Jonathan Saar This is a guest post written by Jonathan Saar. Jonathan is a Socius dude from Canada who still says things like eh and aboot. Jonathan is the VP of Marketing for multifamily educational solutions provider, The Training Factor.

Don't be a plug.

I love WordPress plugins. I love testing them. I love their functionality and I love what they do for my blogs. However, many times when I am visiting a blog site I get a little disappointed. There are no robust share options. I press the Tweet button and I have to manually add the title or who to credit for on the post. Yes, there are constant hiccups that I see on blog sites and even on my own sites that need to be constantly addressed. Let me tell you my story.

The other day my Google+ button disappeared off of my GetSocial sidebar. I gave it a couple of days and then my OCD kicked in and I could not take it anymore. I run two blog sites. Both have the Genesis theme but two different child themes. My one site it was fine but on the other it would not work. In order to try and sort out the problem I had to backtrack a bit. First it took me disabling all of my social plugins to ascertain what the problem was. Maybe there was a conflict … who knows? I re-enabled my GetSocial plugin because it is my favorite. Next step refresh my site and bingo, the +1 button is back. Enable a couple other plugins and boom, no problem. I re-enabled Shareaholic and bang … the +1 button is gone. So there it is — I found the problem. Bye bye, Shareaholic … so sorry.

Some people get a little testy about sharing your own material, but to me it is a must. You as the blog administrator need to know how your site is working! If you are going to spend all that time on awesome content make sure you make it easy for us to share it to the world. Don’t be a plug about your plugins. Test them often. Make sure you either have a mental or physical note on updates you have done or plugins you have added so that if you do have an issue you can trace back your steps and solve the problem.

Another Lesson Learned

The other lesson I learned was analyzing which sharing plugins people actually use as they’re reading the content on my sites. At first I said to myself “Oh no! No more Shareaholic?” But then I dug into how my readers were sharing my content and it was not through that plugin. So why have it? It turns out it was just more clutter at the bottom of the post. My readers seem to engage with my sidebar sharing plugin. Hooray! A little research and now I am empowered to make a decision.

So I hope my message is clear. When it comes to plugins and add-ons for your site — especially sharing ones — do not settle. Test them out from a functionality level and from an aesthetics level. Test them often and make sure they work. A blog takes consistent maintenance. Think of it in the same respect as you clean your desk. If you don’t pay attention pretty soon you have this aura of chaos that inhibits your productivity. The same principle applies to maintenance of your blog site. Keep it clean. Keep it orderly. By doing this you will keep your audience happy and you will receive the greatest return on your content.

If you have any tips on how you keep plugins and other site add-ons in order, please feel free to share them below. I would absolutely love your feedback!

Photo credit: jakematesdesign on Flickr