Monarch is a WordPress Plugin that will completely change how you set up social sharing on your website. It’s the latest offering from the Elegant Themes team and boasts a range of features that turns the business of social into an effortless task.
To learn how this plugin could very well revolutionize the effectiveness of social activity on your blog, keep reading. I’ll be providing you with a detailed overview and delving into some of Monarch’s unique features that makes it a serious contender for any website.
Monarch Plugin Overview & Review
In true Elegant Themes style, Monarch is as sleek as it claims to be on its launch page. After uploading and installing the plugin you’ll see what I mean. Simply navigate to “Tools” and then “Monarch Settings” to view the dashboard in all its glory.
Instantly you’re met with a clean, concise user interface that defaults to Monarch’s location settings. This is where you can select where on your website you’d like to show off your social sharing buttons.
These locations are broken down into 5 different areas:
- Pop Up
- Fly In
From here all you need to do to activate an area, is click. You’ll notice that the greyed out arrow below each thumbnail turns green, indicating your choice. Click “Save” and you’re ready to move to each areas settings.
Each location for Monarch’s sharing buttons has its own, individual settings panel. This gives you more control over how each area appears to the end user. You can see the links to these settings down the left side of your Monarch dashboard.
Clicking the “Sidebar” link will bring up all of the settings associated with the Floating Sidebar location. Here you can choose an icon style and a shape for your buttons such as square, rounded or circle.
Under the display settings you’re able to choose the sidebar’s animation, share counts, spacing and visibility on mobile devices. You can also customize the color of each button to match the look of your website.
The Inline location is where your traditional sharing buttons would appear. With Monarch you can place these either above or below your content. You can even display them in both areas at the same time.
Similar settings apply to this location, including the orientation of your buttons (left or center) and the number of columns you want your buttons to display in. I personally used the “Auto Width” setting here so that my buttons could automatically adjust to the screen size. Very handy for mobile devices.
The Pop Up and Fly In locations operate on similar terms. Both have options to delay or time their appearance to the end user and include pre-set triggers. These triggers are:
- Delay (in seconds)
- Trigger on page leave
- Trigger at bottom of post
Where they differ is the way in which they display. The Pop Up will act like other pop ups you may be used to such as opt in forms.
When a trigger has been released a box will appear prompting a the reader to share your post or page. The message can be customized to suit your needs and all styling options are also customizable.
The Fly In box instead of popping up, slides in from either the bottom right or bottom left of your screen when reaching the bottom of a post or page.
Again social sharing options will appear, along with a message and styles that are fully customizable from the settings page.
Select the “Networks” link from the left navigation and you’ll meet the page where you can choose which social networks you wish to display. There’s over 35 to choose from including the main platforms we all regularly use.
Once you’ve chosen your networks, you can easily drag and drop them into any order. This might be worth doing if you don’t intend on customizing the colors of your buttons. Otherwise you may end up with a few that clash.
Social Follow Buttons
As well as letting people share your content, Elegant Themes has gone one step further with Monarch. Integrated into the plugin is the option to display your own social networks as follow buttons for people to follow your profiles.
There are a multitude of platforms you can add here. Simple click “Add Networks” to view your options and click “Apply” to save them.
Monarch gives you the option of entering your follower count manually. If you have time on your hands, this might be something you’re happy to do. If you’re busy however, you can choose to connect to your profile APIs instead. This will automatically update your follower counts as you gain a larger audience.
You can display your follow buttons either with a sidebar widget or shortcode. Whichever one you choose, each has full customization options as seen with the share buttons.
The last feature I’m going to show you is one many of you will find useful. As well as customizable social buttons, Monarch gives you access to the data surrounding your social shares.
From the Monarch dashboard look to the top right corner of your screen. You’ll see an icon similar to a bar chart. Clicking this will take you to your analytics view.
As you can see, your data is drilled down into individual charts covering the last 7 days. You can further see information from the past 30 days and the past 12 months. This will give you a well-rounded idea of how people have been interacting with your content socially.
If you’re already an Elegant Themes customer, you’re likely well used to their detailed documentation pages. Monarch is no exception to this rule, boasting a page covering everything you might think of asking right from the get-go. The covered topics include installation, setting up your sharing buttons and a rundown on each feature.
You’ll also find the support forums an excellent place to ask questions and search for solutions to any problems you might be having. Since Monarch is still fairly new to the market, I’d expect a bit of a wait for a response, as there will be plenty of people in the queue
Conversely you might find it quicker to take a look on YouTube if you need a solution pronto. There’s already a wealth of videos and tutorials on the popular site, which can sometimes be more helpful if you’re a visual learner.
Buying The Monarch Plugin
Sadly if you want to use the Monarch plugin but only have the standard Elegant Themes package, you won’t be able to. Monarch is only available on the Developer and Lifetime subscription plans, which is a little annoying given how beautiful a plugin it is.
The good news is, it’s not all that much to upgrade to the Developer plan. For $89 per year you get access to all themes and plugins (including Monarch), as well as ongoing updates, premium support and layered files for Photoshop.
If you’re feeling flush you could always opt for the lifetime subscription. Priced at $249 you’ll get everything, without the hassle of having to pay yearly.
Finding a plugin that performs multiple functions all in one go, is pretty difficult. Most of us settle for two or three different options, while glaring at the long list of stuff clogging up our website. Let’s face it, we’d all like to use less of them wouldn’t we?
What Elegant Themes have done with Monarch, is bring us all a little bit closer to that goal. With one simple, gorgeous looking plugin you can control and analyze how people behave and share your content, as well as grow your social following. Now that’s pretty darn good if you ask me.