With every hit of the “publish” button, you cross your fingers and anxiously hope that readers will share your post. Sometimes they do . . . but sometimes they don’t.
Every blogger and internet entrepreneur knows how difficult it is to get fans and followers, especially for new websites with a low-budget.
If you want to make your WordPress site a success, you need traffic, social shares, and quality backlinks.
According to recent surveys, social shares play a huge role in getting your website ranked in search engines.
Google’s search algorithm takes over 200 factors into consideration when determining which results to show for a search query and in what order.
Social media is one of the most important factors in their algorithm and has a significant influence on how a site ranks in a search.
Results in the organic search results top positions have a high number of likes, shares, +1’s and tweets. The better your social media performance, the better your SEO results.
What if there was an easy way to increase your number of shares every time you publish new content?
Many WordPress website owners have reached for WordPress social locker plugin to get more exposure to their content.
The idea of locking content is nothing new. Social content locking plugins can significantly increase social traffic and website ranking. Instead of letting readers freely access your content, social locker plugin will lock your content.
Visitor will then need to “pay in social media cash”. If they want to read your article, they will need to share it on social networks before they’re permitted to view it. It’s a win-win situation.
You get social shares, and they get to read valuable content at no real charge. But you need to have special content to pull this off.
What Is Content Locking?
Content locking involves denying access to a particular piece of content until a visitor completes a required action.
Most often, this action involves completing sponsored offer or sharing content on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google… Once a visitor completes the required action, the content “unlocks” and becomes available.
The content that you lock via content locking can be anything digital like songs, blog posts, articles, apps, videos, images, templates, snippets of code, webinars, eBooks…
The content that you want to lock has to be of a value for your visitors, and not simply an “appetizer.”
If you are requiring your visitors to complete an offer to access content, that content needs to be exclusive to your site or industry, or hold some level of perceived value to visitors.
While it is possible to get likes and shares through conventional methods, it is difficult because:
- Users are not motivated to like or share your content.
- People ignore social buttons reflexively much like ads.
- Even when people like your content, they may forget to “like” or “share” your content.
Won’t My Readers Get Angry If I Use Social Locker Plugin?
It is a justified concern. Will you turn your loyal readers off, in exchange for some social shares and traffic?
Yes, but only if you use it in a wrong way. The difference between implementing a WordPress social locker plugin in a way that angers people vs a way that doesn’t present a big deal depends on visitors expectation.
Don’t deprive people of something they were expecting to get.
If you take a random blog post on your site and lock away part of that post, demanding social shares in return for the content, your readers will probably be angry about that.
Why? Because the title of your post contains a promise. Let’s take this post title as example: “Top 3 WordPress Social Locker Plugins Comparison”.
If people start reading this post and at the end see that the comparison table of the content is locked, I’ve broken promise to my readers. I ma holding something back that they were expecting to get.
Now imagine alternative. At the end of “Top 3 WordPress Social Locker Plugins Comparison” post, visitors find a locker that says “Did you like comparison? Take 2 seconds to give a share and I’ll reveal you more ways to lock content!”
Now, the reaction will be different. You delivered your promise. Nobody was expecting more and the incentive is just a small nudge to get visitors to share a piece of content they already like, anyway.
Top WordPress Social Locker Plugin
I will now present three share to get WordPress plugins, with short overview, which have most options and features. They will be listed in order where first represents best (by my opinion).
At the end you will find comparison table.
Social Locker for WordPress
Social Locker is a WordPress plugin that locks your most valuable site content behind a set of social buttons until visitor likes, shares, +1s or tweets your page.
All you need to do is select the part of your content you want to lock.
The plugin provides social buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, YouTube (Pinterest, Instagram coming soon). You can use them together or separately for customized results.
Each button has individual settings.
You can blur, make transparent or totally hide your Content.
The Social Locker plugin comes with built-in analytics tools in order to track how users interact with the lockers. See which lockers on which pages are performing better than others and optimize lockers to improve results.
