I imagine you all have a few social media pages set up by now. If not, get to it. You need at least:
Google+, so Google takes notice of you
Facebook, though it is getting more and more difficult on there since it became a public company and therefore an impersonal business
Pinterest, which is currently the best way to get a good flow of traffic to your blog.
Three Places to Put your Social media Icons
1. In your sidebar
The social media icons that go here are the ones that take people to your social media pages, not the sharing ones.
You already know that your optin form goes at the top of your sidebar, but the social media icons come right underneath. Use a fairly good sized icon so they can be seen. When you first install WordPress and your theme, there is usually already some kind of widget under Appearances that you can drag across into your sidebar. You can read about how to do that in my article, How to Place Widgets in the Sidebar of Your WordPress Blog. Use what is available for now – it is more than adequate. In the future, you might want to use your own specially made social media icons but be careful not to change them too much from the immediately recognizable standard ones, or readers, when they glance around, won’t see them because they are not what is expected. You really can spend your time more wisely than to muck around with something that already works. It’s like people who keep changing their headers and think that will sort the problems of a lack of traffic. It couldn’t be further from the truth. A wonky header is never the reason for a lack of traffic. See below for how to make sure your special icons open in a new window.
2. In your footer
The footer is the great forgotten wilderness that gets ignored and yet, if someone reaches the end of your post, it will be right there in their face. Along with your optin form, place the same social media icons here. To do this, go to Appearances/Widgets and pull the same widget into your footer area.
3. Under your posts
The social media icons that go here are the sharing ones and, for these, you can use a plugin like Jetpack and enable Sharing. Then you can go to your Dashboard menu and find Settings/Sharing. In here, you can drag the icons you want to use down into the Enabled Services area and you will see the Live Preview of what it will look like below that. You can then choose what Button Style you want. I recommend the icon and text. Always choose New Window in Open links in. Choose where you want your icons to show and then click Save.
How to Make Sure Your Special Social Media Icons Open in a New Window
If you use a widget that already exists, it should give you a tick box to make sure they open in a new window. The last thing you want to do is lose your readers from your blog even if it is to your social media pages. Remember what I have said before, you want to keep your readers on your blog or with an easy way to return. Social media is an adjunct to your blog but your blog comes first.
Let me show you the code I used to place my customized Twitter image on my blog, Strands of My Life.
<a title=”Strands of My Life on Twitter” href=”https://twitter.com/suzanneper” target=”_blank”>
<img src=”http://www.strandsofmylife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/butter_twitter.png” alt=”” width=”40″ height=”40″ border=”0″ /></a>
If you analyse this, you will see:
– the link to my Twitter page: https://twitter.com/suzanneper
– the link to the image I created and uploaded to the Media Library: http://www.strandsofmylife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/butter_twitter.png
– the size of the icon: width=”40″ height=”40″ border=”0″
– And you will see this: target=”_blank” That is the part that makes sure it opens in a new window, so add that to your code if your icons are opening in the same window. Add it in exactly the same place as this, after the link to Twitter and before the >.
There you go. Take note of these three places for your social media icons and, if you haven’t already done this, get onto it right now. It will take you all of three minutes.