Activating Twitter Cards on Your Blog

Twitter Card

Twitter Card

It’s like the Wonder Twin Powers! Your blog and Twitter. They reach out to each other with a click of a button. And boom — shape of a picture card! Whether you use Twitter or not, I highly recommend setting up Twitter cards for your blog. I’ll tell you the why’s, what for’s and how to’s.

Why

Get more blog views. It’s marketing. That’s pretty much it. People like to share the good stuff they read, and Twitter is a big part of the sharing.

What For

A Twitter Card is simply a media rich tweet. Yes, people can tweet your page as is, but it’s been shown that tweets with images (just like blogs) get more click throughs. For the simple reason, they stand out. It’s eye candy. Look at the image below. Which one in a timeline would stand out?

Twitter Card vs regular tweet

Twitter Card vs regular tweet

On the top is the Twitter Card. It pulls the first image from your post and adds the first 140 characters of your post as well as linking to your post. It gives people a visual and a sample of what they’ll be reading.

How To

The good news is that it’s pretty simple—even though it looks intimidating. I put it off because, ugh, so much to read and not enough of it helpful. But I did it and I want you to do it too! But I’ve cut out all the blah, blah, blah.

  • Step One
    Set up social sharing on your blog. Thought I better not skip this one even though many bloggers already have it set up, but I have run across sites that do not. GASP! It’s those little buttons at the end (or beginning of a post).
  • Step Two
    Get a Twitter account. — You don’t have to use it or get all active in it, but you need one to set up the cards. Think of it as having a Blogger or Gravatar account. This is part of your social media promoting tools.
  • Step Three
    • WordPress.com Users
      You’re done! Yup, they’ve already set it up for you. Ya can probably skip the previous step too.
    • WordPress.org | Self-hosted WordPress Users
      I tested adding code and plugins. Just do the plugin. It’s way easier and you’re less likely to mess up your site. I tested a few. The best one for reliability is put out by Twitter.

      • Go to your Plugins > Add New, then type Twitter in the search field. It’s the official Twitter plugin.
      • Install and activate it.
      • Go to ‘Twitter’ in the left navigation area, and add your Twitter handle in the Site Attribution area.
      • Save Changes. You’re done.
    • Blogger Users
      This is more complicated—but trust me, it really is easy. I set it up on my Blogger test site in less than three minutes.

      • Start by backing up your template, which you should always do before messing around with anything. Go to your Dashboard > Template > Click on “Backup/Restore” in the upper right hand corner and download your theme. (1)
      • Now click on “Edit HTML” (2)
        blogger theme

        click to enlarge

      • Click inside the html box and click control+f (“find”) and locate this code:
        <b:includable id='post' var='post'>
      • Immediately after it (not the next line or at the end, right after that last >) paste in this code
         <!-- twitter card details --> <meta content='summary' name='twitter:card'/> <meta content='@USERNAME' name='twitter:site'/> <meta content='@USERNAME' name='twitter:creator'/> <meta content='YOURBLOG.blogspot.com' name='twitter:domain'/> <meta expr:content='data:post.firstImageUrl' name='twitter:image:src'/> <meta expr:content='data:post.title' name='twitter:title'/> <b:if cond='data:blog.metaDescription'> <meta expr:content='data:blog.metaDescription' name='twitter:description'/> <b:else/> <meta expr:content='data:post.snippet' name='twitter:description'/> </b:if> <meta expr:content='data:post.sharePostUrl' name='twitter:url'/> <!-- end twitter card details -->
      • Now change:
        • @yourname to your Twitter handle (will need to change two occurrences)
        • YOURBLOG.blogspot.com to your site’s URL
      • Save Template. You’re done.
    • ETA: WIX & Weebly Users
      Sorry I left you folks out! Now, I haven’t tried these myself, but the directions look easy. Please report back if you try them.

  • Step Four
    This is an optional step, but recommended. Validate and test the cards. Go to https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator and input the URL of one of your blog posts. It will show you a sample card and if it was successful or not. If it looks good, tweet a post, and watch it appear in your timeline.

I suppose I should point out that there are other styles of Twitter cards, but I don’t care for them. So, uh, this is what you get.

Speaking of Twitter

Go ahead and follow me @SouthpawPOV, if ya wanna. I mostly retweet stuff I think is inspiring or will make you smile. I also tweet my own stuff like these treasures:

sample tweets

My tweets. Good stuff, right?

If you’d like sneak peeks into my writing (and me), check out these hashtags:
The links will take you to my tweets for these hashtags. Tweets before April refer to my completed novel; tweets after that are about my current WIP.

I highly recommend joining it. They can help you flesh out your characters and perk up your imagination and creativity.

Site Updates

  • I went through my old gemstone posts and added famous stones and jewelry to the posts when possible. I realized this would be fun information for a writer!
    • For example, did you know Dr. Dee’s Magical Mirror is an Aztec obsidian cult object in the shape of a hand mirror that the good doctor used to call upon spirits? Now, you do.
  • I updated my Writers Guide to Quartz. It now includes the magical properties for rose, milky, rutile, prasiolite, and smoky quartz. (There wasn’t enough new information to justify separate posts.)
  • I also updated my Writers Guide to Garnet. I have added the magical properties for the color variations.

question

Do you tweet? (Leave your handle in the comments; I’ll follow you. [Maybe others will too.]) Are you all excited to set up Twitter cards on your site? What are your favorite forms of social media?

images: Twitter bird-card from Pixabay, all else are my screen shots.
Share! It will make you happy, trust me.

