Make It Easy for Users to Share Your WordPress Content - dummies

Make It Easy for Users to Share Your WordPress Content

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

When people want to take your WordPress content and give it to someone, you put up a barrier if you make it hard for them to pass that content along. Make it as easy as possible for people to share your content with their friends, family members, and co-workers.

One of the best things about the social web is that you can share what you find with other people. Sharing is a basic concept — an easy, thoughtful, and fun thing to do. You find content that you like and share it with your friends on the web, who might find what you shared helpful or interesting and pass it on to their friends. But a lot of sites do a very poor job of allowing users to share content. While you set up your WordPress site, think about how you want readers to share your content.

Test, test, and test some more. How to best lay out your sharing options on your site takes continual testing. You can’t get it right the first time — or the first five times. Sometimes, it takes months to find the right mix.

Enable the user to share your WordPress content

Enabling sharing is the first thing you want to do. If people don’t have the ability to share your content, that content isn’t going to go anywhere.

Sharing content doesn’t mean just social media sharing; your content can get spread through other methods. Allow readers to email or print your posts. Although you may feel that email and printing are outdated features, your users may not.

Don’t overwhelm the user with choices

Sites can include too many sharing options. The reader becomes overwhelmed and probably also has trouble finding the network that he or she uses.

Pick a few sharing sites to which you want to link, test them, and cycle in new ones that people may use. Offer a low number of sharing options at a time so that people can share your content easily. Determine which of these networks your content applies to.

If you write celebrity gossip, your content may do better being distributed on sites where people can share quickly with their friends, such as Facebook and Twitter. If you write in-depth technical resources, a social bookmarking site such as Reddit may be a better place to share your content and bring your blog additional traffic. If you write about fashion and beauty, perhaps providing a sharing button to Pinterest can get you traffic from people who are interested in those topics.

Make sure that the sharing options you give visitors apply to sites where your content makes sense. Don’t be afraid to try different sites. Study your statistics to see where readers are discovering your content. Many of these sites allow you to search by domain, so you can check to see how often people are sharing your website and what specific content they’re sharing.

Put sharing buttons in the right place

Where you present the sharing buttons really depends on the type of content you’re posting and the audience reading it. If you post a picture and include a comment below it, the content could push your sharing buttons below the fold, so make sure that your major sharing options appear next to or above the content. Some of the most popular places to display sharing buttons are the top of the post, the bottom of the post, and the left and right margins of the website.

Below the fold refers to what doesn’t appear in a user’s web browser unless the user scrolls down to view it. The term is taken from newspaper printing, in which some items appear below the fold on the front page.

To get some ideas about how best to deploy your sharing buttons, check out sites that are similar to yours, and see where some of the most successful site publishers place their buttons.

Think about the user, not yourself

Take this major lesson away from this. Too many times, people get excited about the latest gadget or tool for their sites. They get eager to try it out and excited to deploy it, but in the end, they aren’t thinking about whether it can help the user and whether the user is going to enjoy it.

How you use the web and how you navigate a site can be completely different from how most other people use it. Review button use and where people are sharing your blog posts. Also use tools such as Google Analytics to see how people interact with your page.

By using its site-overlay feature, Google Analytics allows you to see how often someone clicks various items on your website. You can sign up for Google Analytics for free and deploy it very easily. (You just need to paste the tracking code in your WordPress footer.)

The site-overlay feature currently works in the Google Chrome browser on either a Mac or PC. To access the site-overlay feature from your Google Analytics Dashboard, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Page Analytics (by Google) page in the Chrome webstore.
  2. Click the Add to Chrome button.

    This installs and adds the extension to your Chrome browser by adding a Page Analytics icon to the browser toolbar.

  3. Visit your website in your browser window.
  4. Click the Page Analytics button in your browser toolbar.

    The page analytics using the site-overlay feature.

wordpress overlay feature
The Site Overlay feature in Google Analytics.

Now, on the home page of your site, little text boxes for the various links on your home page appear, displaying percentages. The percentages within these text boxes reflect how popular the various links are within your site. If you navigate your site while using the site-overlay feature, you can see, page by page, how people are interacting with your navigation, content, sharing features, and other content.