We all know the importance of getting more people to share your content via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and the others, but I was looking for a way to really give myself an edge in this department so I could get my posts to spread around the web like wildfire, increasing my traffic, and thus, getting my message out to more of the people and making my own blog more profitable in the process.
WordPress has countless plugins which give people the ability to share across the social networks and bookmarking sites, but I didn’t really find any of them which were actually designed to help you get MORE social signals. It’s as if they were designed just so you can feel like you have social sharing buttons on your site and taken care of, but without actually working to get you MORE of them.
As you know, Elegant Themes is a phenomenal site which gives you access to a boatload of Premium themes for one very low monthly price. I found out that ElegantThemes was offering the Monarch plugin with their themes, so I decided I’d give it a try, and I was totally blown away by how simple and powerful it is. Because I was introduced to Monarch (through ElegantThemes) I’m now using it myself right here on this site, and I totally love it, which is why I wanted to share a little bit about it with all of you.
Things I Like About Monarch
So, what are some of the specific reasons why I love this plugin so much? Well, there’s quite a few, actually… it’s a pretty comprehensive plugin which takes care of all your typical social signaling needs, and gives you much more to boot.
First of all, while most social signal plugins only offer you a standard set of colors, (facebook blue, twitter light blue, google plus red, you get the idea) Monarch allows you to fully customize the colors you want to use for the social signals, so that they blend in seamlessly with the rest of your site. Want to make Facebook purple, Google Plus pink, and Twitter bright green? Go for it. This is the first plugin I’ve seen with this level of comprehensive coloring options.
It’s not just the colors you can customize however, there are many different options for the buttons’ design customization as well. Designing the buttons you want to fit in with the look and feel of your website has never been this easy before. Round buttons, square buttons, rectangles, whatever you want, Monarch’s got it.
Also, it solves a major problem which I’ve had with similar plugins, and that is, many of them fail to load fast. I probably don’t need to tell you that slow loading times KILL your website. People will bounce more often, stop browsing your site all together (if it’s too inconvenient), and, as you probably already know, it can hurt your search engine rankings as well (when a Google bot browses your site and has slow load times, Google will put you further down in the search engines, severely hurting your organic traffic).
Monarch however, solves this problem all together by making sure that it always has extremely fast load times. I don’t know how they do it, but this thing loads fast as lightning… it’s really impressive.
So, what else is great about it? You have SEVERAL different options for where you can place your social sharing buttons, and you can place them in as many, or as few places as you want on the site, it’s really up to you. So where exactly can you place them? Well, putting them above and below your site’s content is a great option, so it’s never too far away, and you can even have them placed directly on images (particularly good for sites like Pinterest).
Let’s say however, that you want to place your social buttons inline with the rest of the text. Well, you can do that too, and it’s unbelievably simple. All you have to do is just copy and paste the shortcode which is given to you within the blog post or page, and you’re good to go. It’s super easy.
I also can’t help but like how comprehensive the choices are for social networks. There’s well over thirty networks there to choose from, so you’re not always stuck with the same few over and over. If you have a couple of more minor networks that you want to display, then go for it. You can also dynamically pull up your existing network counts, if you’ve got a lot of pull with one or more of the networks, and want to show off how popular you are then have at it. This is totally optional of course, so if you have no desire to show off your current counts, you don’t need to display that info, and it’ll still work just fine.
I can’t mention everything that makes Monarch great right here, but I will mention real quick that Monarch is completely device responsive. So if your users are on a smartphone, tablet, etc, the social buttons will still display flawlessly. This is super important considering how many people are using smart devices these days instead of PC’s or laptops. Mandatory feature for any social sharing buttons plugin.
So, in conclusion, Monarch is THE plugin for social signals… there’s really none better. Monarch is a Premium plugin of course, but as I mentioned, it comes for free with ElegantTheme’s superb line of products, all of which you get access to for $7.42 per month, or $89 per year. So, really, this is just another huge advantage to having an Elegant Themes subscription, and it reaffirms my decision to have used them in the first place.
I’ve tried countless plugins related to social buttons myself, and this one really just takes the cake as far as functionality, customizability, site load speed, and more. Give Monarch a try, and see how you like it.