For bloggers, social sharing of your posts is almost always a good thing. A social share of your site brings in visitors who see the link, improves the Google juice of your website, and can expose your website to new audiences who might not visit it otherwise.
All of which are to the good. But for the blogger who is trying to generate enough revenue from their website to cover expenses (whatever those might be), high volumes of traffic and social engagement are only half the battle. You also need revenue in the form of ad clicks.
Increasing click conversion, though, is no easy thing. If there are too many ads on your site, visitors will be overwhelmed and likely click over to another site. Too few ads and they might not be able to find anything to click on.
And even with the ads that you do show, it doesn’t help much if you just put ads in the normal locations, since users are increasingly ignoring those. Ads nowadays need to be an organic part of your site, yet still visible to the user, and novel in their placement.
There are a couple of excellent new plugins that combine social sharing and advertising to help you draw traffic, increase user engagement, and acquire new ad clicks. How do they do that? By turning your social share buttons into advertising spaces. Take a look below at two plugins that do a great job of making this eye-catching, unexpected advertising terra incognita look like a natural part of a website’s design.
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A new favorite of mine, Po.st aims to provide the best all-around solution for anyone looking to install social sharing buttons in their WordPress website. In addition to helping you to create and enable share buttons, Po.st works as a low-fuss ad server that also monitors your site’s performance:
Share Buttons - To configure the share buttons, head to Settings>Po.st in your site’s back end where you can choose:
- To show the Po.st share buttons widget on your site’s single posts, lists of posts, or pages
- The style of the buttons, in terms of size and shape, and if they should show a hit counter
- To display the widget at the bottom or top of a post or page’s content or as a floating widget on the right or left side of the page
- What social networking services you would like to display (here are the supported options)
Analytics – One of the more exciting of their features, Po.st allows you monitor the usage of your share buttons through your dashboard on their website. They collect information on what posts are getting shared, which services are being used, and the demographics of who is looking at your content. They also measure the virality of each post, so that you can see which of your posts are resonating most widely.
Advertising - After a user shares one of your posts, Po.st displays a popup window that not only confirms that they have shared the post, but also displays an advertisement (learn more here). There are a couple of major benefits to this type of advertisement:
- Users who might be put off by ads have already demonstrated that they like and are ready to engage with your site before even seeing the ad
- Users are not used to viewing an ad in this space and are more likely to take notice of it when they do.
This great share button plugin from Sharexy also helps you to create attractive, easy-to-use share buttons that display ads. Similar though it may be to the Po.st plugin, there are a few meaningful differences, and some excellent original features, worth mentioning:
- There is a “Buzz” feature that causes the share buttons to vibrate when the user scrolls. Although that might not be hugely helpful, it does draw attention to your widget when share buttons can so often seem to be just a part of a site’s scenery, rather than a crucial function
- You can choose from an expanding gallery of different widget styles as well as adjust the size and background color of the widget to your taste. Also, they allow you to choose different sizes for the top and bottom post widgets so that you can make one of the other more conspicuous
They let you customize the position of the floating widget so that it can be displayed on the left, right, top, and bottom sides of the page (or not at all). If you would like to display the floating widget at the same time as the post share button widget, you can do that, whereas as with Po.st’s plugin you could not
- Sharexy’s ads can be configured to open when someone hovers over the widget, after they have shared your post/page, or simply whenever a visitor views the page (they will be open by default, in this case). They allow you to select any or all of these three advertising options at one time. Or none, if you just want to use the share buttons without ads
- One disappointment with Sharexy is that although it tracks ad sales very well, it does much less to track social interactions. If I had to pick one distinct advantage to using Po.st over Sharexy, it would be that gulf in capturing analytics data.