More and more people are accessing the web through their mobile devices each day. Developing responsive pages is fairly standard now, but if you want to go responsive you’ll have to go all in.
Visitors that share your posts and pages are responsible for increasing traffic to your site. Why not make it easier for them to share your content on their social profiles by introducing responsive social sharing feature?
Social sharing plugins are all over the WordPress Plugin Directory and narrowing down a few that go well with your site can be difficult. In this article, we’ll evaluate the top 5 responsive social sharing plugins in depth and highlight the standout features for each.
The Need for Responsive Social Sharing Plugins
The highest rated social sharing plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory are responsive, since it’s important for web developers and webmasters to integrate responsive design elements into their site to increase user experience.
Non-responsive social sharing buttons (or non-responsive anything for that matter) will end up destroying the appearance, elegance and usability of your site as soon as it’s accessed from a mobile device. Interference with the page’s layout is the least of your problems; chances are that the social sharing buttons will stop responding, shrink to small sizes, or slow your site down.
According to a recent study, more than one-third of all web pages were being accessed through mobile devices in the last year. Risking your site traffic and views with a non-responsive social sharing plugin isn’t a wise decision.
Let’s look at some of the best, responsive social sharing plugins for WordPress.
The plugin uses CSS3 to create buttons instead of images. Full sized buttons are automatically converted to a single image to display icons when a smaller sized (width less than 480 pixels) mobile device accesses the page or post.
Users can integrate social media buttons for Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Xing and Pinterest. It’ll let you customize the text displayed with the icons and re-order them however you’d like.
You don’t need to be a professional web developer to use this free plugin. WP Social Sharing plugin can easily be integrated with any theme using convenient shortcodes.
- 100% responsive
- Shortcode integration
- CSS3 buttons
- Limited customization options
- Buttons for only six social media sites
WP Social Sharing is a great free plugin if your looking for a simple solution. It won’t let you go crazy with customization or trying out different colors, sizes and shapes. If you can compromise on customization options then it’s a good option to consider.
Sharify Social Share Buttons are beautifully designed social sharing buttons that give off a premium look for free. Your visitors can share your posts on nine different social media platforms with this plugin.
This free plugin prides itself on being the fastest sharing solution for WordPress. It offers extra features such as an admin panel and weekly updates to give the webmaster more control over it.
Sharify Social Share Buttons lets you add buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Reddit, Pocket, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Email and VKontake. If you don’t want a few you can hide them. Sharify Social Share Buttons also displays how many times users shared the page or post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Customization options are limited to changing the color of the sharing buttons. Most of you won’t find this to be a problem because the buttons are so appealing by default that you won’t want to change the way they look. The shortcode support available with Sharify Social Share makes it easier to add the buttons to posts and pages.
Sharify Social Share Buttons is the fastest sharing solution available for WordPress and it owes it all to caching. The plugin lets you enable share counts caching from the admin panel and change the caching duration. Caching dramatically decreases the server load which makes your page load faster giving your site the performance boost it needs.
- Buttons for nine social media platforms
- Cached share count
- SSL support
- Limited customization options
Sharify Social Share Buttons is ideal for those of you who would like to go for a cost-free social sharing solution that offers responsive buttons and an elegant design. If you’re in search of a more customizable plugin or one that lets you add custom CSS then you’ll have to keep looking.
Those of you who don’t want to invest in a premium social sharing plugin but want all of the good stuff should consider installing Mashshare. This cost-free sharing solution lets you add social sharing buttons for almost every social media site.
Mashshare comes with a wide range of add-ons (both paid and free) that you can use to make your social sharing buttons exactly how you want them. One of the free add-ons that you’ll probably be installing right away lets you make the buttons responsive.
The functionality behind the add-on that makes your sharing buttons responsive is that it optimizes the size of the buttons by automatically decreasing their width when a smaller sized device is detected. It also lets you remove the total shares counter and text descriptions, if needed.
The plugin, stripped of all add-ons, features a counter that displays the total number of shares your post has so far with a horizontal bar of social sharing buttons beside it.
The differentiating factor with Mashshare is that it lets you add a subscribe button for both your email list and news feed. The plugin is developer friendly and supports shortcodes for non-technical webmasters.
- Extensible with a wide range of add-ons
- Highly customizable
- Object and transient caches
- High resolution share buttons
- Shows the total social media share count
- Premium add-ons
Mashshare would have to be my personal favorite responsive social sharing plugin for WordPress that’s available free of cost. It’s got practically everything from responsive, high resolution share buttons to caches.
The Custom Share Buttons with Floating Sidebar plugin comes in both free and premium flavors but we’ll be discussing the cost-free solution in this article.
Custom Share Buttons with Floating Sidebar plugin is integrated with a lightbox contact form and a floating sidebar, both of which are responsive in the premium version. This lightweight plugin supports seven social media platforms which are fully customizable.
First up the Custom Share Buttons with Floating Sidebar plugin supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, StumbleUpon and Reddit buttons. You can customize them by changing the background color on each button and add images of your choice.
The plugin allows you to tamper with the text descriptions and set the position for both the buttons and the floating sidebar. There are options available that’ll disable the sidebar for smaller sized mobile devices and help manage the design of the plugin.
- Floating sidebar
- Highly customizable
- Seven social media buttons
- No share counter
- Responsive floating sidebar and lightbox in the premium version
Custom Share Buttons with Floating Sidebar is a highly customizable and fancy sharing solution but it doesn’t cover some of the more important features that most of us desire in a social sharing plugin such as a share counter.
Easy Social Icons will let you add social media buttons to your site without letting you change their default appearance. Some of you might not see this a big issue. After all, default images are easier to recognize immediately.
Easy Social Icons work seamlessly with responsive websites. The plugin offers limited customization options that let you set the width and orientation of your social media buttons.
The social media buttons can be displayed either horizontally across the page or vertically down depending upon the theme and design of your page. The plugin also has a widget that lets you add the buttons to your sidebar.
Shortcode integration lets you add the set of buttons to any post or page easily. You can also re-arrange the buttons by simply dragging and dropping them into the right order.
- Easy to use
- Horizontal and vertical orientation
- Widget and shortcode integration
- Limited customizability
- No share counter
Easy Social Icons plugin is on the simpler end of the social sharing plugins spectrum. Customizability is limited to changing the orientation of the buttons but you can add it to the sidebar of your site with the built-in widget.
The fact of the matter is that more and more people are using mobile devices to access the web, a fully responsive website is more important now than ever before. Leaving out some features while making the shift to a responsive site is no longer an option.
As Drazen Prastalo highlighted in his article, Social Sharing WordPress Plugins Optimized for Mobile, there are a few things that you must keep in mind when choosing a social sharing plugin – design, functionality and speed.
We covered the top 5 free, responsive social sharing plugins in this article with a focus on Drazen’s evaluation criteria. The article was written to help you get started with making the switch to a responsive site by adopting responsive social sharing plugins.
Which social sharing plugin are you currently using on your site? Which do you find are the best in terms of design, functionality and speed? Please let us know in the comments section below.
Rafay is an entrepreneur, computer scientist, and professional ghost-writer for several high-traffic websites. He provides byline and ghost-writing services for digital and brick-and-mortar businesses with a focus on web development, WordPress, and entrepreneurship.