Social media engagement is a very important thing for most websites, but how can non techies easily add features to their WordPress website to make sure readers can quickly and easily share their content on the various social media platforms?
There are loads of free plugins that allow you to do this. Most of them will do a pretty good job. In this article we will focus on the free Shared Counts WordPress plugin as a great way to add social media share buttons to pages and posts on your site. It has a clean, simple interface and has a wide array of differently styled buttons you can add to different parts of your content as you wish.
This allows readers to easily share your content on social media if they find it engaging and useful. This in turn can help with the overall SEO and ranking of your site and build up a community on social media if this is what you are aiming for with your website. Let’s look in more detail at how to do this.
Using Shared Counts To Add Social Media Share Buttons
The Shared Counts plugin is the one I use on all my own websites. It is totally free to download and use and is very easy to set up. You simply select the social media platforms you want, set the style of the buttons, set where you want them to appear on pages and posts and then forget about it and get on with creating content.
Here are the general steps for getting up and running with the Shared Counts plugin:
- Download, install and activate the Shared Counts plugin from the link or from Plugins…Add New on your WordPress Dashboard.
- Go to Settings. There are 4 main settings you need to set to get going:
- Share Buttons to Display – select the social media platforms or service buttons you want to display on your site. As of writing the plugin has Facebook, Facebook Share, Facebook Like, Twitter, Pinterest, Yummly, LinkedIn, Total Counts, Print and Email.
- Select Button Style – the plugin has a selection of different rounded and square buttons and icons you can use. Pick your preferred one. See below for the different types.
- Theme location – select where you want the buttons to appear – Nowhere, Before Content, After Content, Before and After Content.
- Supported Post Types – select whether it appears on pages, posts (articles) or both. Elementor pages also become an available option if you use that plugin.
- Optional – you can also choose to actually count the shares using an API. This uses more resources and may affect site performance.
The Shared Counts plugin has a number of different buttons styles you can choose from.
Why Social Media Sharing Helps With SEO
Having your content shared on social media can definitely help with SEO and the ranking of articles and your site in general. Firstly, backlinks from other sites to your articles, including from some social media platforms, can help boost Google rankings.
It sends a signal to Google that this content is being liked and shared, and is therefore considered valuable, and it will reward these posts with higher rankings. This can be especially useful in the early days of a website to build up credibility and ranking.
Secondly, having posts shared also helps to build up a reputation for your site and gets your name out there, which also helps with the credibility and authority aspects of how Googles ranks you site.
If people are talking about your site and your content on social media, then you start to be recognized as an authority on your particular niche or area. Again this sends the right messages to Google that you are developing a good reputation and trust within your topic.
Having a strong social media presence, with regular posting and sharing of content, can also help to build a community around your website, which again is what some people are aiming for. Be careful though that this can turn in a treadmill, with website owners spending too much time on social media and not enough time creating content if they get too drawn into it.
As a rule of thumb, bloggers need to only be spending time on social media if it adds real, lasting value to their website. Also getting to drawn into social media communities can turn your website into more an “active” site rather than a “passive site”. Make sure this is what you want before getting too involved in social media.
If you are wanting a more passive site then you can use the Shared Counts plugin to allow others to share your content if they find it helpful and take advantage of the SEO advantages backlinking can give you, without getting too drawn into social media engagement.
Other Social Media Share Button Plugins
The Shared Counts plugin is only one of a number of free social media share button plugins that are available for WordPress. Most of them will do pretty much an equally good job. Shared Counts was just the first one I used and it has worked great so I haven’t felt the need to try any others. However, here are some other options you can try:
- Scriptless Social Sharing
- Social Pug
- Sassy Social Share
- AddToAny Share Buttons
- See this in depth article that thoroughly tests these and other social share button plugins for effectiveness and resource use.
How To Create Content That Gets Shared
If you are wanting content to be shared, it is also important to write it in a format that makes it more attractive to share on social media. Here are some of the bases you can cover in the way you title, write and format your content to make it more likely to be shared:
- Have well formatted and helpful articles, with loads of useful content, cool facts or helpful tips and information. Longer posts of 2000-2500 words tend to do better.
- Break your content into lots of smaller subsections to make it more digestible.
- If relevant, put “jump to section” content anchors at the top of your post to allow people to skip down to the section(s) they need or are interested in.
- Have a catchy title which draws the reader in and makes them want to click through and read. Make sure your content is actually informative and engaging though so you don’t get a reputation for clickbait.
- Some commonly used title formats include “7 Tips For….”, “5 Reasons Why……”, “6 Ways to…..” and so on.