WordPress

WordPress Plugin #7: Twitter Card

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

If, like me, you use Twitter a lot, and have something like WordTwit installed (tweet your new blog post when you publish it) then you’ll also want to explore the new world of Twitter Cards. Thanks for Paul Simbeck-Hampson for showing and explaining this to me.

What is it … well, Twitter Cards:

“make it possible for you to attach media experiences to Tweets that link to your content. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpages, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.”

Here is it in action, it’s the snippet of the linked webpage (and image) that appears beneath the tweet on both the website and in Twitter Apps – it comes into it’s element if someone tweets a link to or about one of your blog posts and doesn’t include your twitter name, as the Card will do this for you, so your work is correctly attributed:

WordPressPlugin #7: Twitter Card (Working)

Here’s an example of a non-cited tweet, where my Twitter username ‘@hopkinsdavid’ is not mentioned:

WordPressPlugin #7: Twitter Card (Working)

How does this work, and what do you need? First you need to install the Twitter Cards plugin (available as download or by searching the Plugin database through your WordPress admin panel). It’s simple and done in a matter of seconds, and that’s all you need to do in WordPress.

The next stage is to test it using the Twitter developer page- Twitter Development / Cards Preview –  and request its activation. Take a URL for one of your blog posts or pages and enter it in the box and press ‘preview’, to get something like this, including the snippet of the post and the image:

WordPressPlugin #7: Twitter Card (Preview)

 NB: You must be sure that the post in WordPress has an image set as the ‘featured image’ if you want it to show the image in the Twitter Card. If it doesn’t have one set it’ll display the text with no image – it’s not a bad thing but, if you’re working hard to promote yourself and images are important then it’s worth making sure you have one set.

The final step is to apply to have the Card approved and activated on this page: dev.twitter.com/form/participate-twitter-cards. The form does state:

“As we roll out this new feature to users and publishers, we are looking for sites with great content and those that drive active discussion and activity on Twitter. Expect a few weeks for turn-around time. You will receive an email message with the confirmation or rejection notice.” [emphasis is mine]

Fill in all the fields as best you can and sit back and wait. Simple! It took just over 12 hours for mine to be approved, you may be luckier than me.