The importance of having sharing buttons on your posts and pages can be extremely beneficial for increasing the traffic and engagement of your site. In the previous lesson, we talked about sharing systems of Jetpack and AddToAny plugin. If (for some reason) you don’t want to use those plugins for implementing a sharing system on your website, then today we will present another popular solution – ShareThis plugin.
The ShareThis plugin provides different layouts for your sharing buttons, and it’s really easy to implement the sharing system with the 6-steps wizard.
But before installing the ShareThis plugin, take this note:
Note: If you haven’t already deactivated the sharing system of Jetpack, then go the previous lesson and follow the steps for deactivating that feature.
Now you are ready to install and configure the ShareThis plugin.
ShareThis Plugin Installation
The plugin can be found in the WordPress plugin repository, and you can install it by navigating to your WordPress Dashboard -> Plugins -> Add New -> Search for ShareThis. Install and activate the plugin.
ShareThis Configuration Wizard
Now you need to configure the ShareThis plugin by going to your WP Admin -> Settings -> ShareThis.
Wizard Step #1: Choose Buttons and Options
On Figure 2, there are five different layouts from which you can choose for your social sharing buttons.
- The first layout is a minimalistic and classic style of the sharing icons that comes in 2 different sizes (small – 16×16 and large – 32×32).
- The second layout consists of sharing buttons with horizontal counters for publicly displaying the sharing activity of your post or page.
- The third layout consists of sharing buttons with vertical counters for publicly displaying the sharing activity of your post or page.
- The fourth layout is a floating sharing bar that can float either on the left side or the right side of your post or page. You can choose one of the three previous layouts and combine it with the 4-th or 5-th layout (in which way you will have two sharing bars). You can select/deselect the layout to activate/deactivate.
- The fifth layout has sharing buttons placed at the top of the page, but they only appear when the reader scrolls down.
On each chosen layout you have a preview of how it would look like on the frontend.
We personally are not big fans of floating bars; that’s why we will only use the 2nd layout. But it is completely up to you to choose which sharing bar looks the best on your website.
When you’ve chosen your preferred layout, click Next: Select Services.
Wizard Step #2: Select Services
On the second step of the wizard, you need to choose which services you want to be initially present for your social sharing buttons.
Here you need to work with drag and drop. Find the preferred social media services on the right column and activate them by dragging to the left column.
Also, you can remove a service from the left column by dragging it to the right column.
From the right column you can choose:
- Social Buttons for standard sharing or
- Social Plugins (1-click sharing buttons: Like, Tweet, Pin, Google +1, etc.)
Choose what services you think are most needed for your site, rearrange them in preferred order from the left column with dragging and when you are done, click on Next: Sharing Method.
Wizard Step #3: Sharing Method
If you have chosen Twitter Follow button, then in this step you need to put your Twitter follow username.
Or if you have chosen Tweet button, you need to put Twitter Via username and Twitter Username (can be the same)
And here’s how it will look when someone clicks on the Tweet button.
Also for Pinterest, Google Plus, Facebook Subscribe, YouTube Subscribe sharing buttons you will be asked to put your username in a similar way.
When you are done configuring the services, click on Next: Additional Features.
Wizard Step #4: Additional Features
In Additional Features step, you can make some further customization to your sharing bar.
- Enable CopyNShare – This is widget from ShareThis that allows you to track the shares when a user copies and pastes your URLs or content on your website. It is a nice feature, and you can choose to include these two options.
- Customize Widget Position – Decide where you want to put your sharing bar.
- Customize Post Excerpts – You can choose to show buttons on Post Excerpts (for example, post excerpts from your blog page)
When you are done click Next: Get your publisher key!
Wizard Step #5: Get Your Publisher Key!
It is a good idea to have detailed analytics about sharing done on your site. That’s why we recommend creating a free account at ShareThis.
On the step #5, click on Sign In.
Assuming you don’t have an account, under Create Account column put your email and password. Check I agree and click on Create Account.
Now you are successfully logged in. Click on Almost Done: Final Step
Wizard Step #5: Final Step
Now you are done, just click on the SAVE button and open some post to see how the sharing bar looks on the frontend.
Here’s how it looks the chosen sharing buttons on the frontend:
Excellent job for today. If you have some problems with the customization for some reason of this plugin, you can always contact us, and we will give our best to provide even better support than the ShareThis developers.