While you’re here…

Sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you one of my cookie recipes free. Other benefits include being the first to know exciting news, first to receive sneak peeks and sale information. Mailers are sparse.

37 Comments

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  1. That is really simple, even for Blogger users. Tweets I create, I add an image, but be nice for those sharing by hitting the button at the end of the post to send out an image. (At least Google+ automatically does that.)

    1. Yes! The real benefit is when others share your post.

  2. I wondered how that was done. We've been making images for the books we Tweet and sharing them with our authors. Images do get Tweeted more often.

    1. Me too! I kept seeing them pop up, but I didn't even know what they were called to find out how to do them.

  3. You've made this very simple. Thanks so much Southpaw!

  4. I don't use wordpress or blogger, so no idea if I can do this. ><

    1. I found this for WIX, but have not tested it myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s-lBclBkmQ
      Oops Weebly: http://sharingsocial.weebly.com/blog/twitter-cards-demo

  5. Wow. I did it! That is so neat. Thank you so much for taking us step by step through it. 🙂 Have a great week.

      1. I found an error that the Twitter card makes with Blogger. If you copy and paste the post URL, it will make the Twitter card. Yet if you click on the little social media button of the post, Blogger adds a few extra characters on the end of the URL which then nullifies the creation of a Twitter card for some reason. I'm not quite sure how to fix it yet, but I'm going to have my husband check it out. (He's a computer programmer!) All that is needed is to get rid of those extra characters (starting with a question mark), and hopefully there's some way to do it.

        1. Ooo, it's the — ?spref=tw — that's odd, it didn't show on my testing blog. I'm going to look into this too.

          1. I tested it using with this code and it went through with a card. Perhaps it was a glitch. We'll have to keep our eyes on it. BYW, I did find out that end bit of code if for the Google analytics/stats.

  6. Bookmarking this post for future reference. Thanks for taking the time to put it together! 🙂 Much appreciated.

  7. I think I'm set up for Twitter cards. At least I recall going through the approval process to be able to use them. Twitter seems like a fun place. The problem is, I just can't keep up.

    1. They don’t have the approval process anymore! I'll tweet out your last post and test it. Still works!

  8. Thanks for the great info! I've been uncertain for ages if I had twitter cards set up for my blog. The validation site you give tells me I do. Yay! The only thing is that when other people tweet my posts the cards don't always seem to show up and I have no idea why. :/ (My twitter handle is @akkalonas)

    1. I have noticed that if my site goes down around the time the tweet goes out (or until it gets cached on Twitter), it can fail the card.

  9. Yeah, what Loni said. I just can't keep up. Twitter is very selective with what it shows us, so we missed some of your gems that you posted previously (rectified that).

    We have a really crappy, generic Twitter feed on the side of our blog, but we really need to replace it with something better.

    1. I've only had the Twitter cards up a month or so, so you probably didn't miss much. And when I was testing the different plugins they were up and down. Now you can add the twitter cards.😁

  10. I usually tweet my posts a few times as well as sharing them on FB and Google+. Sometimes it gets me a few more views. I also have a few loyal readers who usually tweet the links to my current posts. I don't know if I could do it all better, but I'm fairly content with what's happening with the sharing of my posts.

    Arlee Bird
    <a href="http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/">Tossing It Out</a>

  11. Cool. It may be easy enough I can do it. I'm gonna try 🙂

  12. Cool! Thanks. I'm going to add this. 🙂

  13. Hi Holly – I need to get to grips with these things – so thanks so much for being so precise with guidelines … so helpful! I will try … at some stage fairly soon … really interesting – cheers Hilary

  14. Oh my, you're a mine of information, lady! I'll check this out, although I'm sure I already have the Twitter plugin on my sight. It's the one which ALWAYS plays up. I have to renew the link now and and then. I may go do this now!

  15. Now there's some helpful stuff. I'm a little scared to do it, just because my blogger template is so old and I'm afraid it will permanently break, but I should try it anyway, right?

  16. Great info, Holly. I hate fiddling with my blog HTML, but have done plenty of times in the past. Looks like it's easier to do on my WP.org account, but I will get around to doing both when I gather up courage.

    Thanks as always. 🙂

  17. I had no idea. Very helpful. Will bookmark this when I sit down and get my butt in motion with my new blog that I keep saying I'm going to make, only I never do.

    This close I tell you. This close.

    1. So close, I think I can smell it.

      1. I returned and as I type, this post is printing. Wait, I lied. It stopped printing. Okay, now it's printing again. I think my brain is too full from those 2.5 rye grilled notcheeses.

  18. Cool, Holly. I set it up just in case I go back to blogging. As a rule, Twitter and I don’t get along. I’ve had my account for almost ten years, but my thoughts don’t seem to come in 140 characters.

    1. That's cool. And people may tweet your older articles too.

  19. Go you! Super post! I set up a Twitter card once for my last Thunderclap and inserted it as the link for the picture. It worked perfectly on the Twitter test page. But on the TC day, instead of showing up like the test, Twitter took the Amazon buy link and posted that as the "card." *sigh* Technical stuff is too hard for me.

    1. Boo! I wonder why that happened.

  20. I'll have to get my tech guy to do this…the idea of adding code and plugins is Greek to me. LOL
    You never fail to surprise me with your techno-savviness and you make it sound so easy. Thank you. 🙂

    1. 🙂 This will be a snap for your tech guy.

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