Any WordPress blog/site owner have special accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. to promote there sites.
Thus, having capability of easy showing your visitors your site social channels, enabling visitors to connect to their own social channels in one step with data from your site ready to send – it is a drastic enhancement to site usability, which leads finally to enlargement of traffic, quant of daily visitors, your content quotations at the Internet, that again increases traffic, etc., etc.
There are plenty of different plugins with needed social networking functionality: 440 plugins contain word “social” at description, 334 plugins have word “share” at theirs description. How did I get such data? Visit ChoosePlugin.com – WordPress plugins search service with advanced filtering and ordering functionality, and check that yourselves.
Let’s return to plugins related to the social activities. It is important to select right tool for your site social activity. I noted “Social Toolbar” plugin at that tightly populated niche for its modern, not so mass yet, realization. Yes, it offers the set of icons for different social networks similar to others, but it is realized as the dynamic task bar, well known to any PC user. Take a look on screenshot below:
To the left you have icons, presenting your site social channels. To the right – icons with link to share current page with others. If user is not logged in to the selected social service yet, plugin will offer login window, and then redirect user to the new window to finish message sending. Here, to the right, just higher a little, “Social Toolbar” plugin shows the latest message from your Twitter account.
As the real toolbar “Social Toolbar” could be hidden and not take place, if there are no needs in it at the current time. Just press triangle icon at the bottom left corner, which leaves alone their after user clicks on it:
“Social Toolbar” has a lot of different settings to customize its presentation and functionality:
Plugin authors realized the brilliant idea – you can play with large part of settings using live demo at their site. Click on the “Live Demo Settings” control at the left side of the screen and make your own social toolbar.
There is a video about “Social Toolbar” customize possibilities:
But some of settings are not available in a free version, distributed via WordPress plugins repository. Do not try to click on controls marked with red text “Pro version only”. You will got modal dialog with the same text:
and nothing else be happend.
Recent tweet has its own settings at the separate box:
Your site social channels (plugin named them “Social profiles” or “Social accounts” could be configured at this window:
Pay attention, that you can input just your twitter user name, e.g. shinephp for mine http://twitter.com/shinephp Twitter channel. But do not try to make the same with Youtube or others – you should input full URL, like http://youtube.com/shinephp their.
The main problem of free version, for my opinion, if not even take into account the lack of configuration options, comparing to the Pro version, is the very offensive offering of just mentioned Pro version. First that you see when click at one of “Social toolbar” plugin menu items under its own separate “Social Toolbar” submenu is the large banner at the top of the page:
Plugin settings include the whole set, inspite of version you use. Settings, which doesn’t work at free version, just marked with red color note “Pro version only” and don’t work. Well, tell me effectively about differencies between free and Pro version at Pro version page. But why, should I spend my time looking on a huge not working staff (Pro version only) every time I open settings pages of free version?
“Social toolbar” WordPress plugin developers kindly provided me Pro 1.5 version for testing purpose. I setup and tried it on the test site I use for development. Pro version really works . Obviously, it has no so annoying “Why Go Pro” banner with all that red color “Pro version only” notes through the settings pages. It works as declared, and as expected. Well done product for good people. I have some comments according to my small experience with it:
- I have WP_DEBUG=true constant at my testing site. Thus, I got a lot of PHP notices from “Social Toolbar Pro” after saving changes at the options pages. For example:
After saving changes at “General Settings” I got this PHP notice:
“Notice: Undefined index: fan_page in …/wp-content/plugins/wp-social-toolbar-pro/wp-social-toolbar-pro.php on line 125 …
After saving changes at “Recent tweet setting” I got this PHP notice:
“Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in …/wp-content/plugins/wp-social-toolbar-pro/includes/options.php on line 18 …
- Your settings from free version are not imported to the Pro version. Why? I did not delete free version. I just deactivated it.
- 10 social buttons are turned on by default and there is no any control to turn of all of them at once. So I shoul go and click on every service checkbox.
- Free version of plugin may position toolbar at the bottom of the page only. Top position advertised as additional feature for Pro version. But it is not useful at the current realisation, as it doesn’t take into account, that if you logged in to WordPress, then WordPress admin menu is already there, at the top row of the screen. This way all social buttons of “Social Toolbar” are hidden under WordPress admin menu. So I should move social toolbar to the screen bottom again, as I had for free version.
Additionally, I expect more position variants from Pro version, e.g. vertical positioning to the left or right screen edge.
- It is good, that you can simply drag and drop social channels at “Social profiles” settings page. I moved channels I use to the top for my conenience.
It will be better do not see unused channels at all, while you do not directly add them from somewhere else.
That’s not critical for plugin and site functionality in general. I see such messages because of my testing environment setup. But I wait that “Pro” product will be clean (from such behaviour, not bugs – as Web developer I know well how difficult to catch bugs:) ) and will not spam notices to server’s system logs at the high-loaded installations of the real world.
Inspite of some critics, which should be considered as suggestions for future enhancement, “Social Toolbar” is well-done and deserves his place at your blogs, dear readers. If you like modern, dynamic environment at your site – take a look, make tests and install it to your blogs.
Plugin author: DaddyDesign.
The latest free version available: 2.3. Quant of downloads: 54459. Download and start use it.
Tags: wordpress plugin review