If, like me, you’ve found social media icons to (sometimes) be a real pain in the … you’ll enjoy this blissful Social Warfare review in which I share my struggles with social media icons, AND how the Social Warfare WordPress plugin has made those troubles a thing of the past.
Social media icons should be a simple, trouble-free affair. Yet I’ve had my fair share (pun intended:) of problems with them.
Indeed, social media icons are a necessary evil: temperamental and occasionally problematic – yet more or less mandatory for most websites. We want visitors to share our content – so it makes sense to make it easy and straightforward for them to do so.
Throughout the years, I’ve used and tested countless WordPress share buttons. Both the well-known ShareThis buttons and less known ones. When I finally found a good solution I liked, Flare (by Filament) … it was discontinued. I ended up with AddThis – fairly ok, but has its quirks and limitations.
Still, I was never truly happy with those AddThis sharing buttons. The icons could be prettier, and they would never quite “sit right” on my website. Therefore I recently decided to switch (yet again) from AddThis to Social Warfare Pro – a WordPress plugin I’ve wanted to try for a while. And I don’t regret it! Both the Free and the Pro version rock. This insightful Social Warfare review will show you exactly why I come that conclusion.
Speed (Social Warfare is fast!)
First of all: Social Warfare Pro – is fast.
Fortunately, Social Warfare is a different story.
Social Warfare added just 3 http-requests!
Social Warfare added just 3 http-requests to my site. In contrast, AddThis added 7 requests, more than twice as many. By simply switching to Social Warfare Pro, I saved my visitors 4 http-requests on every single page load. Nice:)
When code is inefficient, you can feel it
It’s not just numbers. The Social Warfare plugin absolutely feels very swift and smooth, too. I’m certain we can all feel on a visceral gut-level whether something is coded with care, or is lagging – even when imperceptible on the conscious level. A delay of just a few milliseconds in reaction-time here and there can be felt viscerally, on a deeper level.
Fortunately, that’s not the case with the Social Warfare WordPress plugin: it is lean and fast!
These social media icons show up
Even better: these social media icons consistently “show up for the job”. Given that I’ve had issues with other social media icons occasionally NOT showing up on the page, I’m pleased the Social Warfare icons do:)
Out of sight, out of mind
Another thing many WordPress share buttons struggle with, is staying in place when the user scrolls the page. And doing so in a visually pleasing but striking, yet unobtrusive, non-intrusive way. And across all devices.
If you want your readers to share your content, you want the share buttons to always be in plain view. While your reader may want to share your content after having read it to the very end (where most share buttons are located) – he/she may be just as likely to share it at an earlier “aha moment” while reading. IF your share buttons are within view, there’s a much higher chance they’ll actually do so.
Convenience is one factor, another is the visual clue that triggers the action.
You don’t wanna miss out on that opportunity, just because your social media icons aren’t present. Don’t let the out-of-sight out-of-mind principle work against you.
It must be done tastefully though. Not all WordPress share plugins get it right. Sometimes the buttons sit well on mobile, but not on desktop (as was the case with my previous AddThis share buttons) – or they’re too large and clumsy on mobile, but fairly ok on desktop. And on and on.
The Social Warfare buttons look AND work great – on both desktop and mobile! The icons sit perfectly on devices large, small and in-between: desktop, tablet, mobile… They just work. And I didn’t have to spend any time fiddling. Super nice! Thumbs up.
Social Warfare Pro vs Free – What will Pro give you that Free doesn’t?
The free version of Social Warfare isn’t crippled in any way, and worked really well. So well in fact, that I didn’t hesitate upgrading it to the Pro version, offering additional greatness. Below I’ll cover a few of the Pro features I’ve found most useful. For the complete list check out the website.
Click to Tweet
A nice way to entice social sharing of your content, is by formatting quotable sound bites as easy-to-tweet Click to Tweet elements. Like this:
Chances are high you’ve come across that feature when reading posts by various pro bloggers, right?
Of course: Social Warfare is the plugin to rely on for that task as well. It’s easy to do, and you can style the Click to Tweet snippets however you want – or choose from a handful well-designed presets.
Social proof – collect and strut your share counts:)
If you’ve ever changed your domain, or added or removed the “www” in front of it, or enabled SSL / HTTPS: you’ve felt the pain of losing your share counts.
Social Warfare Pro has a smart feature that helps you get those “lost shares” back. Simply input your previous domain structure, and voila! Social Warfare handles the rest. Neat!
Regain your Twitter share counts
To further make sure no share is left behind, Social Warfare Pro integrates with OpenShareCount.com and NewShareCounts.com, two free services that keep track of your Twitter share counts, and make them available to Social Warfare Pro. The result? Twitter shares get counted as they did before Twitter ditched share count support in their API.
Important July 2018 update from the Social Warfare developers:
“For those using New Share Counts, please take note: New Share Counts is no longer in service. You may update your Social Warfare settings to use the alternative Open Share Count to continue getting your tweet counts. We are also working on an alternative option and updates to the code to prevent any possible disruptions in your service.”Warfare Plugins team
Share counts: to display or not to display… that’s the question… or is it?
To avoid displaying low social media share counts that are unlikely to impress, you can set a threshold limit, so counts are only displayed on posts with a given share count above the chosen threshold. Smart!
Alternatively, you can disable share counts altogether for a clean, elegant look. Aesthetically pleasing and less “noisy” than buttons with counters.
The Social Warfare Plugin is used by prominent bloggers
Speaking of social proof, now that I’m using Social Warfare Pro myself, I recognize its buttons on many prominent sites I visit. That’s solid proof Social Warfare works well, and is used by many happy, satisfied bloggers and marketers, across the web.
Other noteworthy features
- Bitly integration – your shared bit.ly URLs are neatly shortened and trackable in your Bitly dashboard.
- UTM analytics tracking – particularly cool in combo with the above-mentioned Bitly URL shortening, it makes your analytics data more meaningful by adding UTM Medium and Campaign tags to your URLs.
- Powerful Pinterest features – if images are an important part of your content, Social Warfare Pro has several features that’ll make sure your content is perfectly Pinterest-shareable.
There are more features in the Social Warfare plugin, but despite that, it’s simple to set up and use, striking a good balance between simplicity and flexibility.
Social Warfare Review Verdict
Is Social Warfare Pro worth it? Absolutely!
As far as “social media icons” go: you can’t go wrong with Social Warfare Pro. And I sincerely mean that! It’s nice when stuff just works.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Social Warfare review? If you have any questions or comments, you’re very welcome in the comments section below! I’d like to know what you think! Which share buttons are you using on your website?