I’m in quite a few Facebook groups about blogging, and I find that one question comes up much more than others: “what social sharing buttons is everyone using?” To which everyone responds with their favorite – some that are free, and others that aren’t. Based on the variety of recommendations for social share buttons, I’m happy to bring you my review of the ShareThis social sharing buttons.
Let’s start with the most important “asset” of ShareThis: it’s free. If you’re a beginning blogger on a budget, and have no idea if you’ll be blogging in a year, “free” might be exactly what you’re looking for. I turn 41 in January, and I have to admit, free gets more attractive as you get older! That was definitely in the back of my mind during my review, and I also wondered how the fine people at ShareThis make money. They have other tools and I don’t see that any of them cost a cent. But that’s an aside – onward and upward!
ShareThis Social Sharing Buttons
Unlike other reviews where I gush over (or criticize) the various features of the tool, this will be a little different. Honestly ShareThis is so simple that I’m just going to walk you through the process of setting up your social share buttons and make my points as I go along.
The first thing you’ll do is thing you’ll do is choose your type of buttons, and there are only two. Very simple.
Easy Set Up
Then you’ll select your buttons, and ShareThis gives you a reasonable amount of choices. They are missing Yummly (food) which I use on DIY Candy, but it’s not really that big of a deal given that they have the most popular share buttons.
Here are your customization options. Now, I have to give ShareThis credit because they do offer custom buttons if you want to design yours from scratch. But that’s a rabbit hole for most of us bloggers who aren’t coders, and honestly I’m willing to pay for something that is plug and play. I just don’t have the skill set to do custom buttons, and neither do most of the bloggers I know. So the choices above are what we’re left with.
Plugin + Code = Same?
After you register, you’ll get code to place in your website. I have Genesis on the blog using these buttons, so I used the Visual Hook Guide and the Simple Hooks plugin to place the code. It was at this point that I realized there’s a WordPress plugin, but I installed that and you still have to place code . . . at least that is the impression I gathered when I logged into ShareThis from the plugin and it gave me code installation instructions.
Of course if you don’t have a WordPress site, the code is perfect. Either way, if you don’t have Genesis and you don’t understand the back end of your site, you’ll need to pay someone to install these for you (or beg a programmer friend!). I have to take a few points off in my review since it’s really not friendly for everyone.
Here’s How the Buttons Look
You can see the ShareThis social share buttons on my site above. I have another plugin that delivers a message to return visitors that butts up against the buttons, so if I were to keep them on my site I would have to get a developer to fix it (because it drives me crazy to no end).
An important thing you’ll want to know . . . while the sharing functions properly, the Pinterest image is the featured image and the only text it will deliver is the post title. Womp, womp. While most people use the Pinterest bookmarklet, I like to be able to specifically define the image (and words) that people pin using my social sharing buttons.
One final note is that while ShareThis does offer share counts, you cannot restore them if something changes (if you switch from http to https, etc.). This is a deal breaker for a lot of bloggers.
Do you have ShareThis social share buttons on your site? If so, how do you like them? Let me know in the comments!