Writing a blog is a great way to provide your visitors with up to date information and to interact with them via comments or sharing your content on social networks. One of the difficult things with sharing your content is remembering to let your users know you have a new post. I’m going to help with three simple ways to quickly get your posts shared to facebook, twitter and google+ just by clicking publish in WordPress. Then we will look at a slightly more complicated method of sharing your content, which is more developer focused and is a basic outline of how to go about something custom.
Simple Ways To Share Your WordPress Posts To Facebook, Twitter & Google+
The following methods rely on third party services and plugins to quickly get done what we want to achieve. One of the methods is probably the best way to share content from twitter to facebook anyway.
Sharing Content To Twitter
The easiest way I have found to share content to twitter is to use a plugin called WP to Twitter, this plugin has worked for a long time, I don’t remember a time it has let me down sharing my WordPress posts to twitter. The plugin can be found here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-to-twitter/ on the WordPress plugin directory. There is a premium version of the plugin if you wish to get a few more features and help the devs out who make the plugin. I don’t personally use the premium version, but I am not too worried about how the content is shared on Twitter, I just like to make sure it is out there.
Sharing Content to Facebook
The easiest way to share your content from WordPress to Facebook is actually via Twitter, inside twitter you can link your Facebook account and then automatically post your tweets to a Facebook page. This is my preferred way to share my posts to Facebook as it’s never failed, there is a drawback though, if you create more than one twitter account and create more than one Facebook page, you can’t link your Facebook account to more than one Twitter account. This can be a little annoying as Facebook encourages you to use your personal account and create Facebook pages but Twitter does not have any option like that.
A second way to share your content to Facebook is to use another plugin which is just called “Facebook” which can be found here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/facebook/, it’s incredibly long winded to get setup, which is way i’m not going to go into the details of setting it up in this post, but it does give you the option of social publishing, once this is setup you can select to post your content from WordPress straight to Facebook.
Sharing Content to Google+
This is one of the hardest social networks to get your content on, as far as I am aware it’s still locked down and your not able to get API access unless you are a third party offering a specific social sharing service. You have to submit an application for API access which is located here: https://developers.google.com/+/api/pages-signup. As we are very unlikely to get API access we have to rely on third party tools.
As we have to rely on third party tools there won’t be any advanced ways to share to google+ unless you fancy applying for API access, then good luck to you. The only half reliable way I have found to share your content (which is free) is using HootSuite. HootSuite I assume has API access, signup and login for your free account and then following the instructions below.
- The first step is to “Add Social Network”, click that button at the top.
- Select Google+ and then click Connect with Google+.
- Once you have connected your Google+ account to Hootsuite you can continue to the next step.
- On the left hand menu is a Publisher link.
- Click the publisher link and then go to RSS Feeds on the left.
- Then click the plus button on the top left of the window “Add New Feed”.
- Type in your feed url, select your google+ page and then click save. You can change any of the settings if you wish but they are generally alright.
Once you have setup your RSS Feed with google+ then every so often HootSuite will check the feed and then post it to google+, this is not instant but it will get your content on Google+ and relatively pain free. I did have an issue where HootSuite tried to check my RSS Feed and it must of been down, after 5 attempts they turned off my sharing so I had to re-enable it, so it’s worth keeping an eye on it.
Advanced Ways Of Sharing Your WordPress Posts
I’m not going to go over writing a full plugin for sharing content but I am going to go through the basic principles of sharing your content to the web and how a couple of the services and plugins we have used work. If you are after a full plugin, then just use one previously mentioned.
The Principle of Sharing Content
The basic idea of sharing content is to hook into the WordPress action save_post, which fires after a post is updated or created. This action is perfect for sharing your content as it will only fire exactly when you need it to.
The next step is to make sure that you have a small piece of metadata attached to the post that tells you if this post has already been synched or not. This will stop duplicate posts being sent to your Social Networks. It’s generally a good idea to make sure you have an option to force a post to a social network if it didn’t work or you want to share a post again.
After you have hooked into the action you will need to make a connection with the social network, generally using CURL to authorise the request and recieve a token. Once you have the token then you send this back with your request to gain access, which allows you to post data to the relevant social networking.
Find the links below on where you can get API access and some further reading to get you started with your own plugin.
I hope this helps with getting you started sharing your content across the web, if you have any other Social Networks you would like me to look into to see if we can share content then let me know and I’ll take a look into it and update this post as I go along.