I know a lot of bloggers are using AddThis on their WordPress blog and most do not realize that the sharing sidebar service they provide is not optimized for Twitter shares.  I couldn’t find any solid resources online that described things step by step so in today’s toolkit, I wanted to lay it out and make it as easy as possible.

The AddThis sharing sidebar

The AddThis sharing sidebar

On Going Awesome Places, I have the sharing sidebar, amongst a few other tools to make it easy for my readers to share content.  This tool can be implemented as a AddThis Smart Layers WordPress plugin or a simple Javascript code that you drop in (what I currently do).

So what do I mean by unoptimized?

Twitter Shares don’t include your handle

In essence, by default, the AddThis sharing bar does not add your Twitter handle to the end of any share messages.  As a result, you have no idea when someone shares your content on Twitter and others aren’t able to tell the content is immediately from you when it’s tweeted.

Your share links are not shortened

This is maybe more an option than anything but unshortened links are a bit of a pet-peeve of mine.  The easiest thing you can do is sign up for a bit.ly account (do it now if you haven’t yet).  Unfortunately,

Unoptimized tweets from the AddThis sharing sidebar

Unoptimized tweets from the AddThis sharing sidebar

Optimized tweets from the AddThis sharing sidebar

Optimized tweets from the AddThis sharing sidebar

Optimizing your AddThis sharing sidebar

This started off being a pretty complicated problem because the AddThis documentation on how to do this is honestly quite terrible.  As a result, I had to do a lot of research on this, harassing the AddThis team for support and just plain old trial and error.

Here’s an easy break down of what you need to do.

Step 1 Convert to Javascript implementation of AddThis

As much as I liked the easy of implementing Smart Layers via WordPress plugin, it just didn’t have the level of customization that I was looking for and for some reason I could never get their “Custom API Configurations” button to work.

So the first step is to sign up for an AddThis account and enable the sharing sidebar.  Configure it the way you want and the grab the code.  If you have questions about where to drop the code, let me know and I can help you out.


Note that you only need to insert the code once on your WordPress blog.  I originally thought I needed to put the code in for every single AddThis feature I wanted but that wasn’t the case.

Step 2 Add your Bit.ly shortener settings (optional)

If you have your own Bit.ly account, you’ll want to make sure your AddThis account is connected to it.

To access this, go to your AddThis account settings.  From there, go to the Profiles tab and click on your profile.  Scrolling down, you’ll see a spot to put your Bit.ly login and API key.  The Bit.ly details can be grabbed from your account over there under settings and under the Advanced tab.  All screenshots can be found below.

1.  Go to your AddThis profile page in settings

1. Go to your AddThis profile page in settings

2.  Go to Bit.ly and look for your key under Settings -> Advanced

2. Go to Bit.ly and look for your key under Settings -> Advanced

3.  Back in AddThis, scroll down in your profile and enter in the Bit.ly key

3. Back in AddThis, scroll down in your profile and enter in the Bit.ly key

Step 3 Add this piece of code

Below is a snippet of code you want to paste in along side the code in Step 1.   This is the secret code I had to figure out that customized the share messages to include my Twitter handle in share messages and shortened links using my Bit.ly account.

The Code

<script type=”text/javascript”>
var addthis_share = addthis_share || {}
addthis_share = {
passthrough : {
twitter: {
url_transforms : {
shorten: {
twitter: ‘bitly’
shorteners : {
bitly : {}


So I hope this clears this up!

Shoutouts to Mary Chong of Calculated Traveller for pointing this out to me at the beginning which prompted me to look this up!

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About author View all posts Author website

Will Tang

I'm the writer behind Going Awesome Places and through its growth, I've learned a heck of a lot from trial and error. I have a passion for helping others succeed and through TBB my hope is to empower you with what works (and what doesn't) so you know exactly how you can take your blog to the next level.

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