Social Locker plugin supports integration with the Google Analytics. You can view the Social Locker data directly in your Google Analytics account.
Social Locker for WordPress Features:
- SEO friendly: Locked content is visible for search bots by default. You can turn off this feature.
- 4 Types of Locks: Lock any content manually via shortcodes or setup batch lock.
- Optimized For Mobile: Mobile users can obtain access to your locked content as well as desktop users.
- Smart Targeting: Set lockers to display on specific high traffic pages on website or show the locker only for non-registered visitors.
- Professional Themes: Pick one of 5 themes and customize.
- Delayed Content: Load your locked content via ajax (dynamically) only when the user liked or shared your page.
- Fast Loading: The plugin is well optimized and doesn’t add extra loads on your website.
Social Locker is a simple tool that will add viral traffic to any website, any opt-in funnels or any sales-page.
You can lock anything in your content and automatically unlock it after a visitor has shared page.
Social Locker WordPress plugin costs $24 on CodeCanyon and has sold in more than 5,000 copies. Average rating is 4.7 and plugin is regularly updated by developer.
WP Sharely is a social content locking plugin for WordPress that allows you to add an ethical bribe on any of your blog posts or pages. It works by hiding content and requiring you to share the page in order to gain access to the bonus content.
The plugin provides social buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google. WP Sharely comes with analytics tool so you are be able to track which pages are performing best.
Plugin will work on handheld devices too and comes with 4 premade themes.
WP Sharely Features:
- Themes: 4 different themes for your content locker
- Analytics: Detailed usage and statistics
- Close: Ability to add a close icon
- Shortcode: You can wrap the content locker around any content that you can add to a post or a page
- Targeting: Option to hide for registered members
- Delay: Option to add a timer interval
- Shorter URLs: Option to change the URL that the content locker shares
- Hide Content Fully: Option to hide the locked content in the source code
WP Sharely is priced at $60 for a single site license. But when you share the page, price comes down to $37.
The best value is the professional license which comes down from $240 to $97 after you share the page and you can use it on all of your websites and clients’ websites as well.
When trying to tweet in order to reduce price, on plugins sales page, nothing happened.
Price didnt reduce but counter number of tweets did increase. This raises a question if plugin is still regularly updated and supported.
WP Sharely is also very similar to Social Locker plugin. Plugin dashboard looks identical to Social Locker.
By checking little deeper I found answer from OnePress (author of Social Locker) when one buyer asked him: “How does Social Locker plugin compare to WP Sharely?”
“The Social Locker is an original plugin.
WP Sharely is based on one of old versions of our plugin. We sold rights for using our old version a year ago and they started to resell our plugin under another name with little modifications.
Currently the Social Locker provides more features, more social buttons (Facebook Share, Google Share, Twitter Follow) and has better security and performance.”
Taking the above into notice it is safe to say that Social Locker has more features, it is regularly updated, supported and cheaper (single site license) than WP Sharely.
Easy Social Locker Plugin
Easy Social Locker is WordPress social locker plugin which allows you to automatically lock any page, post, custom post type or selected content.
Your content is hidden and only way to reveal it is to like or share your page. This functions gives you more likes, shares, in’s, tweets or +1’s.
With this plugin you can lock any blog category and hide like counter for all available social networks.
If you want you can generate unique URL addresses for like and share (when user likes one page he is not able to like it again). This function generates unique address for like each time page is loaded and this makes like of one page available again.
Default lock method is used when you select to lock content. You can have different for each post or page.
You can set up excerpt length (words) which will be used when you select automatic to lock post/page.
By default admin sees full content. If you wish to test lockers you can easily turn this setting off.
Easy Social Locker Features:
- Choose between like or share lock snippets
- Supporting Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn
- Hiding like counter for all available networks
- Ability to generate unique URL addresses for like/share
- Automatic lock post, page or custom post types
- Locks any type of content until the user shares it! Images, Videos, Flash, HTML, Forms, etc.
