Six essential WordPress Plugins for your social website

Knowing that I like to work in WordPress, I am often asked what plugins I like to use with the sites I design. Below are 6 essential WordPress Plugins for any website wanting to take advantage of the social web.

  1. Social Media Widget

    Downloaded more than 300,000 times, the Social Media Widget is a simple sidebar widget that allows users to input their social media website profile URLs and other subscription options to show an icon on the sidebar to that social media site and more that open up in a separate browser window.

    Although many of my clients prefer custom designed or themed social media icons, the Social Media Widget is a quick, convenient solution for adding social profile icons and links to your website. Simply install the plugin, open the widget and paste in your social media links.

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  2. Add This
  3. Add this makes social sharing easy and is essential for any marketing manager wanting their website content to be shared. With AddThis, your users can promote your content by sharing to 330 of the most popular social networking and bookmarking sites (like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and MySpace). We also support address bar sharing in modern browsers. Our button is small, unobtrusive, quick to load and recognized all over the web.

    Although there are times when hard-coding add this may be beneficial, for a majority of website owners, the add this plugin is a necessity. Plus, with a free account, you can plug in your publisher id and receive free basic sharing statistics.

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  4. Share This
  5. A competitor of Add This, I actually prefer the share this icons for placement in the footer of posts. Used on over 1,000,000 sites, the ShareThis plugin allows users to share your content through email and 50+ social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit.

    Now with simultaneous sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Email and more: you can broadcast your message more easily and widely than ever before. I often recommend that regular blog users consider use of both add this and share this plugins on their blog to offer an opportunity for readers to share their content at multiple levels.

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  6. Facebook Like Thumbnail
  7. The next two plugins both focus on the technical issues web developers and publishers run into with Facebook Sharing. There is nothing more frustrating than to click the like button on a post only to have a random image or sidebar image show up on the facebook post. These plugins eliminate the problem. I only use these plugins when/if the problem occurs.

    The Facebook Like Thumbnail Plugin will set the thumbnail used by Facebook to featured thumbnail if available, then fallback to first image of the post and then fallback to a default image as a last resort. Also it will use the default image for your front page and for anything else, it will use the first image of the first post of the loop.

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  8. FetenWeb image_src metatag
  9. This plugin helps ensure your content has a relevant thumbnail when shared on social sites.

    Adds an image_src and og:image meta tags to your header using post thumbnnail (you must have post thumbnails / featured image enabled), first image on post/page content, or a defined default image.

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  10. Promotion Slider
  11. Promotion slider is a jQuery slider that makes it easy to insert a simple slideshow, or implement multiple rotating ad zones, on a webpage. Because it is highly-customizable, you are in complete control of what shows on the slider, what shows on your promotion pages and how it all works. A simple options page and straight-forward shortcodes provide great flexibility to the average user, while power users can take advantage of special actions and filters built into the plugin to add their own customizations.

    Promotion slider allows you to highlight specific posts or pages on your website, increasing content consumption and social sharing.

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  12. Google Calendar Events
  13. Google Calendar Events is an essential plugin for publishers with an event calendar on their website. The widget is highly customizable to allow you to take advantage of the functionality of a Google Calendar and the ability to fully theme the calendar.

    This is a WordPress plugin, which parses Google Calendar feeds and displays the events as a calendar grid or list on a page, post or widget. Events from multiple feeds can be displayed on one grid or list. You can specify how many events to retrieve, whether to retrieve past events and how long to cache the feed for, amongst other things. Grids can have AJAX functionality, which allows you to change the month, if required.

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