Content Marketing, Social Media Tools, Blogging and Content Creation

6 Must-Have Social Plugins for Your WordPress Blog

badge tools tactics 6 Must Have Social Plugins for Your WordPress Blogjesso 150x200 6 Must Have Social Plugins for Your WordPress BlogJess Ostroff is Managing Editor at Convince & Convert, and also runs the virtual social media assistant agency Don’t Panic Management. You can find her tweeting about social media, martinis, and music as @jessostroff.

If you have a conversation with any WordPress developer, they’ll likely tell you that less is more when it comes to plugins. And with the thousands of plugins out there in the WordPress repository, finding the right ones for your site can be a ridiculously time-consuming (and headache-inducing) feat. Social plugins and optimization are more important than ever though, and can really make a difference in your site’s traffic and engagement.

These 6 social plugins are all compatible with the latest version of WordPress, and are easy to install and customize. We use most of these here at Convince & Convert and can attest to their awesomeness.

1. Digg Digg

This popular plugin lets you incorporate all of your social sharing buttons into a customizable bar that sits on the top or side of each blog post for easy sharing. Digg Digg lets you choose which buttons you want to display, and whether you want a floating sidebar (all the rage lately) or a top bar. Digg Digg was acquired by Buffer a couple years ago, and includes all popular sharing buttons and their share count for each post.

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Digg Digg with a floating left implementation

2. All in One SEO Pack

Some WordPress frameworks have search functionality already built in, but if you want to really pack an SEO punch into your posts, the All in One SEO Pack is the best of its kind (in my estimation). All in One SEO Pack sits in your WordPress dashboard at the bottom of each post and allows you to enter your own custom title, description, and keywords for search engines to index. It works with most advanced WordPress customizations and e-commerce sites, and works straight out of the box for beginners as well.

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All in One SEO Pack interface

3. Facebook Social Plugins

Facebook is the social giant that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and whether you love it or hate it, you can’t argue that 500 million international users is a heck of a lot. You can find some unofficial “like” buttons and other Facebook plugins in the WordPress repository, but with the amount of changes Facebook makes on a regular basis, your best bet is to use the official Facebook Social Plugins from Facebook.com. These tend to be a little more tricky to configure than some of the other plugins we’ve listed here because they require some HTML knowledge, but Facebook provides detailed documentation on how to install their Facebook social plugins so you don’t get lost.

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Facebook Social Plugins Instructions Page

4. Photo Dropper

Creating visually appealing content for your blog has become increasingly important, especially now with the advent of Pinterest. But finding royalty-free images that don’t look like ’90s clip art can be a pain. Photo Dropper is a free plugin that aggregates creative commons images and makes them available to you from directly within your WordPress dashboard. No Google or Flickr search necessary. It’s not laziness, it’s efficiency! Plus, Photo Dropper ensures that you use (and credit) photographs appropriately.

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Photo Dropper Image Finder

5. Hello Bar

The Hello Bar is so simple, yet so effective. Type your promotional message, your link text, and your link URL into the Hello Bar dashboard, choose your colors and font, and voila! You now have a slick little bar sitting at the top of your site with your latest event, newsletter, or whatever else you want people to see. (you might even see it at the top of this page). Because of its location and customizable color scheme, you’re likely to get more eyeballs and clicks on your message. And that’s not all – Hello Bar allows you to measure visits, clicks, and even perform A/B testing, all for the low price of $0 (The Pro version of Hello Bar is fee-based).

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Hello Bar message creation interface

6. InboundWriter

Jay has written about the impact of InboundWriter here on Convince & Convert before, and we continue to see its increasing value as Google’s newest algorithm demands excellent content. InboundWriter is a social writing application that analyzes sample copy against websites you’ve chosen, and recommends relevant keywords for you to focus on. As you continue to write, InboundWriter analyzes in real-time, providing you with suggestions and an SEO score of between 1 and 100 so you can measure your progress. You might also  go back to your most popular posts and re-work them using InboundWriter. You may be pleasantly surprised with the SEO results.

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InboundWriter for WordPress Interface

While plugins can provide an easy way to customize your site, it’s important to be careful about which ones you install as too many social plugins can slow down your site and make you more vulnerable to hackers. Keeping your plugin library lean and always keeping your plugins updated will take some of this anxiety away, especially if you’re not a developer.

What are we missing out on? What social plugins can you not live without?

  • http://keithbloemendaal.me/ keithbloemendaal

    Only one I would change is All In One SEO, I much prefer SEO by Yoast. Not only does it let you change the titles/descriptions, etc… but it gives you a preview of it as if you were looking at it in Google search. Also it helps you rank by looking at whether your main keyword is in the heading, url, title, content, etc… Just a much better plugin altogether.

