How to add social sharing links to your WordPress theme (without a plugin)

social media buttons displayed on a phone screen

One of the things that I prefer to do when building a new WordPress theme is to keep performance in mind, and part of this means looking for opportunities to do reduce the number of plugins I’ll need to rely on.

One way to score an easy win is to integrate social media sharing links directly into your theme. This assumes you just need to provide users with basic functionality. If you need additional features like tweet counts and such then you may want to go a plugin route. But for straightforward sharing links, save yourself the trouble of yet another third-party dependency and do it yourself in minutes.

First, open up your code editor and add the following. Here we’re going to add Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, and Pinterest sharing links.

<!-- begin sharing -->
<aside class="sharing">

    <a href="<?php echo urlencode(the_title()); ?>&url=<?php echo urlencode(the_permalink()); ?>" title="Share on Twitter" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Tweet this</a>

    <a href="<?php echo urlencode(the_permalink()); ?>"
   onclick=", '', 'menubar=no,toolbar=no,resizable=yes,scrollbars=yes,height=300,width=600');return false;"
   target="_blank">Share on Facebook</a>

    <a href="<?php the_title(); ?> - <?php the_permalink(); ?>" onclick="'<?php the_title(); ?> - <?php the_permalink(); ?>','gplusshare','width=750,height=500,left='+(screen.availWidth/2-225)+',top='+(screen.availHeight/2-150)+'');return false;">Share on Google+</a>

    <a href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Share on LinkedIn</a>

    <a href="<?php the_permalink();?>&media=<?php echo $pinterestimage[0]; ?>&description=<?php the_title();?>">Pin this</a>

</aside><!-- /sharing -->

Save the file as sharing.php in your theme’s directory.

Next, place the following in each theme template where you want the links to show:

<?php get_template_part( 'sharing' ); ?>

If you prefer to use icons instead of text links, check out Fontello.

Have fun.

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I'm a front end developer and designer specializing in WordPress, User Experience, SEO, and have been working with businesses of all sizes since 1999 in helping build web properties that gets the job done.

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