In my last “My Favorite WordPress Plugins” post I told you about three plugins I think are essential to running my blog more efficiently. Today I want to tell you about a couple of social networking plugins that I use. There are many different choices out there when it comes to promoting your blog via social networks. Just search the WordPress repository and you’ll find a gazillion choices right at your fingertips.
I have tried many social networking plugins and have ditched them for one reason or another. They were too complicated to configure, not aesthetically pleasing or they just didn’t get the job done the way I wanted it done. As I discussed in my first plugin post, I’ve found that less is more sometimes and I have narrowed it down to two plugins that suit my needs nicely, work well without conflicts with other plugins, and are well maintained by their developers.
WordtwitPro and WordTwit
I use WordTwitPro here at Fiction Vixen to tweet our blog posts when they are published. This is the premium version of WordTwit. I went for the pro version because it allows for custom hashtags and tweet scheduling. It also allows everyone who posts on Fiction Vixen to link their twitter account to the blog so their blog posts are tweeted to their followers as well. The basic free version works great, and the pro version offers lots of extra features. There is a comparison chart (you’ll need to scroll down).
If I really got through to you on the “less is more” way of thinking there are other options available to you for tweeting your blog posts that don’t involve plugins. Free services like Dlvr.It and TwitterFeed use your blog’s rss feed to tweet your blog posts. They will also post your links on Facebook and other social networks. TweetDeck will allow you to schedule tweets and I’m sure there are more Twitter apps that will as well. I just like having all that functionality in one place so I went with the plugin.
Trackable Social Share Icons
At the bottom of my blog posts you will see a row share buttons. I use the Trackable Social Share Icons plugin because they look nice, and the plugin integrates with Google Analytics for tracking share clicks. Readers can share blog posts over social networks without leaving the page or being redirected. The plugin offers several different sets of icons so you can pick what best suits your taste, or you can use your own icons. There is also the option of adding a Facebook “like” button. If you know CSS you can add your own styling.
The only drawback I’ve found is Google Plus is not yet available. However I did see on the developer’s blog that they are working on it and should have it available soon.
The buttons in my blog header
You may have noticed the nifty buttons in my blog header that link to all my social networking profiles. I did not use a plug-in to achieve that. I added some code to my template, styled it, and viola. It was that simple. (it wasn’t) There are widgets and plugins that will add nice buttons to your sidebar etc. but I wanted my buttons to appear in my header and figuring out how code it into my template seemed quicker than finding just the right plugin that would satisfy all my requirements, so I went that route. I learned a few things, pulled out a few clumps of hair and may have cried once or twice but darn it, those buttons are where I want them and they doing their job.
So that’s how I’m “sharing” Fiction Vixen. What are your favorite social networking WordPress plugins? If you choose not to use plugins for social networking, how are you sharing your blog posts and promoting your blog via Twitter, Facebook etc.?