course, no one can say it will work on every WordPress set up. As someone who doesn’t know good code from bad, my acid test is can I kill it on my blog. Social Warfare has passed a battering and I am a happy bunny!
What don’t I like about Social Warfare?
Originally, I didn’t like that there was just one set of social buttons. They are lovely modern looking buttons but you’d expect more in a premium plugin. A recent update now has more styles available. Combine those with the colour and fading variations you can select, apparently you now have 72 varieties of social button.
No-one I actually know uses Social Warfare. I’m not one to take a great deal of notice of testimonials. It was a close my eyes and leap decision based on what I had seen on blogs I pop in to read.
A trial would be nice, just to see if I could kill the plugin. $24 isn’t a huge amount to spend, it’s great value now I know the plugin is as good as it looks.
There’s no matching social follow buttons. It would be nice to have a coordinated set!
The additional functions really make Social Warfare stand out from free plugins.
- Add images for pinning without having a long image display on your blog,
- Ability to turn social share buttons on and off at post and page level.
- The click to tweet function means I can get rid of another plugin!
- The frame breaker is a bonus.
- The plugin is very easy to set up and use
I’ve not tried other premium social media plugins to compare against Social Warfare. To be honest, even free plugins with a premium option I haven’t upgraded because they didn’t do everything I wanted them to do, something wasn’t quite right or I struggled with set up.
The free lightweight social media plugins simply don’t have the functionality you get with Social Warfare.
I also like Shareaholic because it’s several plugins in one:
- share buttons
- follow buttons
- related posts
The downside of Shareaholic is:
- it does collect data for advertising,
- you need to set it up on their dashboard off your WordPress site to stop ads showing in your related posts.
- it slows down your site a LOT with all the data calls
For me, there’s no contest. My quest for the best WordPress social media plugin has finally come to an end. I give Social Warfare 5 stars and wonder why it wasn’t created sooner. It’s definitely time for a Carlsberg coffee to celebrate!
Over to you…
What WordPress social media plugins do you use? How many battles have you had trying to find the perfect social plugin for your blog? Do share in the comments!
Don’t forget! If you are still hunting for the perfect social plugin for your WordPress site check out Social Warfare. You’ll be as pleasantly surprised and chuffed as I am with what it can do!