SOCIAL FOLLOW BUTTONS are direct links to your social media profiles. They can take many forms, shapes, and sizes. Most common are simple images, depicting the logo of the social media channel and their CTA on mouse hover (follow us on...). Then, there are the extremely know colorful buttons. From here, things tend to get weird. You start to see these features popping up from everywhere, like an unexpected whack-a-mole on every webpage: flying out from left and right, sliding down or up, when you try to focus on a simple title or even more annoying when you start to scroll or interact with elements on a page. Then you notice, that you're waiting to load your page, because of some weird social media channel, you never heard of still loads its embedded integration.
While they are vital to be present, not any feature implementation is ok.
If you consider loading time a decision factor, then use these recommendations to power up your WordPress Speed Up.
- DO NOT:
- - Keep it simple. Use only the most common social media profiles.
- - Don't use a dedicated plugin. Especially, not a dedicated plugin per social media profile.
- - Consider resolution. Analyse your analytics for screen size. No need to use ultra HD follow buttons, if nobody has ultra HD resolution.
- - Don't use the code provided directly from your social media platform. Loading a few bytes from external source is a drag on performance.
- - Avoid big images and shiny buttons. They just add extra weight for a feature rarely used, when you consider speed for that specific page.
- - Avoid duplicating social follow buttons. There is no need to have the same links inside your posts, inside your pages, at the end of a post again, then in the header and another set in the footer.
- - Don't use the social media channels default fonts (and sizes). Adding a font just for a few "follow us ..." words is bad for the loading time. Having several font types and sizes on the same page is ugly and confusing.
- - Don't use codes, that show how much followers you have. While its a nice feature (and useless, since you can buy followers), making a call to each social media platform to count the number of followers to load a webpage it's a bad thing to do.
- What Should You Do?
- - Use favicons instead of pictures - if you already load any favicons.
- - Create your own direct links. Make sure you specify to open the URL in a new tab.
- - Move this outside content area, like into footer. There is no need to load your social profiles on each page, over and over.
- - Consider PLATFORM ONLY approach. No need to display a social follow link (like Instagram), to a native app only social media profile. Use it only on mobile, where the native app can handle the social interactions.
- - If you need to add several social media profiles, then add the most common 3-5 in your footer and the rest of the niche social media channels, where they matter the most - at the end of your creative posts, with an appropriate CTA.
- - Consider GEO-TARGETING. No need to display a social follow link (like WK or OK), to a visitor from the other side of the planet, who do not use or even heard of these. Use geo-targeting features only, if you already use them. Making a decision to display an icon can have adverse load time effects, rather than just displaying it.