How to put social network buttons in your WordPress sidebar

As you’ve noticed, I’ve had social network buttons in the blog’s sidebar for quite some time now. While I’ve recently used various plugins for such, I’ve decided to go back to using my own buttons. My reasons include: to reduce the number of plugins used; the plugins didn’t have my desired choice of icons/features; the plugins featured unintuitive settings; and finally, many of the plugins hadn’t been updated in quite awhile.

The social network buttons I have are linked images, using WordPress’ widget feature and HTML. How I did it is similar to the instructions found at WordPress.com:

1. Download your choice of icons and upload them to your WordPress Media Library

Dreamstale offers various graphics, icons, etc. under a Creative Commons license. From there, I downloaded a large set of icons (as PNG images) available freely available for use under a Creative Commons-Attribution license. While I just used a handful, they’re part of a set of 90 icons, covering everything from WordPress and Blogger to StumbleUpon and WhatsApp. There’s also a variety of icon shapes (rectangular, rounded corners, circular, etc.) and sizes (from 48px to 384px) offered. For my site, I’m using the rectangular, 48px sized images.

After downloading, just upload the images like any other image to your WordPress installation’s Media Library, under Media > Add New.

2. Add a text widget to your sidebar with images/social media links in HTML

Under Appearances > Widgets, add a Text Widget to your sidebar. In the widget, add HTML and (if desired) widget title as follows:

Text widget example

Replace the parentheses’ text (and parentheses themselves) with the appropriate URLs, of course. To get the URLs for your uploaded icons, click “Edit” on the image in Media Library, then copy the “File URL” from the box in the lower right corner.

Add as many linked images as you wish (I have three in my example). From the above example, the final linked social media icons should look something like this:

Follow Me example

That should do it, and all without adding yet another plugin. If you’re looking for social share buttons for sharing blog posts, however, you’ll likely want a plugin for those. I use Jetpack‘s share plugin for that feature.

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