SOCIAL SHARE BUTTONS are direct links to promote your content on the visitor's own social media profile. They can take many forms, shapes, and sizes. Most common are simple images, depicting the logo of the social media channel and the brag counter (how many already shared it). Then, there are the extremely know colorful buttons, with animated counters. From here, things tend to get weird. You start to see these features popping or flying or sliding from everywhere. Then you notice, that you cannot continue reading because your focus is ransomed to share it.
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 channels.
- - Don't use a dedicated plugin. Especially, not a dedicated plugin per social media profile.
- - Don't use the embed share code provided directly from your social media platform. Loading a few bytes from external source is a drag on performance.
- - Avoid duplicating social share buttons. There is no need to have the same links inside your posts beginning, middle and end ... then another set in the footer.
- - Avoid big images and shiny buttons and animated counters. They just add extra load time (increasing exponentially). If your content did not convince your reader to share, then your social share buttons won't either!
- - Don't use the social media channels default fonts (and sizes). Adding a font just for a few "share this on ..." 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 count how many shares you already have. While its a nice feature (and has the opposite effect on less viral content), making a call to each social media platform to count the real-time number of shares on each load a webpage it's a bad thing to do from WordPress performance perspective.
- 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 shares on each page, over and over.
- - Consider PLATFORM ONLY approach. No need to display a social share link (like Instagram), to a native app only social media profile. Use it only on mobile, where the native app can handle the share interactions.
- - If you need to add several social media shares, then add the most common 3-5 in your footer and the rest of the niche social media shares, 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 share 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.