5 Social Toolbars to Help Increase User Engagement on Your Blog

By Charnita Fance | Social Media

Jun 11

I’ve sure you’ve come across social toolbars before: you visit a blog and see a bar at the bottom of the page with social sharing buttons, a search bar or maybe a even a chat feature. While some blog owners prefer to add social sharing buttons to their blog template (above, below or on the side of the content), others prefer using social toolbars.

Toolbars with integrated social features, like sharing and chatting, can really help you to get your readers involved. Social toolbars are also a a great way to help increase your reach and the visibility of your content on the web. Let’s take a look at 5 social toolbars that you can easily integrate with your blog to increase user engagement.

TurnSocial

While TurnSocial is built more for local business websites, they do offer a WordPress plugin that lets you easily add it to your blog.  Your readers will be able to:

  • Share via AddThis
  • Subscribe to your RSS feed
  • View and “like” you Facebook fan page
  • View your latest tweets and follow you on Twitter
  • View your YouTube channel
  • View your Flickr photostream

And much more…

A free social toolbar for local business websites and blogs.

Sharebar

Sharebar is a social toolbar created by AddThis. Even though they’ve recently stopped active development on it, it’s still available for use and works quite well. The toolbar is smart enough to remember which services you’ve recently used on the toolbar or with another AddThis product and then display those first on the actual toolbar. You can also customize the toolbar to display just the services that you want you readers to be able to share your content on. There are many other configuration options that you can view in the configuration section.

The Sharebar keeps your users' favorite services front and center to help increase sharing.

Wibiya

This is probably the most popular social toolbar that you’ve seen. It lets you integrate Facebook and Twitter applications so that your readers can interact on your Facebook fan page or Twitter right from your blog. The toolbar can be customized with other apps and features like:

  • A search bar (for your blog)
  • Recent posts view
  • whos.amung.us integration
  • Instant page translation
  • Social sharing via AddThis
  • Live chat rooms
  • RSS feed integration
  • Live notifications

And much more…

Boost your blog/website with rich and interactive features.

Meebo Bar

The Meebo Bar is more than just a social toolbar, it adds drag-and-drop sharing capabilities to all of the images on your blog. This means that users can simply click on an image and then drag it to the left to bring up sharing options. It also includes sharing buttons and IM capabilities built right into the toolbar. Clicking on “Connect via Meebo” will let you sign into Meebo chat, Facebook chat, AIM, Windows Live and/or Google Talk. Lastly, with the integration of ads right into your toolbar you can also earn a little income.

The Meebo Bar - Easy discovery and sharing for the web.

WP Social Toolbar

Finally we have WP Social Toolbar, a colorful WordPress plugin that lets you “showcase all of your social networks in one easy toolbar that is both eye-catching and functional.” This toolbar is more for displaying your social networking profiles and letting your readers connect with you, but it also has a few social sharing features; readers can like and tweet about your blog or content. It can also display your latest tweet in a status bar right above the toolbar.

A highly customizable plugin created to showcase all of your social networks in one toolbar.

Which method do you prefer, buttons within your template or social toolbars? Which toolbar do you like best?

Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

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About the Author

Charnita is a full-time freelance writer and blogger with 3+ years of experience, and also the owner of SocialWebTools.info. She's also an early adopter who loves trying out new social media tools along with Web and iOS (iPad) apps. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Kevin Kimes June 12, 2011

Do readers actually like those bars? I haven't previously seen most of the ones you mentioned, but the ones I have seen visibly slow down my computer. My computer is not slow, either – in my former career I was an IT pro.

I haven't seen any which are smooth and efficient until some of these. In fact, all except Wibya appear to be smooth on their own demo pages.

What works for me, though, isn't likely to be the same for a typical reader. I'm ultra picky about some things average people don't even notice.

Best way to see which concept (bar or buttons) encourages more interaction is to split test :)
My recent post The Buzz About Blog Comments

Kevin Kimes June 12, 2011

Do readers actually like those bars? I haven't previously seen most of the ones you mentioned, but the ones I have seen visibly slow down my computer. My computer is not slow, either – in my former career I was an IT pro.

I haven't seen any which are smooth and efficient until some of these. In fact, all except Wibya appear to be smooth on their own demo pages.

What works for me, though, isn't likely to be the same for a typical reader. I'm ultra picky about some things average people don't even notice.

Best way to see which concept (bar or buttons) encourages more interaction is to split test :)
My recent post The Buzz About Blog Comments

Kevin Kimes June 12, 2011

Do readers actually like those bars? I haven't previously seen most of the ones you mentioned, but the ones I have seen visibly slow down my computer. My computer is not slow, either – in my former career I was an IT pro.

I haven't seen any which are smooth and efficient until some of these. In fact, all except Wibya appear to be smooth on their own demo pages.

What works for me, though, isn't likely to be the same for a typical reader. I'm ultra picky about some things average people don't even notice.

Best way to see which concept (bar or buttons) encourages more interaction is to split test :)
My recent post The Buzz About Blog Comments

Kevin Kimes June 12, 2011

Do readers actually like those bars? I haven't previously seen most of the ones you mentioned, but the ones I have seen visibly slow down my computer. My computer is not slow, either – in my former career I was an IT pro.

I haven't seen any which are smooth and efficient until some of these. In fact, all except Wibya appear to be smooth on their own demo pages.

What works for me, though, isn't likely to be the same for a typical reader. I'm ultra picky about some things average people don't even notice.

Best way to see which concept (bar or buttons) encourages more interaction is to split test :)
My recent post The Buzz About Blog Comments

Kevin Kimes June 12, 2011

Do readers actually like those bars? I haven't previously seen most of the ones you mentioned, but the ones I have seen visibly slow down my computer. My computer is not slow, either – in my former career I was an IT pro.

I haven't seen any which are smooth and efficient until some of these. In fact, all except Wibya appear to be smooth on their own demo pages.

What works for me, though, isn't likely to be the same for a typical reader. I'm ultra picky about some things average people don't even notice.

Best way to see which concept (bar or buttons) encourages more interaction is to split test :)
My recent post The Buzz About Blog Comments

Kevin Kimes June 12, 2011

Do readers actually like those bars? I haven't previously seen most of the ones you mentioned, but the ones I have seen visibly slow down my computer. My computer is not slow, either – in my former career I was an IT pro.

I haven't seen any which are smooth and efficient until some of these. In fact, all except Wibya appear to be smooth on their own demo pages.

What works for me, though, isn't likely to be the same for a typical reader. I'm ultra picky about some things average people don't even notice.

Best way to see which concept (bar or buttons) encourages more interaction is to split test :)
My recent post The Buzz About Blog Comments

Roz Bennetts June 12, 2011

The WP Social toolbar looks like it might be an attractive way of showing off your social networks on your blog – and I have quite a few. Once again though I note that this is a WordPress plugin. Does no-one make sexy Blogger plugins these days? That was a rhetorical question – my next blog is going to be a WordPress one.
My recent post Roz-Bennetts- @cwindley Nice to hook up again Chris- thanks for the comment on my blog Having a look around yours and Nics for inspiration -P

Bob Delay June 13, 2011

I love the WP Social Toolbar, thanks for sharing!

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John June 15, 2011

It is important not to rush promoting your blog. Just write a good content. Really good content.
My recent post Website launched!

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