I have been writing articles for my friends at Elegant Themes recently. One of the topics I have been focusing on recently is the importance of integrating social media buttons into your content. I have also spoke about how social media buttons can slow down your website.
Last week, I developed a small WordPress website for a niche that I have been keen on testing. Getting the right social media buttons was something that was high on my list as it will be vital to the success (or lack of success) of the website.
On my search for a suitable social media plugin that adds sharing buttons, I came across Ultimate Social Deux. One of the things that grabbed my attention was that the plugin was designed with speed in mind.
Look & Feel
Each social media button shows the number of shares that an article has for each service.
In addition to horizontal buttons, there is an option to place floating buttons at the left hand side of your page.
I’m currently testing the plugin out on this blog, so you can see the horizontal and floating sharing buttons in this post (though I have a tendency to change things every few months, so if you are reading this at a later date, I may have switched to another plugin)/
The settings area gives you a better understanding of what Ultimate Social Deux can do. There are five settings areas in total.
The basic settings tab allows you to define your Twitter username, default Pinterest image and the text that is used for total number of shares.
Eight social media services are available. The default colour for each service can be adjusted. The standard hover colour can be changed too.
I would probably keep the default colours as they use the same colours associated with each service. However, I can see the benefit of changing the colours to match your theme’s colour scheme. For example, I saw one website who had changed all buttons to black as it matched the rest of their design.
In addition to sharing your pages on social media services, visitors can also email friends about your article. Every aspect of the email can be modified and Captcha can be enabled to reduce spam.
Sharing buttons can be placed in five areas: floating, top of pages, bottom of pages, top of posts and bottom of posts. There is no option to switch the floating share bar to the right hand side of the page, however horizontal buttons can be aligned to the left, centre, or right.
The text that is displayed before horizontal buttons can also be defined and you can manually exclude the buttons from certain posts and pages.
Clicking on a share button will generate a pop up box that allows people to share your content. By using a pop up instead of opening the sharing option in a new browser tab, Ultimate Social Deux ensures that the visitor does not leave the current browser tab.
The width of height of each pop up can be defined through the advanced settings area.
Buttons can be inserted directly into your posts or pages. Alternatively, you can use shortcodes to add share buttons. There is a shortcode available that allows you to display the total number of shares for a page.
Unfortunately, there is no option to display the total number of shares automatically, nor is there a PHP function available for it. Therefore, you cannot hard-code the total number of shares into your website design, you can only show this information by using a shortcode.
It does not offer multiple icon options and styles. It does not allow you to hard code buttons into your website design. It does not include any widgets either.
None of this personally bothered me as I am happy with the default style and happy with the way buttons are automatically inserted into pages. Both types of sharing buttons also look fantastic on tablets and mobile phones too.
The one thing I would like is an integrated CSS box. Currently, the horizontal buttons are placed right next to the content area. A margin added to the buttons. This can obviously be done by editing the plugin directly, however that is not ideal as the code would get overwritten.
Hopefully, the spacing problem will be corrected in the next update of the plugin. After activating the plugin, I validated my website and noticed that the plugin generates one error. It is just a basic error that is caused by an element link not being included. This should hopefully be upgraded soon too.