Should your publication use inline or sticky share buttons?

You probably know about inline skating and sticky toffee pudding. But do you know how to make the important choice between inline share buttons and sticky share buttons for your website?

With ShareThis’ free share buttons, for instance, you can customize and install your buttons with just a few clicks—making sharing incredibly easy for your readers. And that starts by deciding between these two key formats.

Advantages of inline share buttons vs. sticky share buttons

Inline buttons and sticky side buttons each have their advantages, but the choice ultimately depends on your publication’s design, audience’s behaviors, and social sharing goals.

In addition to offering free social media widget for your website, we’re going to help simplify the process for you. To make the best selection for your publication, just ask yourself these three questions.

1. Where do you want to draw the reader’s eye?

When readers first click on your articles, where do you want your share buttons to appear? If you want them to show up below the headline, then inline share buttons are your solution. These buttons remain at a specific location on your site, such as under the headline or in the middle of your piece. According to our research, 70% of publishers prefer to use inline share buttons.

If you want your buttons to show up in the reader’s periphery so they can easily share your publications, then sticky share buttons are the answer. Like floating share buttons, our sticky side buttons will stick to the left or right side of the screen like on desktop computers.

For example, if you host advertisements or recommended content on the right side of your website, consider populating the left side with your sticky share buttons. In fact, 85% of publishers go with this left-hand option.

2. Do you want people to see share buttons as they read?

Since sticky buttons remain on the side of the screen, they’re easily accessible as readers scroll through your content. At any time, a reader can stop, click, and share—and then get back to the article.

Inline buttons, on the other hand, can pop up in just the right place. You might position them just after a shareable quote or statistic, for example, or paired with a reminder to share at the end of your article. With ShareThis’ free social media sharing tools, you can even customize your buttons with calls to action, such as “Share,” “Tweet,” “Pin,” and “Email.” Just choose the option under “Button Labels,” and you’re ready to go.

You can also show the total share count, which helps encourage readers to join in and share with their own communities.

3. How do you want readers to share on mobile?

Mobile outreach should be a cornerstone of your social strategy. In fact, last year, over 70% of social referrals in the ShareThis network came from mobile devices. That’s why our share buttons are mobile-optimized to help publishers drive traffic from smartphones and tablets. They’re also light on code and easy to install, so they won’t slow down your loading times.

While inline buttons behave the same on mobile as they do on the desktop, sticky side buttons don’t. These share buttons will remain at the bottom of the screen, instead of on the left or right side. Meaning, with just a tap of the thumb, readers can easily share your content.

To illustrate, here’s a side-by-side view of sticky buttons and inline buttons on mobile.

Ultimately, the choice between these two formats of ShareThis plugin is yours. You can select one and roll with it. Or you can test each to see which version works best for your website and blog.

You can even use both formats at the same time.  This way, the ability to share is never out of reach for your readers. They’ll see your share buttons on the side of your site and at designated spots within your content. You can also disable sticky share buttons on mobile, so they don’t clash with your inline buttons on the small screen.

Whichever format you choose, the important thing is that you use these tools to drive engagement, increase mobile traffic, and empower readers to share their favorite content on social media.

Are you strategically placing your share buttons?

While our share buttons make it easy to add share buttons anywhere, you’ll get the most shares and organic traffic when you put some thinking and strategy behind how you use them. Read this post to learn more!

About ShareThis

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.

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