Creating more opportunities to engage your readers and promote your content is an ongoing challenge for online publishers. There’s enormous pressure to continually grow your brand and outperform competitors.
One solution is to add a branded sharebox to your posts. This handy feature will enable readers to share shortened links to your content on their social media accounts, simultaneously increasing your engagement rate, visibility, and brand recognition.
In this post, we’ll explain in more detail what shareboxes are and why they’re useful. Then we’ll show you how to add one to your site using Shorten.REST’s new Branded Sharebox plugin. Let’s go!
Understanding Shareboxes and Why They’re Valuable to Content Publishers
A sharebox is simply a social sharing feature that includes a shortened, branded link to the associated post. A popular example is the one that appears if you click on the Share button below a YouTube video:
They combine several elements that are commonly used to boost user engagement and brand visibility, including:
- Shortened, branded links. Also sometimes called ‘vanity URLs’, these links highlight your brand name and redirect to your website. An example is youtu.be in the image above. Shortened links are useful for social media sharing because they take up less space.
- Social sharing buttons. Enabling readers to easily post your content to social media is an opportunity for free marketing. Buttons minimize the work required by users, increasing the likelihood they’ll share your content.
- Social share counts. These are simply the number of times your post has been shared on each available social media platform. High share counts are excellent social proof for your brand.
Adding branded shareboxes to your WordPress posts should enable you to drive more traffic to your site via social media with minimal effort on your part.
How to Add a Branded Sharebox to Your WordPress Posts (In 3 Steps)
Shorten.REST is a URL shortener API that recently released a corresponding WordPress plugin. You can use them to create your own short links and promote them with branded shareboxes.
Below, we’ve outlined the steps needed to get started with the Branded Sharebox plugin. For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume you’ve already installed and activated it on your WordPress site.
Step 1: Sign Up for a Shorten.REST Account
In order to use the Branded Sharebox plugin, you need a Shorten.REST account. To sign up, go to shorten.rest and click on the Sign Up Now button. Then fill in the required information:
You can start with a seven-day free trial. After that, you’ll have the choice of three pricing options. The Indie plan is free to use for up to 50 API calls per month, then $0.02 per call after you’ve reached your quota.
Once you’ve created your account, you’ll be directed to your new Shorten.REST dashboard:
It contains everything you need to set up Branded Sharebox and manage your URLs going forward.
Before you move on to configuring the plugin, there are a few other things to take care of here. First, make sure to verify your email address and phone number. This is required if you want to use the default short.fyi domain provided by Shorten.REST.
If you want to use a custom branded domain, you’ll need to add it to your Shorten.REST account. You can do so in the Settings area of your dashboard:
This is the ideal route to take to maximize your brand recognition.
Step 2: Configure the Branded Sharebox Plugin
Next, retrieve your API key from the Settings tab of your Shorten.REST dashboard:
Head over to your WordPress site and click on Branded Sharebox in your admin sidebar. Then, enter the API in the relevant field. You’ll also need to enter the domain you wish to use for your branded URLs (either short.fyi or the custom domain you added to your Shorten.REST account):
Next, go through the remaining settings on this screen to configure the appearance and location of your shareboxes. There are many options to consider here, but some key ones include:
- Selecting the Posts checkbox under Show on to automatically add your sharing buttons and branded URL to all your new posts.
- Enabling the Share URL Box option to display your branded URL to users.
Save your changes. Then, navigate to Branded Sharebox > Social Networks:
Select the platforms you want to include sharing buttons for, and save your changes here as well.
Step 3: Generate URLs for Your Existing Content
At this point, depending on how you’ve configured your settings, branded shareboxes should appear on new content published on your site going forward:
However, in order to display them on existing content you’ve already published, you’ll need to generate short URLs for those posts and/or pages. To do so, navigate to Branded Sharebox > Manage URLs:
Here, click on Generate X URLs for the post type(s) you want to display your shareboxes on. The table will read Done when all posts of that type have their own short URLs.
Step 4: Use the [branded_sharebox] Shortcode to Display Shareboxes Anywhere
Finally, you can also use the [branded_sharebox] shortcode to display your branded sharebox. This is an ideal solution if you only want to include this feature for some posts and pages, or if you want to display it via a widget:
In the Block Editor, simply select the Shortcode block and type in [branded_sharebox]:
To add your sharebox to your sidebar or footer, you can use the default WordPress Text widget:
You should now be able to incorporate branded shareboxes wherever you want on your site. To monitor clicks and other metrics, you can visit your Shorten.REST dashboard.
Branded shareboxes are a smart way to increase reader engagement and improve your brand’s visibility on social media. As a content publisher, these are key tasks if you want to continue to grow your platform.
In this post, we introduced you to Shorten.REST’s Branded Sharebox plugin and walked you through how to use it:
- Sign up for a Shorten.REST account.
- Configure the Branded Sharebox plugin.
- Generate URLs for your existing content.
- Use the [branded_sharebox] shortcode to display shareboxes anywhere.
Do you have any questions about shareboxes? Let us know in the comments section below!