What you need to know about Flare, it’s retirement and considering alternative options.
In the world of business, competition is a good thing. And as highly competitive business owners, we at Warfare Plugins keep a close eye on our competition so that we can always keep our edge.
This week one of our major competitors, Filament, announced that they would be retiring their services and all connected apps, which includes their social sharing app, Flare.
From their announcement:
…we’ve decided that it’s time to retire Filament, and all associated apps (including Flare, Ivy, and Passport).
As of June 30th, all of Filament’s apps and related services will be shut down and cease to work.
Let me be the first to say, I’m sad to see them go.
But why? Isn’t losing a competitor a good thing?
Yes, and no.
You see, I have been following what the team at Filament has been doing for a long time— even before we created Social Warfare. I’ve grown to respect not only the products they’ve built, but the way in which they build them.
You see, at the end of the day, I believe there’s more than enough business for everyone to thrive. And when I see a fellow business owner sharing my values and ambitions to make the internet a better place, I get more excited about what I’m doing.
And this is exactly what the Filament team had set out to do:
There are many reasons why we build our own products at Digital Telepathy. Generating revenue is one of the more obvious ones, but it’s far from the main reason: building tools and services to help people get more out of their time online is also an extension of our fervent passion for learning about – and trying to improve – the web.
That is the kind of competitor that I want.
Unfortunately, the Filament team had to make a difficult choice to go a different direction.
I am sad to see them go, but ultimately excited to see what the future holds for Chuck, Dave, Jason and Shawn.
What to Do If You’re a Flare User
Because Flare will no longer be working after June 30th, there will be many users looking for a replacement. So for those looking for a Flare alternative, we wanted to give some helpful tips on finding a comparable and effective social share button replacement.
In our eyes, there are some key requirements that an effective social sharing plugin needs.
The biggest problem with social sharing button plugins is that they tend to obliterate page load times. This means that your readers are waiting around for your page to load when they could have been through the first two paragraphs already, all because of a set of poorly coded share buttons.
So make sure you find a share plugin that is lightweight and doesn’t kill your site speed.
You spend a lot of time making your site look attractive so visitors aren’t visually repelled the minute they land on one of your pages. Creating a beautiful reading experience is vital in building your brand and wooing return visits.
Make sure that your replacement sharing plugin allows you to have some custom control over the design aspect– this was a key feature for Flare.
Additionally, be sure that you’re next sharing plugin has updated social media logos. Nothing says “I’m not relevant” faster than grossly outdated social icons.
3. Performance Tracking
Many users loved that they were able to monitor the success of their posts with Filaments stats. At the very least you want to have a sharing plugin that will show you how many times your content has been shared.
With Twitter’s bomb-drop announcement about removing the tweet counts API, some social share plugins still do not have the ability to count how many times your content has been tweeted. We recommend finding a plugin that has built a fix for this and can show you all your shares.
Important: Make sure that the method in which your plugin retrieves share counts is through using Social Network APIs (except for Twitter) so that your share counts will transfer over. You don’t want to move to a plugin that allows for fake numbers or it’s own counting system.
With these few things in mind, you should be more than capable of making an informed decision about your next social sharing buttons.
Feature Comparison: Flare Vs. Social Warfare
Many Flare users will be happy to find that some of their favorite features can be found in Social Warfare. Our plugin was also built with all the above stated qualifications in mind because it was built by professional developers and (myself) a professional blogger.
And all of us have been heavily invested in the Social Media space for quite some time. Needless to say, we’re pretty picky when it comes to these sorts of things. Which is why we built our plugin to begin with.
Here’s how Social Warfare stacks up to Flare.
Mobile Readiness: Just like Flare, Social Warfare is mobile ready so that your mobile visitors will have the ability to share your content easily and without disrupting the mobile reading experience.
Match Any Design: Flare gave you the ability to customize your share button design to match your website. Social Warfare does this as well with over 5,000 preset style/theme settings as well as the ability to pick your own custom colors, making the possibilities endless.
Google Analytics Integration: Flare allowed you to extend Google Analytics reporting with your share stats. Social Warfare allows you to activate two specific Google Analytics integrations:
- UTM Tracking: added to your links so that you can see which networks are gaining the most traction for your content.
- Event Tracking: know exactly how many times your buttons have been clicked right in your Events reports in GA.
While we don’t have the extensive analytics that Flare once had, we think that users can use our plugin to determine the ROI from their social sharing efforts.
In addition to the features that Flare users are used to, our plugin gives some added functionality that is crucial to increasing the effectiveness of shares sent from your site. These include:
- Customize Open Graph, Twitter Cards and Custom Pin Data: Making sure your content is shared in the most socially optimized way.
- Click-to-Tweet quotes: for making highly sharable quotes right within your posts and pages
- Popular Posts widget: to show your most popular posts by the number of share counts in your sidebar
- Content protection: via built-in Frame Buster to keep content pirates from hijacking your content
- Share Recovery tool: for when you’ve changed from HTTP to HTTPS and lost all your share counts (or other permalink-change related share count losses.
Of course you can always take a look at our full feature set, but we believe that the options available in Social Warfare are more than enough to make up for the loss of Flare.
We’re also in the process of building version 2.0 which will bring significant improvement to the admin user interface as well as introduce a number of highly demanded features, including:
- Share buttons on images (hover)
- Image upload for custom tweet
- Social Follow Widget
- Many more!
We’re very excited about the future of Social Warfare and hope that anyone looking for a replacement to Filament’s Flare share buttons will find exactly what they’re looking for. If not with our plugin, then at least with a plugin that meets their needs and doesn’t slow down their page load time (which was one of the primary reasons we started this journey).