Twitter Cards are a must-have for bloggers as they are a simple way of increasing visibility and clicks.
Most Twitter users will be familiar with the Summary Cards, which give the reader a preview of the content before they click through to your website. The added visual impact is far more persuasive than simply including a link.
Twitter Cards also come with their own analytics platform which shows impressions, clicks, retweets and app downloads, depending on which cards you’re using.
Adding Summary Cards is a simple process for WordPress bloggers, but one which I’ve taken the time to document below.
This guide involves the use of WordPress plugins, the use of which we’ve discussed in previous posts.
I’ve used my own dreadful WordPress site while setting up these cards – I began a festival blog earlier this year and have been predictably bad at bothering to update it.
Setup a Twitter account for your site or business.
The next step is to mark up your pages with the necessary meta tags. This can be done manually, requiring coding that looks something like this:
However the beauty of WordPress is obviously that you can get plugins to do most of the hard work for you.
For example, I use the Yoast SEO plugin which is free and automatically inserts the meta data if you input your Twitter handle.
Using Google Chrome’s handy ‘Inspect Element’ feature you can then see that the meta tags have been automatically input into my site. This is only for Twitter Summary Cards though, not images, app downloads or any of the other formats.
Now you need to let Twitter know that your site is set up to use Twitter Cards. This can be done here.
Once you’ve logged in you will be able to choose which type of card you want to use. Remember that you need to have input the correct meta tags that correspond to the different card types.
On the next screen you will be able to mess around with the format of your chosen card to see how the information is presented.
It’s worth having a go with this as it means you’ll be aware of how your content appears so you hopefully won’t make any mistakes with the genuine article.
Now you need to apply for your Twitter Card by clicking on this tab.
The first step is to enter your site URL. I just selected my most recent blog post for this stage as an example.
Twitter will then crawl your site to ensure that all the meta tags are present and correct. If any of the required tags aren’t present then an error message will appear notifying you of the missing information.
If all the tags are present you will see a row of green icons and can then request approval.
It’s worth noting that the Yoast plugin doesn’t automatically input the meta tags for Mobile App Integration, but this isn’t necessary for blog posts or other articles.
After requesting approval you will need to re-enter your personal information, plus some extra details regarding your site’s content and the username.
This is to establish yourself as the administrator for Twitter Cards for your site.
The description of your site content doesn’t show up on the Twitter Cards, I think it’s purely to let the admin people at Twitter know what your site is all about.
Now you wait while Twitter decides whether your site is worthy of using cards.
The pop up says it will take a few weeks, though I actually received approval in about 30 seconds.
Assuming your request is successful, the cards will then automatically begin appearing in tweets. Success!
Glastonbury weather update: pack your wellies and a poncho http://t.co/ZF2i3gnEz6
— NowhereField (@NowhereField) June 24, 2014