It is vital – VITAL – to make sure you make it easy for readers to SHARE your recipes! It astonishes me how often I come across blogs where I really have to struggle to find the Pinterest button so I can share a recipe. Sharing is key to increasing traffic. I can’t stress that enough!
Here are things to consider when adding Share buttons to your site.
1. Which Plug In? (WordPress)
I use Simple Share Buttons (free). I tried many and it is by far the best – it is lightweight, friendly with other plug ins, has a choice of designs and it does exactly what it says it does. Plus, the developer is really great – helpful AND he even added Yummly when I contacted him to let him know that it was a popular recipe sharing platform. For free!
It has buttons for all the major social media platforms – including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Yummly, Google+ – as well as Printing and Email.
I find the free Simple Share Buttons is enough for me but if you want added features, including tracking information and a host of other cool features, you can upgrade to the Plus version for a mere $10.
** Update: I have since upgraded to the Plus version. I am in discussions with the developer so I can write up an easy step-by-step for how to install and set up Simple Share Buttons Plus, and also why it’s worth investing in the Plus version! **
SumoMe is a plug in I tried (amongst many others) which I know is fairly popular. But I found it really slowed down my site because it links through to their server. So I ditched it after a day.
2. Where to put the buttons?
I tossed up whether to put them at the top or bottom. Then I realised – why choose? Use BOTH. Some people want to quickly save a recipe when they don’t have time to read it, so the buttons at the top are handy. Others will get to the bottom of the post before deciding to share or save it – in which case, the buttons should be at the bottom.
The other alternative is to have “floating” share buttons on the side of the screen. These are fixed so the buttons are convenient to find wherever the reader is in a post.
The only reason why I don’t have this (yet) is because the buttons overlapped the content when viewed on mobile devices. So be sure to check this if you choose to use floating icons.
3. “Hover” Pin It buttons on Images
Many blogs include “Pin It” buttons on images which appear when the users cursor hovers over an image. I don’t have this. I used to have it but I removed it. It is very much a personal preference. Because though I know I am forgoing another opportunity to make it easy for readers to share a recipe while reading a post, I found it distracting to have buttons flickering and appearing every time my cursor passed over an image.
Even worse (again, in my very personal opinion so please don’t take offence if you disagree) is when a grey transparent overlay appears over the image when the Pin It button appears. I find that so distracting. When I read a post, I want it to be a clean, enjoyable experience.
Again – I just want to reiterate that this is a personal preference and I totally respect that others will prefer to make it easy for readers to share images!
4. Provide a default description for Pinterest
I strongly believe that this is a key tip.
When readers Pin your recipes and the pop up box appears, it really helps to have a default description already filled in so the reader doesn’t need to type anything in themselves. Plus, it’s an opportunity to “sell” your recipe!
In all honesty, ask yourself this – when you have pinned a recipe, how many times have you gone to the trouble of typing in a description?
So make it easy for your readers by doing it for them. Once you get into the habit of doing it, it will become second nature to you.
This is how to do it: For every image you upload, there is a box called “Alternate Text” (see screenshot below). Whatever you put in there appears as the pre filled text for pins. People can overwrite it, but from my experience, most people do not bother.
1. Include the recipe name in the Alternative Text. Pinterest search is not great and doesn’t always pick up the Recipe Name (in bold) so it helps to include it in the description field as well (i.e. for your recipe to come up when people search for relevant words in Pinterest);
2. Don’t make the text too long, otherwise it gets cut off;
3. Some people include hash tags. I used to but gave it up because the Alternate Text also appears in things like google searches and thought it looked odd. BUT that is a personal preference and hash tags certainly help with Pinterest searches;
4. SELL YOUR RECIPE! What’s your angle? Why do you love it so much? Why should someone click on your recipe over someone else’s? Use this opportunity to make your recipes STAND OUT from the crowd!
What have I missed?
What are your favourite sharing plug ins? And why?