ShareThis is a great social media sharing service that I covered in my Website Sharing on Social Media article. However, ShareThis also has a plugin for WordPress which makes it very easy to set up social sharing on your posts and pages. This tutorial will cover how to use the ShareThis Plugin.
ShareThis WordPress Plugin Installation
ShareThis provides a great set of directions for getting their plugin installed on WordPress, so I won’t repeat them. Unfortunately after the installation directions they abandon you to figure out using the plugin on your own.
Once you have the ShareThis plugin installed and activated, go to your WordPress Settings and then click on ShareThis.
The first page allows selection of the button type you want to use. These buttons are configured over the next 5 pages. You do not have to choose to have buttons, but it is strongly recommended. I talked about different types of buttons and button locations in the website sharing on social media with ShareThis tutorial.
Once you have selected your button type you can also choose to select an option on the right. You can add a side bar or a top bar (but not both). You can also add the ShareNow feature (alone or in addition to one of the bars). The options for side bar, top bar, and ShareNow are configured on this first screen.
Note: Not all buttons are supported for side and top bars. For example, Facebook like isn’t supported.
If you select to use the side bar you will be given two options: left or right. As soon as you select the side bar the options are presented and you can decide between them. Clicking on the side bar option again will deactivate the side bar.
Selecting top bar adds a top bar (and removes the side bar if you had it selected). In order to get to the configuration options for the top bar you need to click on the “Configure it!” link which appears to the right of the top bar section box.
You will then be presented with the two configuration options for the top bar. You can add a logo graphic and set the scroll height. Logo graphics are transparent PNGs no more than 300px wide by 40px tall. The scroll height option sets how far the visitor must scroll down your website before the top bar appears (measured in pixels).
ShareNow can be used alone or with one of the bars. ShareNow uses Facebook and is finicky (especially if the visitor isn’t logged in to Facebook or uses a Facebook page instead of personal account). Very few sites use it and I recommend against using it. If you do select it, there will be a “Customize it!” link from which you can pick different color combinations.
The next 5 screens allow you to customize the display of your sharing buttons. This of course assumes that you have selected to have sharing buttons.
To get started, click on “Next: Select Services” in the upper right corner of the “Choose Buttons and Options” page.
Select Social Channels
The select social channels screen allows you to choose which social media networks you want to suggest sharing on. Generally the Facebook Like button and the Tweet button are the most popular. However, you should also add buttons for other networks that you are active on. I always suggest having a ShareThis button as the last option since this allows people to share on any network.
Simple drag and drop the options you want to use into the order you want to have them displayed. There will be a preview displayed of how your buttons look.
When finished click on “Next: Sharing Method” in the upper right corner.
Choose a Sharing Method
The sharing method screen allows you to choose between the multi post and direct post types for your ShareThis green button. I generally recommend the multi post since it allows sharing on multiple networks.
If you have selected Twitter you will also see options for entering your Twitter username. You should enter it into both boxes. The first box will display “via @username” at the end of post shares on Twitter (otherwise it will display “via @sharethis”). The second box will encourage visitors to follow you on Twitter after sharing your post.
When finished click on “Next: Additional Features” in the upper right corner.
This page allows you to select or not select the CopyNShare feature. I generally do not use the CopyNShare feature. Selecting “Measure copy and shares of your website’s content will add information to any copied text on your website. Selecting “Measure copy and shares of your website’s URLs” will add a ShareThis hash to the end of any URL. Both of these things are typically annoying to visitors.
Customize widget position allows you to select where to display the sharing buttons. You can have the buttons automatically added to your posts or pages or both. I generally always add the buttons to posts. Whether you add them to pages is up to you.
You can also decide for both pages and posts whether you want the buttons to appear at the beginning and/or end of your posts/pages.
When done with your settings here, click on “Next: Get your publisher key!” in the upper right.
Here you can sign into your ShareThis account which allows for some tracking of your shares. You do not need to have an account to use the plugin.
Once logged in (or not) click on “Almost Done: Final step” in the upper right.
Your Current Configuration
The last screen of the ShareThis plugin configuration will show your final settings. There will be the preview for how your buttons will look as well as a summary of your selected options.
CopyNShare will always display “Selected” regardless of if it’s selected. This is a quirk of the plugin. Whatever is displayed on the Additional Features is what will actually happen.
Click on Save at the bottom of the screen to save all of your settings.
I’ve covered the basics of using and configuring the ShareThis WordPress plugin in this tutorial. If you want more details about a particular feature, you will most likely find the info in my more detailed tutorial on sharing with ShareThis. I also have a tutorial for how to automatically broadcast your posts on social media.
Do you use the ShareThis plugin? How do you like it? Leave a note in the comments!