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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.