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @keithbloemendaal I’ve used both actually and have had great experiences with both, just prefer All In One. Thanks for the detailed input! Might have to check SEO out again :)

  • http://www.milaspage.com/ Milaspage

    Great list, thanks to therealsjr for pointing it out. Another great plug in which goes a little further than Photodropper is Zemanta, zemanta whats cool about Zemanta is that it not only pulls from photos (allowing insert and credit – so you never mess up) BUT it also will allow you to pull “recommended additional reading” either from random sites – based on your blog word analysis (which happens seamlessly while you write) or from sites you identify as your preferred sources. A great way to promote your fav blogs, tie in supporting posts or link to your own previous posts. It works on Typepad and wordpress. Havent tried it on blogger. The other advantage of Zemanta is that it also allows you to pull from your own flickr photos if you like. A lot of functionality, with a click to insert (already in a clean format) way. If you add something you don’t like, it also allows you to remove it easily, with a click to remove function. Check it out!
     
    Thanks for this great post! always love finding new ways to make blogs better! Going to check out Hello Bar and Inbound Writer for sure!

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @Milaspage Awesome, thanks! I’ve had a little trouble here and there with Zemanta which is why I didn’t include it. PhotoDropper seems to have fewer bugs, but also less functionality as you mentioned. Good luck with Hello Bar and InboundWriter!

  • http://www.savagenomads.net/ benwaynet

    Never heard of photo dropper, I’ll have to give it a try, like @Milaspage  I use zemanta and have had good results.
    Inboundwriter is another interesting one, it already takes me forever to write a post, but if its to be done it should be done right! 

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @benwaynet I’m with you there :) Good luck!

  • http://www.jasonkonopinski.com/ jasonkonopinski

    I’ve been a fan of Digg Digg for a long time – and I think its utility is only going to increase now that bufferapp has acquired the product. 

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @jasonkonopinski Definitely. Those @bufferapp guys are awesome! Thanks, Jason!

  • TheRealSJR

    @Milaspage Thanks for the shoutout in the comments – appreciated! :)

  • zemanta

    @Milaspage thanks so much for the plug!

    • Milaspage

      . @zemanta its a pleasure I think your plugin rocks! #otable #usguys #140confmtl #blogchat

    • Milaspage

      @zemanta would be very cool if you guys would come exhibit at #140confmtl cc @140ConfMTL

  • jessostroff

    @Koozai_Tom Thank you!

  • jessostroff

    @Schmittastic Thank you my pretty!

  • jessostroff

    @wittlake Thank you!

  • jessostroff

    @JasonFalls Thanks, boss :)

  • morganb180

    Jess – thanks so much for including @thehellobar in your list! We really appreciate it! These other tools are great too – can’t wait to try out Inbound Writer for ourselves!
     
    Morgan
    Hello Bar Product Manager

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @morganb180  @thehellobar No problem! We love the Hello Bar! Thanks for reading :)

  • jamie_stenhouse

    @NickUnsworth thanks :)

  • volmatchRobert

    @jaybaer It was great to meet you at #sxsw. You’ve come a long way from Lake Havasu (I’m a Tucson boy myself). Let’s stay in touch.

    • jaybaer

      @volmatchRobert I’m a Wildcat!

      • volmatchRobert

        @jaybaer bear down

  • connectyou

    Love-love-love seeing your words on Photo Dropper & InboundWriter — Can’t wait to spend more time with those and weeding out some other plugins!  Thanks!! :)

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @connectyou You won’t be disappointed :) Thanks so much!

  • jessostroff

    @tmonhollon Thank you dear!! So good seeing you in Austin :)

    • tmonhollon

      @jessostroff Definitely! Great catching up with you in Austin too :)

  • http://tedweismann.com/ TedWeismann

    Jess – Thanks so much for this great list. Given the thousands of plugins in the directory, it’s hard to sift through them sometimes. I use a couple of these, but Photo Dropper and Hello Bar look very appealing.

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @TedWeismann Exactly. It can be really hard to tell what will work and what won’t looking through the repository, even looking at the reviews. Thanks for your feedback!

  • http://ariherzog.com/ Ari Herzog

    You like those top and bottom bars? I’ve tried some in the past — and routinely see them on different sites — but I’m not a fan. They distract me from what I’m reading or trying to do, and sometimes the color scheme is such a contrast the distraction is bad.

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @Ari Herzog They’re not for everyone, but we’ve seen some really great results, and results are really what this post is about. I like Hello Bar in particular because it’s so easy to use and doesn’t overcomplicate things like some of the other bars I’ve seen. Of course, if you don’t like any distractions while you’re reading, you’re probably better off using an RSS reader anyway :)

  • King_Jaffy

    Thanks for mentioning Hello Bar! =) It’s been fascinating seeing all the uses people have put our little plugin towards.

  • StaffordSterner

    RT @socialmouths 6 Must-Have Social Plugins for Your WordPress Blog http://t.co/AYDVc3CI via @jaybaer

  • http://www.quintainmarketing.com/ workmommywork

    What a great list! We really like the All in One SEO plugin, and I’m looking forward to playing with Photo Dropper and Inbound Writer.

  • DrioStudio

    Great plugin tips! Thank you!!! Everyone has different ideas of plugins to use, but I like your ideas and they each seem like they would be valuable assets!

