7 Ways to Socially Optimize your WordPress Website

WordPress began in 2003 with less than 20 users as a way to enhance everyday blog writing. While it began as a blogging system, it has matured into a full content management system with thousands of plugins, widgets and themes. It is now the largest blogging tool in the world, used by tens of millions of visitors each day.

Software expansions, known as plugins, can be added to a WordPress website to optimize the functionality and add new features. Plugins are available for a vast range of common website functions, and among the more popular plugins are those designed for social media. These allow you to add icons for sharing to popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or can draw content from social media to your WordPress site. Let’s take a look seven popular plugins you can use to optimize your WordPress site for social media.

Instagram Feed WD

Instagram allows mobile photo sharing, video sharing and social networking via a platform that can be used publicly or privately. Instagram can also be used through other popular platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Those with a WordPress site can display images and composite feeds of hashtags and users with their own custom styling and can link their Instagram feed to their WordPress blog via Instagram Feed WD. Instagram Feed WD is simple to set up and use, and is arguably the most functional and useful Instagram plugin available.

Instagram Feed WD plugin allows users to display Instagram feeds based on the user’s accounts and hashtags. The pro version allows you to display multiple feeds and hashtags, or any combination of both.

The plugin utilizes four layouts, two for smaller thumbnail displays known as Thumbnail and Masonry, and two displays for larger blog style and image browser images. Thumbnail images can be viewed with caption, number of likes and comments. Image browser displays includes caption, number of likes, comments and a navigation option. The Masonry view combines images with caption, number of likes and comments in a larger view, as does blog style. All layout options include display feed user name, bio, number of posts and followers.

Conditional filters allow users to set up filtering to hide or display posts, and choose whether to share username, hashtag, description and Instagram media link. Multiple filters can be applied to a feed.

When Instagram images are displayed, they may be linked back to Instagram or opened in a lightbox. Lightbox displays images as a slideshow and includes transition effects. Images can be sorted by date, likes, comments or other options, and displayed in ascending or descending order. The pro version of the Instagram Feed WD allows for comments, social sharing buttons and filmstrip to be displayed in the lightbox for an elegant effect. You can customize colors, size and display style in the theme section, with each section using its own theme.

Facebook Feed WD

Facebook is the number three site worldwide, as rated by Alexa. It allows registered users to create profiles upload and share photos and videos, send private messages and network with friends, family and colleagues. Facebook feeds are viewed 1.5 billion times each month.

WordPress users can include Facebook feeds based on a page, public group or profile with Facebook Feed WD plugin. It takes only a few minutes to set up and allows you to control content length, type, styling, and more.

The comprehensive Facebook Feed WD plugin constantly refreshes the feed, removing old content and replacing it with fresh posts, or adding to an existing list of posts. Users can choose how many posts to display on their blog. The numbers of Facebook feeds is unlimited, and you can add from multiple pages, groups and profiles within the same page. In pages and groups, you can choose whose posts will be shared on your feed, assign group admins and members and preserve hashtags and mentions.

Facebook albums can be displayed with thumbnails images that may be opened in lightbox (pro version). Hi-res lightbox images can be displayed with filmstrip, creating a spectacular gallery (pro version).

You can also use themes to make changes in the appearance and design of Facebook feeds, and you can use a different style for each layout.

There is a pro version of Facebook Feed WD available that offers further enhancements, including advanced lightbox with comments and more, multiple layouts with album view, masonry, and thumbnail view, blog style and thumbnail view for events, and social sharing to Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter Feed WD

Twitter is a microblogging site that allows registered users to send short posts known as tweets. Users can follow other user’s tweets through multiple platforms and devices. Twitter is ranked eighth globally and is linked via more than 6 million websites.

Our useful plugin Twitter Feed WD allows for the simple display of tweets in a variety of ways with the included shortcode engine and widget. Fully responsive skins are included. Tweets can be stored locally, using a caching engine, to improve your site’s performance with decreased load times. The Usage Tracker tool allows users to track their usage status to ensure they stay within Twitter rate limits.

Other features include a widget, tweet customization, tweet actions and the ability to tweet media such as photos, YouTube clips and Vine videos.

Aside from these three popular plugins from Web-Dorado for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, some other popular plugins to consider include Flare, ShareThis, Social Media Feather and Shareaholic. These plugins work with a variety of social media platforms. Let’s take a brief look at what each of these has to offer.

Flare

Flare is simple to use and visually appealing. It offers customizable share buttons, and allows you to create a “follow me” widget, making it simple for visitors to begin following your social media accounts right from your WordPress site. Flare is compatible with all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can place a share bar at the top or bottom of posts, or to the left or right. When you choose the left and right options, users can scroll down the page and auto-hide the option when not in use. Flare also allows for the customization of button appearance.

ShareThis

ShareThis has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times and is one of the most popular social media plugins available for WordPress. It offers a lot of customization and features, and supports more than 120 social media platforms. Social buttons are available in the form of a hovering bar that may be displayed on the right or left side of the page. It includes counters, and your choice of large or small buttons. ShareThis offers the benefit of built-in social analytics and a CopyNShare widget that helps user track shares when content is copied and pasted.

Social Media Feather

Social Media Feather is a high performing lightweight plugin that optimizes speed and reduces load times by not using JavaScript. You can customize the appearance of buttons with social icon skins, and the buttons offer a clean and modern look. Another great benefit is that SMF is the only social sharing plugin available that supports Retina and other hi-res displays used on mobile devices like the iPad 5. SMF also supports shortcodes.

Shareaholic

Powerful and rich with features, Shareaholic does more than social media sharing. The aim of this plugin is to help readers discover and submit your articles to multiple social bookmarking sites. Major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are supported, and share counters are included for many of the platforms. Shareaholic includes Classic Bookmarks, a Recommendations & Related Content tool, social analytics, Google Analytics and official support for Google’s URL shortener.

A similar plugin, MicroBlog Poster, deserves honorable mention. A different type of social plugin, you can use MicroBlog Poster to automatically push your WordPress blog to a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook. Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. It supports shortcodes and multiple accounts.

Web developer Richard Sutherland has been working with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and other content management systems for over a decade. Graduating from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Richard has held a number of prominent website development roles at major companies such as Samsung, ASDA and Prudential.

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