Monarch is the new social sharing plugin for WordPress from the Elegant Themes team. As there are already so many plugins of this type available for WordPress, you might be wondering why they’ve taken the time to create another one.
In this review we will highlight the features of this plugin and see how easy it is to use in order to help you decide whether this is the best social sharing plugin for WordPress and if you should start using it on your website.
If you want to know how this plugin is different from the other options available today, read on for our full Monarch review.
What Makes Monarch Different?
When comes to social share button plugins, it’s certainly one area where WordPress users are spoilt for choice. However, when recently testing out some of the most popular and lesser known options, I couldn’t help coming away feeling a bit disappointed that none of them quite met my needs.
So while the market is saturated, there is definitely room for improvement and that is the situation Monarch hopes to rectify.
The Features of Monarch
To help Monarch stand out from the competition, this plugin is packed with useful features. Not only do you get a wide range of options for where your social sharing buttons are displayed, but you also get plenty of opportunity to customize them to meet your preferences.
For most people, the highlight of this plugin will be the number of options you have for where your social sharing buttons will be displayed. These button locations include:
- Sidebar (floating alongside your content)
- Inline (insert into place with a shortcode)
- Pop up (with exit intent)
- Media (ideal for sharing images)
- Fly In (slide in from bottom of the screen)
So however you want to display the social sharing buttons on your site, Monarch should be able to match your expectations.
Other important features of Monarch include:
- Triggers for fly ins and pop ups: timed, bottom of content, or page exit
- Selection of button hover animations
- Multiple button shapes
- Unlimited color options
- Custom icon spacing and organization
As you can see this is a feature rich plugin with lots of customization options. However, it’s important for a plugin to be easy to use for it to be worth adding to your site.
Using the Monarch Social Sharing Plugin
Once the plugin is installed on your site it can be accessed from the Tools menu on the admin dashboard sidebar menu.
The plugin has its own custom control panel which isn’t always a good thing when compared to using the native WordPress UI. However in this case it doesn’t look too shabby at all.
Upon loading the Monarch dashboard you will notice just how many settings and features this social sharing plugin has. The first step is to choose which of the five button placements you would like to activate on your site, then it’s time to select which networks to include on your site.
After you’ve selected the social networks and other sharing buttons you want to display on your site, you can configure the icons by choosing an icon style and shape. You also get the option of displaying the share counts, total number of shares, and whether to hide the buttons on mobile devices.
Each location, such as sidebar, inline, popup, etc., can be configured independently in terms of their appearance. This again gives you lots of control over how each set of buttons works on your site.
While you do get a lot of options to help you customize the social share buttons you will be using on your site, you also get the opportunity of adding custom CSS to really give them the personal touch.
Overall, setting up Monarch on your site is very easy and the only real issue is that there are so many options you could spend forever customizing and tweaking them in order to get the perfect look for your site. However, out of the box the plugin and its social sharing buttons should look great on any website.
Another really nice feature of this plugin is that you can import and export the settings so if you are managing multiple sites, you can configure Monarch once and then easily deploy those settings to your other WordPress websites.
Monarch is available to only “Developer” and “Lifetime access” members of the Elegant Themes club, so all you have to do to start using this excellent social sharing plugin on your site is sign up and become a member.
Doing so will also give you access to 87 WordPress themes. The Developer package is available for $89 per year, and the Lifetime package is available as a one time payment of $249.
After testing out this plugin, I’m pleased to say that Monarch is now my favorite social sharing plugin for WordPress. The ease of use and wealth of features, not to mention the customization options, have made it one of the essential WordPress plugins I will be installing on my websites going forward.
If you are not already an Elegant Themes member then this plugin is another great reason to become one.