The effective use of social media has been an important part of blogging for years now, but today your blog isn’t likely to gain any traction at all unless you’ve covered the various social features that users have come to expect: sharing options, profile summaries and buttons, authentication and identity, and so on. These plugins will get your WordPress blog up to speed in a hurry.
You can also check some premium WordPress Plugins here.
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1. Simple Twitter Connect
Simple Twitter Connect allows you to add functionality to your site that comes from using Twitter as an identity and authentication service. This plugin allows you to log in to your blog using Twitter, allow users to post comments using their Twitter credentials — and then tweet those comments — and you can auto-tweet new posts as they are published to your Twitter account, among several other features.
2. Social Counters
Social sharing buttons that include counters are used by some of the biggest sites on the web, and for good reason. They serve the dual purpose of allowing users to easily share articles with one click, and providing social proof through the displayed count of social shares. Social Counters makes it easy to add these sharing buttons with counters for a variety of a social networks to your website, increasing traffic and user engagement.
3. Social Connect
Simple Twitter Connect has more well-rounded functionality, including auto-tweeting new posts, if you’re Twitter-focused — but what if you want to enable authentication through other services? Social Connect enables users to login, register and comment using Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo or WordPress.com accounts.
4. Social Graph Protocol
The Social Graph Protocol plugin adds Facebook Open Graph Protocol data to your posts, which, most significantly, means that when you or your readers share your sites on Facebook, the title, description and thumbnails can be easily and automatically populated, making for more professional looking shares that attract more traffic.
5. Social Media Widget
Make it easy for users to follow you across a range of networks with Social Media Widget. Social Media Widget gives you the option of adding a widget to your sidebar that directs users to your various profiles. The list of supported networks is extensive, and includes all of the major networks as well as smaller and niche sites.
6. WP Socializer
WP Socializer adds sharing buttons to your posts with 98 supported social sites. Socializer is performance-conscious and uses sprites to load the various images, and forgoes the counters that Social Counters makes use of if you find fitting a large number of sharing buttons into a small space more beneficial than the social proof counters.
7. Social Discussions
There are many network-specific plugins that allow you to auto-post new material onto sites like Twitter or Facebook. Social Discussions is like these plugins on steroids — it allows you to auto-post new content to more than 20 networks, and allows you to quickly monitor your traffic from those social networks without heading into Google Analytics.
8. Social Slider
Adding the sidebar widgets offered by sites like Twitter and Facebook is a great way to build your social media audiences from your site, but you’ll find you clutter the sidebar quite quickly if you add a widget for every network you’re on. Social Slider solves this problem with a tabbed interface that lets users switch between views for various networks, allowing them to select those they’re most interested in while conserving sidebar real estate.
9. Social Metrics
Social Metrics is a great social media analytics tool that allows you to see, by post, how many times the item was shared across networks, which social networks are most effective for the content you’re producing so you can focus on the right outlets, and see which content has interested social users the most so you can produce more of it.
10. WP Social Toolbar
As mentioned, it’s so easy to run out of sidebar real estate with everything bloggers are expected to include these days. If you’re a fan of the Wibiya-style toolbar that’s fixed to the bottom edge of the viewport no matter how far up or down you scroll, then WP Social Toolbar may appeal to you. The benefit is that sharing options are always available to the user: if your sharing buttons are at the top of an article, users may forget to use them by the time they’ve finished reading. Too far down the page and the user might not get to them. While some don’t like these ever-present toolbars, they tend to increase the likelihood that users will share.
11. Need help? (Bonus)
If none of the above work out, try DesignCrowd’s WordPress Design Crowdsourcing as a way to get a custom WordPress design. While they don’t specialize in WP plugins, this is another useful WP resource (and a bonus on this list)!
Daniel Thornton is a blogger for DesignCrowd, an online service that specialises in logo design crowdsourcing, outsourcing and contests.