- SEO friendly. Allows you to show content for search bots (it can be turn off)
- Single like or share to unlock all content of site
- Ability to share custom message, text or address
- You are able to lock all post from specific category
- Shortcode available to lock content even if you are using different page builders
- Remembers users who already unlocked content (via cookies)
- W3 Total Cache compatible
- 5 predefined locker styles
- Usage statistics to track social activity
With little CSS coding you are able to change your locker style. You can change background of lockers, border of locker or color of border.
Other WordPress Social Locker Plugins
1. Pay With A Like by WPMUDEV -PAID
Go viral by “charging” a social share for content using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.
Works with any WordPress theme and provides custom CSS to create a perfect fit. Toggle share buttons, pick the best layout, arrange the order, set a container width….
2. wpLike2Get – FREE
You decide between Facebook’s like and send button, Twitters tweet or follow button and Google +1 button. You can decide for only one button, two, or all together.
You have the ability to track the button-clicks with Google Analytics.
3. SocLock – FREE
SocLock is a free web-based tool. It isn’t a WordPress plugin, and so it can be used on any website. Simply enter in your target address (where people go), and your freebie address (where the content is).
Once people hit the target address, they’ll meet the SocLock barrier, and will have to share the URL on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to get to the address where the content is located.
4. Social Share Motivator – FREE
Supports Facebook, Google + and Twitter. Social Share Motivator can lock specific posts and / or pages. For example only your download page, leaving the rest of your site easily accessible as always.
Besides this, it can lock the whole site but excluding specific pages or posts. The plugin includes also options for custom page titles letting you define the title and url of a page that will be shared instead of the currently visited.
Make your site go viral by requiring your users to like on Facebook, Google+1 or Tweet about your site to reveal premium content.
Simply wrap the content you want to protect with the shortcode and the content will be protected until the users shares your page.
WordPress Social Locker Plugin Comparison
Social Locker vs WP Sharely vs Easy Social Locker
- Free Version
- Google +
- Other options to hide content
- Analytics Tools
- Google Analytics
- Ready Made Themes
- SEO Friendly
- Lock any content manually via shortcodes
- Batch Lock
- Optimized For Mobile
- Hide For Members
- Lock Delay
- Timer Interval
- Support for the Visual Composer
- A protection algorithm against AdBlock
- Visible in RSS Feed
- Close Icon
- Hide the content from the page source code
- Change the URL that the content locker shares
- Cookie Option
- Hiding Like Counter
Social Locker for WordPress
- Coming soon
- Coming soon
- Blur, Make transparent, Overlap
Easy Social Locker
- Not Sure
WordPress Social Locker Plugin Conclusion
Social media and search engine optimization are two of the best ways to get traffic and exposure for your website. Combined, they can create impressive results.
As useful as content locking plugins can be, they can also be counter-productive.
Asking regular readers to share your content might not be so bad (they might be doing it already). Requesting same action from new readers isn’t a good way to build an audience.
Before locking any content on your blog, make sure that you are certain you want to do it and that your readership is proactive enough to respond in the right way!
Locking every post you write is an overkill. You should give people a reason why they need to click social buttons on your website.
Even if people really like your content, website or fan page, they don’t click the buttons because they don’t worry about you, your benefits or your traffic. It’s not their problem.
Instead, you should lock only your most valuable content. The stuff that takes a lot of time and resources to produce.
That could be videos, eBooks, infographics, coupons, download links, special links, and more.
Is it ethical to offer rewards for people “liking” a page? Yes, I would like to believe so. Typically readers are lazy (with exceptions like yourself).
Users do not feel compelled to do an action and sometimes need to be nudged in that direction.
No matter which locker you choose to employ, remember that readers will only share valuable content, so focus on locking only the best works your website has to offer!
Now, over to you. Are you using any of social content locker plugins on your blog right now? Let me know in the comments below.