Reasons NOT To Use Official Social Media Sharing Buttons And 3rd-Party Plugins On Your Blog
Social media sharing buttons (like the ones for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc) are pretty much a staple or given when it comes to blogs and sites, right? If you have articles, there should be sharing icons somewhere so that your readers and visitors can easily share your posts. Of course, it's not exactly as easy as saying that you want these buttons, not if you're talking about your own website or blog (like Weebly , Wix, Tumblr, Google Blogger, etc).
I wanted social media sharing buttons on my blogs/sites too. I'll focus on Tumblr (microblogging platform and social networking site) in this one since my quest for social icons for my Tumblr blogs was what led me to finding out all this info about these buttons. LOL
Reasons to use third-party plugins
Anyway, at first, I thought about going with the third-party social media sharing buttons plugins. Pros for using this include:
- Easy installation - just sign up or create an account on the 3rd-party site, get their code then add it to your blog
- Choices - these plugins usually offer different designs of social icons so you can just choose whatever you want plus you can decide how many buttons you need like if you only want 3 or 4 or more icons, etc
Reasons NOT to use third-party plugins
There are lots of plugins out there though so it's up to you to decide which one to go with. So, how come I didn't go with any of these plugins? Well, I was reading up on the reviews for many of these plugins to help me decide and what I've discovered wasn't all that good. The cons include:
- Possible breach of privacy for you and your readers - do you know what kind of data these plugins are mining from you and your readers and whoever else clicks on the share buttons on your blog or site?
- Possible redirect to inappropriate ads - if the share buttons are clicked, where will your visitors be taken? Will they be redirected to ads they don't want to see?
Now, of course, not all plugins do that but then how do you find out which ones don't? That would take lots of time plus you might have to do trial and error too. Besides, how do you even know which ones will work for your blog or site? Another thing that made me decide to forget about the third-party plugins was how some of them had such long Terms of Services and Privacy Policies. I always read these stuff before joining sites but wasn't feeling up to it considering the length of these boring documents.
Reasons to use official social media sharing buttons
So that brings me to the official social media sharing buttons. What are these? Where do you find these? You find these buttons by going to the social media platform whose share icon you want to add to your blog. For example, if you want to add a Twitter share button to your site, all you need to do is go to Twitter and get their official sharing button.
Get the codes then add them to your blog and that's that. Pretty simple, right? Plus, you shouldn't have to worry about privacy or security since, if you and your readers have accounts on these platforms, then it's a given that you've agreed to the terms and policies of these sites.
Reasons NOT to use official social media sharing buttons
- Design - your mileage may vary but, in my opinion, these buttons don't look all that nice or appealing
- Plus, each of these platforms have their own buttons that look different from the others so if you add them all to your blog or site, it won't be uniform at all
Alternative to 3rd-party plugins and official social media sharing buttons
Simple, lightweight social media sharing buttons
In short, it's like adding links to your articles (like when you interlink them) only, instead of adding links to text, you add links to images or icons so that, when someone clicks on them, they'll be taken to the site where they can share your post (for example, they can click on a Pinterest share button and the link in that icon will take them straight to Pinterest where they can log in and pin the pics in your article).
Pretty awesome and cool, right? Plus, you can design your own icons or use free ones out there, etc, which means that you can end up with buttons that look uniform and that fit your site.
What about cons? Are there cons? There's 1 that I can think of but I don't consider it as a con. Again, your mileage may vary. What is it then? It's the fact that you don't get counters for these links so you won't be able to easily tell how many people shared your posts. But, if you're new to blogging or your site or blog is new, then it's likely that you won't have thousands of shares anyway so even if you use counters in the share buttons, you'll probably just end up seeing 0 and that's not really nice to look at, is it? LOL.
Anyway, here's an example of how the social media sharing buttons look on one of my Tumblr blogs . Look at the screenshot (by the way, it might not be all that noticeable on that pic but the title or tool tip only shows up when you hover your mouse on the icon so you'll only see the "share this post on Pinterest" and the opacity change when you hover your mouse on the Pinterest button and the same goes with the other social media icons). What do you think?
Oh, and, yes, for the record, the theme I'm using actually already came with social media sharing buttons so what in the world was I doing looking 'round and trying to add these buttons to my blog, you ask? LOL. That's a pretty long story actually. For now, I'll just say that I did keep those built-in buttons but I wanted the share buttons to be more prominent on my blog. I wanted to customize them further, I- eh, I think you get the point.
Image Credit » This is a screenshot of one of the articles that I wrote and posted on 1 of my Tublr blogs and is meant to illustrate this Persona Paper article about social media sharing buttons