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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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!