WordPress

50 Days to a Better WordPress Blog–Day 3: Sharing is Caring

This post is the third of an ongoing series entitled “50 Days to a Better WordPress Blog”.  Over the next 48 days, Mitch will be providing small snippits of code, plugins, and things you can do to make your blog more attractive, attain new readers, and keep old ones coming back time and time again. You can see the entire series here.

There’s no better feeling than putting the last period (or in my case, an exclamation point!) on your blog post.  Knowing that your content is all ready for the world to see is exciting, and we have a tendency to want to blurt out our blog post on Twitter or Facebook as many times as we can to get people in.  But how much is too much?  Is there a “sweet spot” to sharing our own content to our followers?

And what of our readers?  Suppose they want to share your content with their friends and family (that’s the ultimate goal of any writer, for sure).  How can we make it easy for them to get our message out for us?

We’ll tackle the first problem in a bit, but let’s address the latter – making it easy for readers to share our content.  I typically recommend two sharing options when I set up client blogs – one at the top of the post (Digg Digg) and one at the bottom (SexyBookmarks).

Digg Digg

Digg Digg allows you to have bookmarklets for Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, or any of the other major social services with a single click.  It also shows the numbers of readers who have already done so.  If you’ve been to Mashable recently, you’re very familiar with this plugin (or at least the functionality it’s mimicking – the “rail” on the side that follows you down the page can be achieved with this plugin).

Mashable's version of Digg Digg - the blue bar on the left side

If the “rail” isn’t your style, you can simply embed the bookmarklets before or after the main content – and you can chose either the square or narrow rectangle (compact) options.

SexyBookmarks

SexyBookmarks allows you to drop in some really sexy bookmark-looking share icons (hence the name) at the bottom or top of your posts.  I highly recommend putting them at the bottom to drive your readers to share once they’ve finished reading your post.  All of the major services are there, and a lot of minor ones too.

Sexy Bookmarks hides until you need it

I recommend setting up the “most popular” options as most of the big names are covered, as well as a few interesting ones, namely “PrintFriendly” and “Email/Gmail”.  Just goes to show you that people would still email a post or print it out for later reading as well as sharing it to their social networks.

So, How Much is Too Much?

This debate has been going on since social networks came into the limelight.  People want to share their content, but readers don’t want to be bombarded with links to your site all the time; they want to see that you’re doing other stuff besides blogging (after all, how else would you have stuff to blog about?)

There are a few schools of thought on this, and I encourage you to do your research to see what technique works for you, but I have a lot of luck posting twice a day: Once in the morning (before 11am CST) and once after noon (around 3pm CST).  Those two times seem to bring in the most traffic because the first post hits the people who content surf at work in the morning, while the second post hits people for the “3 o’clock block” and when they get home from work.  I may try posting in the evening to see if I get any more response – if I do, I’ll let you know here, but for now two times a day on the day it’s posted is fairly good.

Also, make sure to balance out content tweets (retweets with links, your own content, etc) with actual conversation – after all, people should know that you don’t sit at home and read links all day – they should see you out doing whatever it is you’re talking about – it makes for a much more real conversation that way).

Now go out there, do something, and talk about it – at the end of the day, isn’t that why we’re blogging in the first place?