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On Building the Floating Social Bar Plugin

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If you haven’t heard about it already, I recently built and released (along with Syed from WP Beginner) the Floating Social Bar plugin. It is running on this site.

Syed and I were chatting a couple of weeks ago and he mentioned that he had some code sitting around for the floating share bar that he had on WPBeginner. I told him I could make it into a distributable plugin, and within two days, we had it built and released on the .org repo.

There are two main draws to this plugin that separate it from every other social media plugin out there for WordPress: performance and usability.

On Performance

You may or may not know this already – I am a performance nut. I’m always looking at ways to make things work faster. It’s no surprise, then, that Soliloquy is the fastest WordPress slider on the market. I worked to build the floating social bar plugin with the same idea in mind.

For starters, the plugin uses the Socialite.js script to prevent any of the annoying, bulky social service scripts from loading on page load. Stats are updated in post meta fields and cached to keep queries down. Beyond that, the counts are updated asynchronously via AJAX when the transient has expired, so even when the update scripts are pinging the social services for update counts, it still has zero affect on page load times.

What does this mean for you? This means that your floating share bar is going to load really freaking fast. That is impossible to find anywhere else. Forget Digg Digg – it’s like sticking a giant elephant on your site. And if you use Jetpack for your sharing – well congrats, you’ve got (hyperbole) 5,000 other modules that you just installed with it, too.

In reality, when your page loads, the only part of the floating social bar that is loading is HTML. That’s it. No social service scripts, no update scripts. Nothing that could potentially slow your site down. I’ve been very careful to make sure this is the case because, again, I am a performance nut. You won’t find a social media plugin that is faster or more performant than the floating share bar we released. Period.

On Usability

The floating social bar is also super easy to setup and customize. Just drag and drop the services you want into the enabled area to enable them. Change around the order as you see fit. Then select the post type(s) you want the bar to appear on (posts is selected by default) and have fun. The plugin does the rest for you. It literally takes you less than 30 seconds to get it setup once you have it installed.

Don’t want the bar to float? You can check an option to make it static, and then you can select where you want it to appear (at the top, bottom or both areas of your content).

The settings area is easy to navigate and understand. There’s no wondering what you need to do because I’ve laid out it for you in both design and text. :-)

All in all, I believe that the floating social bar we released is the best social media plugin for WordPress period. There is nothing faster or more usable on the market. It is dramatically faster compared to traditional social media service plugins, and I guarantee you that it will increase your social media shares.

So I dare you to go ahead and download the floating social bar from the .org repo and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

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About Thomas Griffin

I live and breathe WordPress. I create products around WordPress (Soliloquy and OptinMonster), contribute to WordPress core and do lots of fun development around WordPress in general. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

  • samikeijonen

    You make a bold statements. But hey, I believe you:)

    • griffinjt

      Haha thanks! I think the plugin and speed at which it loads speaks for itself, but it doesn’t hurt to make a few “bold” statements, right? ;-)

  • andreasivarsson

    Love the plugin, but how do I add a comment bubble beside the social media buttons?

    • griffinjt

      That is customization done for the WP Beginner site specifically. We will most likely add support for this in the future. ;-)

      • andreasivarsson

        Ok. Can you give me some help how to implement it manually? ;-)

        • griffinjt

          You would need to edit the plugin as of right now to add that. We will be adding API hooks and filters in an upcoming version that will allow you to do this without editing the plugin itself.

          • andreasivarsson

            Great. And are you thinking of implementing some kind of analytics function? Or maybe that will disable the plugin from being lightweight.

          • griffinjt

            There will be some Addons that will be created in the future for the plugin, and Analytics is one of those plugins. :-)

          • http://87studios.net/ Kris

            Any news about API hooks? I need to add ManageWP button but can’t do that as I’m not PHP savvy

  • http://deepexistence.com Stephen Guise

    Hey, I just want to say that I LOVE it so far. I’ve tried more than 50 social plugins over the years and yours is my favorite so far. Simple, fast, always visible, attractive…man, I love it!

    • griffinjt

      Thanks! :-)

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  • Amy Garrett

    I am getting (trying to Pin) “Image cannot be loaded. Make sure the path is correct and image exist.” on all my pages. Pinterest being 90% of the reason I want a good plugin, this isn’t good! Can you help? Example page: http://albertasoapcompany.com/catalog/fragrance-oil-scented-soap/autumn-spice

    • Amy Garrett

      Figured it out – WooCommerce’s “Pretty Photo” lightbox was doing it when the pinit button was clicked. Off to figure out how to fix this. Great plugin otherwise!

  • http://vugujranwala.com/Download/pastPapers/index.php?v=1&csid=CS201 wasifaliwasi

    This is awesome! I like this post . thanks for this post .

  • http://webbhjalp.se/ Webbhjälp

    Great plugin Thomas! I have one question though: is it possible to have a floating bar at the top of the post, and a static one at the bottom?