If you know me, you know I’m a WordPress fan. I love everything about them — the user-friendliness of the site, the bajillion options to customize your website without having to know a single bit of code, the free plugins, the SEO-friendly platform — seriously, what’s not to like? So I thought I’d start a weekly WordPress Wednesday post featuring the best of WordPress, from plugins to themes and everything in between, all from the perspective of a small business owner, consultant, and entrepreneur. If you’re a small business owner and are looking to do some DIY tweaking on your WordPress website, you’ve come to the right place.
SHAREAHOLIC: A Review
I’ll start out with something simple but very appropriate, considering that Blue Volcano Media is a social media marketing firm. Shareaholic is an easy-peasy WordPress plugin specifically for social sharing. If your WordPress site has a blog — and really, you should, no matter what your business — you’ll want to promote your posts not only by publishing links to it on your own social media sites, but also by allowing your readers and fans the option of doing the same.
I’ve used a number of social sharing plugins before, from Tweetmeme’s nifty little Retweet button to ShareThis to, of course, the plugins developed and maintained by the social networks themselves. All great options, and they’re all pretty easy to customize and add to your site.
Still, the one problem I had with these options is that, well, everybody uses them. Sure, if everyone uses them, they must work, right? And their very ubiquitousness means that readers are so familiar with them that there’s no learning curve involved — just click on the right social network button and share away.
But of course, we at Blue Volcano Media (especially me) must be different, and I was looking for something sexier, livelier, and yet a little less cluttered than some of the available social sharing plugins out there. I like having a clean, streamlined interface, especially since what we highlight here is the content. I’ve installed plugins with pop-ups; a hundred social media buttons; plugins that only had one function, i.e., Tweetmeme; and plugins that automatically disables native WordPress functions (e.g., Facebook).
Shareaholic sweeps all that clutter and mess away and leaves you with a beautiful, elegant and yes, even dynamic social sharing ribbon, plus analytics. Check it out on this page below. If you hover over any of the buttons, not only will the selected button pop up, but the 2nd row of buttons do as well. That’s right — no more three dozen buttons taking up a lot of real estate on the page, fighting for valuable white space with any ads, images, Related Posts lists, and all other ancillary features. You have one nice, neat row of buttons, but once someone hovers any of the others, voila! They have access to all the others.
I love the way the buttons are “tucked” into those line shadows, like cards inserted into slots. They give a three-dimensional look to the social array and make them more interesting and eye-catching without being obtrusive or flashy.
You have a number of options with this plugin, including:
- inserting the menu before your post rather than after (as we have it here on the BVM blog)
- inserting the menu manually anywhere else on the page
- dozens and dozens of other social networks
- how the tweet will be posted when content is shared on Twitter
- adding a Recommendations option (a separate plugin that’s similar to the Yet Another Related Posts plugin, which automatically pulls similar content to the post you just wrote and lists them after that post, including images if the recommended posts have them)
- and so much more
This well-reviewed and popular plugin is free, so I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking for something different, unusual yet robust. Let me know what you think if you do install it, or if you have other social sharing plugins that you’d like to recommend, especially if they’re free and small business-friendly.