This post is for my fellow bloggers, because a bunch of you have asked me how I’m doing those sharing images at the bottom of my posts. Here’s a good example. Or you could scroll to the bottom of this post, I guess.
It started a few weeks ago when I was having some massive problems with my site. It was taking over a minute to load and I started stripping it down: removing plugins and ads and widgets. And when it came time to put them back on, I realized that I didn’t like several of the ones that had to do with how readers share my posts. So I took the opportunity to rethink how I ask them to do that.
I still have sharing buttons, because some people like those. But I wanted to reach the people who don’t notice the sharing buttons, or don’t know what they’re for, and are maybe wary of clicking on them. I wanted to make sharing in your face and obvious and easy.
I’m assuming a certain level of WordPress and HTML knowledge. If you have questions please ask, and I’ll try to help.
Click to Tweet
First, I started using a click-to-tweet plugin. What’s that? It looks like this.What does click-to-tweet look like? This. Go ahead, you can click on it. It won't send automatically. Click To Tweet
It gives people a super easy way to share a quote from your post.
I tested out three different click-to-tweet WordPress plugins—all free—and I can tell you for sure that the best one is Better Click To Tweet. Why?
It’s easy (if that’s what you want)
It can be as simple as you want it to be. Just want to press a button and create a tweetable quote? It will take you five seconds. You can set things up so that it will add your twitter handle and a link back to the post, and if you want it will use your custom bitly shortener to do that.
Plus, it’s all done in the WYSIWYG editor, using some simple shortcode (which the plugin will generate for you), not HTML. Easy.
People love your blog posts, so why aren't they sharing them? You have to make it easier for them. Click To Tweet
It’s customizable (if that’s what you want)
But what if you want to change things up? You can. The creator of the plugin has written a fantastic tutorial for the tricks.
-You can remove the post’s URL from selected tweets.
-You can put a custom URL in, to link to something other than your post. You can also make that URL nofollow.
-You can remove your Twitter handle from selected tweets.
-You can mess with the CSS to make it look exactly how you want.
But like I said, if you don’t want to bother learning that stuff, you never ever have to see it.
How I use it
I’ve been putting at least one click-to-tweet in the middle of my posts with some kind of quote from the post, and another one at the bottom of the post with the title.
A Pinterest Image
Next, at the bottom of the post under the click-to-tweet, I put a big Pinterest image for people to share. But everybody does that, right? Well, sort of. The way everybody else does it, you need some kind of plugin to make a little Pinterest button that a reader clicks on to share the image, or maybe they used their own browser button. But I didn’t like doing it that way because between my plugin and readers’ browser-based Pinterest buttons, I was never sure if the correct image was going to be pinned, and if it was going to have the right description. (Can you see my control freak tendencies coming out?)
Thanks to an excellent Pinterest course I know how important a good pin description is (working on it, I swear!), and I know that I need to add a data-pin-description to the image’s code. But Pinterest still wasn’t always pulling the right description. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I looked at what happens when you click on a Pinterest share button, and came up with the code for the click-to-pin Pinterst image.
Now, I don’t want to scare you. This one looks a little complicated, but it’s not. Do it once or twice and it will be easy, I promise. You’re just swapping out links and quotes.
You’ll need three pieces of information:
The URL of your post
Right click on the permalink of your post and copy it. Assuming you haven’t published your post yet, the link will look something like this, depending on how you have your URLs set up (I had to insert a space after “http:” or the link just showed as a preview of this very post):
You want to delete the part at the end that says &preview=true
If your post is already published, then the link will be fine as-is.
We’ll call this one POSTURL.
The URL of your image
After you’ve uploaded a Pinterest-worthy image to your post using the “Add Media” button, click on the image and copy the URL. We’ll call this IMAGEURL. Then go ahead and insert the image into your post where you want it.
Your pin description
Hamilton tickets are hard to come by, and the mark-up by scalpers and resellers can be double, triple, even ten times the face value. So, can you still score face value tickets to Hamilton? The answer is yes…sort of.
And we’ll call this one, PINDESCRIPTION.
What to do with it
Once you have this info, you’re going to plug it all into this:
(You may have noticed that there’s a space between the www. and the rest. That’s on purpose, so that it doesn’t become a live link when I’m busy pasting the info in, because then I accidentally click on it a bunch of times and drive myself crazy. You’ll be removing that space later, but leave it in for now.)
So, when finished it should look something like this (the three parts that just got pasted in are in bold, just so that they’re easier to see):
www. pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http://amyoztan.com/?p=20661&media=http://amyoztan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Hamilton-Tickets-pinterest.jpg&description=Hamilton tickets are hard to come by, and the mark-up by scalpers and resellers can be double, triple, even ten times the face value. So, can you still score face value tickets to Hamilton? The answer is yes…sort of.
Now, you want to copy your finished link, and click on the image in your post, then click on the little pencil so that you can edit the image.
In “Display Settings,” in the “Link To” dropdown, choose “Custom URL” and paste the link in after http://
Then, delete the space after “www”
Also, this is a good time to resize the image if you want. I like mine to be about 500px wide.
Last, check the box for “Open link in a new tab.”
That’s it. It’s a lot of instruction for something that will actually take you about a minute once you know what you’re doing.
A Facebook image
At the very bottom of the post I put an image that’s optimized for Facebook, but here’s the trick: in order to do this one, you need to have some kind of sharing button plugin installed for Facebook. (I use Social Warfare, and I love it.)
This is the only part that I do after my post has been published. As soon as the post is live I go to it, I right click the Facebook sharing button, and I copy the link address.
It might look something like this, depending on which plugin you use:
Then I go back to the edit screen for the post and add a Facebook image at the bottom of the post. I click on the image, then I click on the pencil to edit, and I paste in that URL that I just copied, into the “Custom URL” space.
I check the box for “Open link in a new tab” and then “Update.” And then, of course, I update the entire published post. Remember, the image that you just added isn’t the one that’s going to be shared. It’s whichever one you have set up to share from your sharing plugin.
That’s it. Three easy, in-your-face ways for your readers to share. It looks great on mobile, too (as long as you have your site set up to be responsive on mobile).
I’ve been messing around in some posts with giving two choices for sharing on Pinterest: one regular Pinterest image, and one skinny/tall image, like near the bottom of this post. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep going with that. It doesn’t look great on mobile and is just extra work for me. I’ll do it for a few months and see if the skinny images are getting shared.
In general I’ve definitely seen more sharing since I started doing this, but it’s hard to tell if it’s because of what I’m doing, or because I wrote some popular posts about hot-button issues that got extra attention.
But I like it, I’ve had a ton of compliments on it, and I don’t think it hurts anything.