As social media marketers, we are always amazed at how many new products, apps and additions we can use to upgrade our channels. The technology and availability of this technology grows faster than any one person can keep up with. So when we first heard about the new Twitter Cards for bloggers, we wanted to make sure that we passed this information along, because we believe that it can help drive more attention for your Twitter posts!
Now, before we get started, there are a few things that you will need to have in place. First, you need to be using wordpress.org versus wordpress.com. Why you might ask? Well, the two platforms are set up differently; wordpress.com is really for the novice who doesn’t want to worry about setting up apps and add-ons but wants to get their blog out there. WordPress.org allows you to add the plugins you will need to support these Twitter Cards. (Watch for a future post about how to move your wordpress.com blog to wordpress.org)
Second, you need to be using Twitter or Twitter’s mobile app. This process will not work on Twitter apps that are not Twitter supported.
So what is a Twitter Card? It’s simply a way for you to add more images and text to your tweets. With a Twitter Card you can add up to 70 characters to your Titles and 200 characters to your Content. You can even add tall images (rectangular image default is normally displayed) to your posts to gain the attention of your viewers. While everyone else has just 140 characters, this can be a huge advantage for your business!
Another benefit for bloggers is that Twitter Cards allow you to show authorship through a Byline and your publication or company’s Twitter ID.
There are three types of Twitter Cards that you can get. The first is a Small Image Summary card that will provide you with a 120 x 120 pixel image to the right of your content. This is much like a Facebook profile image but shows up on the right instead of the left.
The second is a Large Image Summary card which will give you a large image above your content and works best if your business has access to nice quality photos that can be used.
The third is the Photo Card which shows only a large image with a title and doesn’t include any type of a summary.
To set up these Twitter Cards on your WordPress blog, you will need to install the Yoast plugin first. Here is where you could run into trouble if you have WordPress.com, as it doesn’t allow you to upload plugins. But if you are on WordPress.org, you can simply go to the left side panel of your dashboard, click on plugins and load Yoast.
Once you have Yoast downloaded into your WordPress, then you have just a few easy steps left. First, go into Yoast, and click on the Social setting under the menu. From there click on the Twitter tab and you will see the option – Add Twitter card meta data. You need to check this, input your Twitter username and select and the default card type you want. From here you will choose which of the card types you would like to use. Once you select the card type, you should save and then clear your website cache.
From the time you choose your card type, Yoast will apply this choice to every blog post on your site.
In order to complete this process you will then need to validate your website with Twitter. Using a plugin such as Card Validator, log in and when prompted to answer what type of Twitter Card you want to validate, you will need to choose the same type of card you have already selected in Yoast. Then click on tab that says Validate and Apply. This will initiate the process with Twitter. You will be asked to enter a URL (from your blog) in order to validate. You won’t want to use your homepage URL here, but rather a blog post URL. Once you receive your acknowledgement back from Twitter, test it in your Twitter account. To test, just use any link to create a tweet in your Twitter account, using a sentence lead-in to the link and wah-la, you now have a custom Twitter Card that will create more attention and get more viewers!