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’ social 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.
Inline and sticky share buttons each have their unique advantages, but the choice ultimately depends on your publication’s design, audience’s behaviors, and social sharing goals.
That’s why we’re going to help simplify this 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 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 buttons.
If you want to your buttons to show up in the reader’s periphery, however, sticky buttons are the answer. These share buttons will stick to the left or right side of the screen 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’ visual design tool for share buttons, 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 desktop, sticky 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 is yours. You can select one and roll with it. Or you can test each to see which version works best for your website.
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.