One of the great things about using WordPress as your blogging platform or website content management system is the ability to enhance the functionality of the base system with widgets, plugins, add-ons, buttons, and other tools. These can help you do just about anything, including make your blog and your website more socially engaging. The following enhancements will help increase social engagement and community on your site.
Build Your Following
One of the first challenges many businesses have with social media is finding followers for their accounts on social networks. The following badges, buttons, and boxes can be added to your WordPress site on pages or within a Text Widget in your website’s sidebar to help increase exposure of your social networks to your website visitors.
1 – Twitter Follow Button
What’s great about the official follow button from Twitter? With a regular Twitter icon or link, you are just directing visitors to your Twitter profile and then hoping they take the action to follow you. With this button, they will be following you instantly once they click it. This should result in higher conversions when it comes to gaining new Twitter followers.
2 – Facebook Like Box
Similar to the official Twitter follow button, having the Facebook like box on your website will allow people to become fans by clicking the Like button. A recent study showed that every Facebook fan for a brand was valued at $10, so the more fans the better!
If you’re not interested in taking up so much real estate on your website with the like box, you can always use your fan page’s URL with the like button code to get the same results.
3 – Google+ Badge
Connect people with your brand’s Google+ page using the official Google+ badges. You can use icons if you prefer, but the badge allows people to add your page to their circles directly from your website.
See These Buttons, Boxes, and Badges in Action
If you’re curious how these buttons look together, then check out the subscription box on Mashable’s website as shown above. You can’t go wrong following one of the leading social media sites!
Increase Social Sharing
Next on the list of increasing social engagement on your website is adding social sharing buttons. This makes it easier for visitors to share your content with their social networks. The following buttons, badges, and plugins will help make social sharing on your site a piece of cake!
4 – Add This
AddThis is a social sharing button plugin that works for a variety of blogging platforms including WordPress. It allows you to add sharing options for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and other social networking sites to your content for easy sharing. By registering with their site, you can also receive analytics about your content’s social sharing.
5 – Share This
ShareThis is a social sharing button plugin similar to AddThis (but with different styling options) that works for a variety of blogging platforms including WordPress. It offers many sharing options for the top social networks and also analytics when you register with their site.
6 – Digg Digg
Digg Digg is a social sharing plugin for WordPress that allows you to create a floating sidebar to the right or left of your content, or a static display at the top or bottom of your post with social sharing buttons to popular social networks. You can see more implementations of this plugin on the official page for the Digg Digg WordPress plugin.
7 – Official Sharing Buttons
Last, but not least, if you want to steer away from plugins, you can add the official sharing buttons from top networks directly to your website’s WordPress template using the following official code generators.
- Twitter Retweet Button
- Facebook Like Button
- Google +1 Button
- LinkedIn Share Button
- Digg Button
- StumbleUpon Badge
Strengthen Blog Discussion & Community
Another way to make your website more social is to allow visitors to comment on your content. The following plugins will increase the community engagement with your website leading to more social proof, repeat traffic, and visitor loyalty.
8 – GASP
Does your blog comment form have a captcha? While it is a good thing to have from an administrator’s standpoint to cut down on spam comments, it is also the most frustrating thing a commenter can run into which could lead to less comments!
Try this WordPress plugin instead. The GASP plugin creates a captcha in the form of a simple check box that the commenter has to tick before they submit a comment. No strange shapes, numbers, or letters to figure out or sound files to play.
9 – CommentLuv
Want to allow your visitors to share even more about themselves in your comments? The CommentLuv plugin for WordPress allows each commenter to leave the link to one of their latest posts behind with their comment. The advantage to them is getting to share their latest post link with your audience. The advantage to you is that you will get to learn more about your commenters by quickly seeing what they write about.
10 – Subscribe to Comments
Subscribe to Comments is a plugin for WordPress that adds a checkbox to your comment form. When a commenter checks the box, they will receive email notification for new comments to that particular post. This leads to additional engagement as commenters may return to reply to future comments on your content. You can also add comments yourself (such as an update to the post) so that subscribers are notified.
These are my favorite social and community engagement enhancements for WordPress. Now it’s your turn – what plugins, buttons, and badges do you user to increase visitor engagement?