Have you heard about Twitter cards or ever wondered if they were worth using on your blog? I have.. In fact, I heard about Twitter cards several months ago from my good buddy, Ray Akers, during a mastermind call. He kept telling me how badly I needed to add them to my blog & tried to explain what they were, but I put it off till a month ago. Part of it was out of ignorance (because I didn’t really know what they were) and part of it was because my business was busy as heck and I didn’t want another thing on my plate. But, needless to say, I did set them up on my blog and I’m GLAD I did. Within 3 weeks, I was able to increase my Twitter traffic by 10.62%. I accumulated an additional ~200 visitors within 3 weeks for doing something that took 10 minutes (or less) to set up. Now, 200ish visitors in 3 weeks may not sound like a lot, but what if I was getting 10,000 monthly visitors from Twitter every 3 weeks? A simple task as adding Twitter cards would have increased my traffic by 2,000+ people.
Great question. Twitter cards are a way for bloggers to add more than 140 characters to a tweet when their content is shared. Here’s an example of a Twitter Card:
25 Bite-Sized Action Steps to Drive More #Traffic to your #Blog are right here! Make your traffic rockets! http://t.co/xIZ6XXm3uU — Joshua Coffy (@JoshCoffy) September 12, 2014
They come in a few formats, but only 3 that you need to know: summary cards, summary cards with large images and photo cards. (Read more about the different cards on Twitter.) When someone typically shares your content via a share button, it usually comes out in a plain-text format. Meaning, the tweet has the article title, the link and the author’s name. But, with Twitter cards, you’re able to have the ‘share’ automatically generate a more attractive tweet that pulls the meta-data of the content that’s being shared. (i.e. The photo, title, description, etc.) This is great because it breaks through the noise on Twitter. Twitter is such a fast-paced platform and a plain-text tweet is easily overlooked. A Twitter card, however, can stand out a bit more, thus improving your click through rate & share rate.
As I said above, there are multiple kinds of cards, but as a blogger, there are only 3 I recommend. 1. Summary Card Summary cards are the default Twitter card and they will auto-generate a title, description, thumbnail image, and @mention the author. They look like this:
11 #Inbound Facts That Every Marketer Should Know, via @NewBreedMktg http://t.co/rIJy6TFycg — HubSpot (@HubSpot) September 13, 2014
2. Summary Card w/ Large Image This is currently the version I use. Why? Because it shows everything the summary card does, except the image is much more prominent. (And 60% of people are visual learners, so I prefer to appeal to the majority!) They look like this:
Twitter Buy Button: This Week in Social Media http://t.co/SlnMFRywQF by @CindyKing via @smexaminer — Michael A. Stelzner (@Mike_Stelzner) September 13, 2014
3. Photo Card Photo cards make the image the focus & make it front & center above the tweet. Here’s what they look like:
Stunning photo of mountainous landscape and reflections http://t.co/esvsXTy7Tq — Flickr (@Flickr) January 15, 2014
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a plugin that generates post meta-data. (I use Wordpress, so the setup of Twitter cards is going to come from that angle) I personally use YOAST because it’s easy to setup & amazing. You can download it for free here. Once installed, you’ll need to head over to the ‘social’ section & click on the ‘Twitter’ tab.
On the ‘Twitter’ tab, type in your twitter handle (@yourhandle,) select the kind of card you want your site to start generating and check the box "Add Twitter card meta data."
Don’t worry, the words “Validate With Twitter” scared me at first, too. All I thought was, “great, now I’m going to have to do some developer crap.” You don’t. It’s easy as pie. Here’s what you do: [checklist] 1. Click on ‘Twitter Card Validator’ in YOAST and login with Twitter 2. Post a blog post URL in the ‘preview card’ box This will actually let you see what your Twitter card would look like. *Important: keep in mind that you aren’t creating a Twitter card for just that card. Once the process is complete, Twitter cards will automatically be generated for ALL your posts. (I thought I had to do it for every single post.) 3. Request Approval As you’ll notice, it’ll say “.yourwebsite.com is not whitelisted”. If you don’t get your site whitelisted, then your Twitter cards will not show up. So, click ‘request approval,’ fill out the required information and submit your site for approval! Once you’re approved, Twitter cards will automatically be generated whenever someone shares a link to a page on your site! Side-Note: It says it can take up to 14 days to get approved, but mine happened in 24 hours.
Twitter cards are an amazing way to optimize your site for sharing, easily increase traffic and come off more professional. I always wondered how the big accounts were able to stand out from the crowd. It was always much easier than I thought! If this post was helpful, leave a comment below & hit the share button! And if you really liked it, subscribe. ;)