In present times, it can be asserted that social networks have somehow bridged the gap between our busy selves. Most of us find it hard to keep in touch with family and friends in person, so we turn to online platforms that help us quench that need for social contact. Of course, the same social profiles can be a gateway to making new friends, and then we share our thoughts - or articles we happen to find on the web - with an even larger circle of acquaintances.
Almost everyone has shared links to articles, videos, or images, at least once in their lives. While the matter of what type of website content we prefer is entirely subjective, and therefore can never be controlled, it is a whole other story with the websites’ social sharing capabilities: the better they are, the more people will feel inclined to follow through, or share that content for others to see.
For a good website to be great, it absolutely must include social sharing buttons that are not just accessible, but inviting as well. The reason behind this preoccupation for social awareness is that all the traffic generated by search engines towards your website is closely followed by tons of traffic coming in from various social networks. Thus, it’s imperative to provide website visitors with a proper array of buttons for social sharing and following.
What to look for in a social sharing plugin
If you already acknowledge the importance of having a neat social sharing plugin, then you need to know what to search for. The perfect plugin is essentially responsive, and gives you an easy ticket to designing, and displaying lovely social network buttons, plus monitoring counts.
Recent WordPress plugins for social sharing: Monarch
I say we go ahead and single out one of the latest social sharing plugins, and tear it apart, so to speak, for educational purposes. If you’re on board about this and wish to satisfy your curiosity, keep reading. My plugin of choice is Monarch, which no one can argue is a last-generation tool, since it has only just been launched by Elegant Themes.
A homely dashboard
After you install Monarch, its dashboard is clearly visible in the WordPress Admin Panel. From the first second I accessed it, I had the distinct feeling of not being challenged to learn my way around - which is wonderful, because given the opportunity, creative professionals would rather channel most of their time and energy into meeting their sometimes harsh deadlines.
Monarch delivers an intuitive environment where you can create a friendly social sharing experience for your readers, not to mention keep its stats in check. You can design a set of social sharing buttons to look sharp, despite the fact that predefined colors and icons exist for each network.
You won’t have any trouble coming up with a sharing buttons’ design to your liking. The only foreseeable problem may be connected with deciding which social networks to propose on your website. There’s no point whatsoever in crowding the screen with myriads of them, even if Monarch offers around 40 social networks. Be wise, and try to go for the most circulated ones, or those where your website content is most sought after.
Then again, how can you tell the number of shares and follows that your buttons generate? It is only natural that you should want to determine how engaged your readers appear to be, as time goes by. And so, Monarch allows for two manners of appraising your follow and share counts. You are at liberty to connect your website to the API of your network, or go for the manual alternative: input the stats yourself.
The many uses of Monarch
The very first thing I need to mention if I am to start describing the capabilities of this plugin, is that I was particularly taken with its automated processes. For instance, Monarch gives you the opportunity to usher in your social sharing buttons on screen via automatic pop-ups and fly-ins. I must confess to being a big fan of these effects, even though some of you may believe that they’re a tad aggressive; if statistics speak for themselves, all research indicates that pop-ups get great results when it comes to social following and sharing.
Simply customize a title and message, and Monarch permits you to control how they activate. As a side-note, fly-ins can emerge from the bottom-left or bottom-right corner of your readers’ screen. Even further, with this plugin it’s also possible to use timed delay, and postpone announcing social sharing buttons even until the last second of your visitors’ presence.
The likelihood of an enhanced social sharing experience
As a Monarch user, you can take your pick from 8 locations on your web page, where to insert the buttons meant for social following and sharing. Furthermore, the plugin can - and given the chance, will - determine the boundaries of your website content, then integrate social sharing at either end. And don’t get me started about the social floating sidebar option, which I think is one of the best ways to keep the public alert without intruding, and suggest they spread the word about your website.
Moving on, I couldn’t help but notice that Monarch can identify the images in your content, and generates shortcodes so your audience shares them with ease. What is more, users of this plugin control how often their social sharing stats get to be refreshed, and Monarch offers to cache the stats, which translates into a swift loading speed. Lastly, I don’t have to stress the fact that Monarch is responsive, right? With all the powerful features that I listed so far, I reckon it goes without saying.
This is Elegant Themes’ short presentation video of Monarch:
Thank you for your consideration as I had my say about Monarch and social sharing plugins for WordPress websites. If you, like me, recognize the value of better plugins for social sharing, then I suggest you act on it every time you’re getting started on a client project. When your website traffic is on the line, you won’t regret securing the help of an elite plugin to create the perfect setting for sharing on networks. Remember, the more attractive your sharing buttons seem, the bigger the odds of your readers clicking them.