    I can see using the hello bar to make it easy for non tech savvy clients! Thanks again!

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @DrioStudio Yeah, these are just my opinions of course, but we’ve seen great results with all of them so I think you’ll like them too :)

  • jessostroff

    @mdbarber Thanks so much for sharing!

    • mdbarber

      @jessostroff Loved the post!

  • jessostroff

    @James_Debono Thank you for sharing!

  • jessostroff

    @smitus Hope they work well for you! Thanks for sharing :)

  • jessostroff

    @jocmbarnett Thanks so much for sharing!

    • jocmbarnett

      @jessostroff A pleasure, Jess. I found the post very helpful and interesting. Looking fwd to the next post.

      • jessostroff

        @jocmbarnett Definitely. If there are other things/topics you want to see on Convince & Convert, just let me know!

        • jocmbarnett

          @jessostroff Cool. Since you mentioned it, what do y’all think of the new FTC Dot Com rules that came out? Would love yr thoughts!

        • jessostroff

          @jocmbarnett Ah yes, lots of opinions flying around about that. Will do! Thanks!

  • kaliwhipple

    These are great tips, especially for a newbie to the WordPress world like me. I appreciate your tips and knowledge. Keep em coming!
     
    Kali Whipple
    kaliwhipple.wordpress.com

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @kaliwhipple Thanks, Kali! Good luck with your blog!

  • ryanstephens

    @jessostroff – Enjoyed your post on must have #Wordpress plug-ins. Going to leverage InboundWriter to retroactively re-work some old posts!

  • NicKnowsMKTG

    @jessostroff Thanks for sharing! Definitely going to check out #InboundWriter for #SEO!

  • http://www.milkmen.com/blog/ Cody Baird

    Thanks for the tip on InboundWriter.  SWEET.

  • ZoNicholas

    @MariSmith @jessostroff @jaybaer

  • jessostroff

    @MariSmith Thanks so much for sharing, Mari! Glad you liked it :)

  • snouraini

    Great tip! I have a question and a comment. Does Dig Dig include a Pin it button? Also, the Hello bar does not play nice with WordPress touch, which makes your blog mobile friendly.

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

       @snouraini No Pin It button on Digg Digg yet, although I’m sure they’ll include that in their next release. Can’t imagine they’d let that one get left out!
       
      I haven’t seen any issues with Hello Bar on mobile (except that it doesn’t show up of course). It shouldn’t break your site or anything if you’re using WordPress Touch. You just won’t see it on mobile. But let me know if you’ve seen issues otherwise. 

      • snouraini

         @jessostroff Thanks for your reply.  When I used it last year, it would destroy the top menu of my blog when I viewed it on iphone, and the bar did show up, maybe they have fixed it since then.
        The social sharing tool I use is  Twitter Facebook Social Share which also allows for positioning of the bar on the top, bottom and on the left.  It also has a Pin button which is crucial these days.

  • http://www.MarkMcCulloch.info/ TheMIllionaireMark

    I have to admit I do agree with this topic of post as recently I have realised the value of many WP Plugins and just what they can do for the user. Absolutely amazing!

  • mamiszt4

    @divahound Disneyland! Your best choice for vocation! Check out here and grab its free ticket now: @Free_Disney_

  • CouponDivaOne

    thank you thank you thank you – I put the Hello Bar in my WP blog cos’ of this article….. :D

  • http://www.themarketingbit.com TheMarketingBit

    Great post @jessostroff.  I don’t know if I heard about Inbound Writer from @jaybaer, may have, but I absolutely love this tool.  I use it along with SEO by Yoast and it has really helped my posts and has totally transformed my writing.  Very cool tools. 

  • need6t4
  • http://photodropper.com Lucinda at Photodropper

    Thanks for including Photodropper in your roundup of great plugins. 
     
    If you ever have any comments or suggestions about how we can improve our next release, shoot me an email. :)

  • http://florida-hypnosis.com/ Ricky at FloridaHypnosis

    Great post. I have tried all kinds of social media plugins, but they all seem to add a bunch of extra stuff to load. Even after minifying what I could get away with and it still working did not seem to do justice. I am in the middle of writing up some code to clear that up. I almost have it down, but there are still a few kinks in it. If I pull this off I will have social media without directly loading anything additional at the time besides the images themselves. If you have found anything like this already please let me know. Thanks for the great ideas and I am going to definitely checkout photodropper and the hello bar. You talked me into doing that much. Have a great day.

  • http://bestpluginsforwp.com/ adamjames

    Hi Jess,
     
    I am so happy that Buffer acquired Digg Digg, it introduced a new lease of life into the plugin which seemed to be a bit neglected in the past.I’ve heard about InboundWriter, and after reading this I think it’s about time to check it out, it sounds like an amazingly unique writing tool, I haven’t seen anything else like it.  

  • Ikshit Kakkar

    hi jess ,
    is there any plugin that integrates social sharing with social commenting