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How to Add Twitter to Your WordPress Blog: 6 Powerful Methods and Tools
These days it is so easy to get a presence online without breaking the bank or the need for very advanced technical skills. Thanks to the coding brilliance of hard core programmers, ordinary mortals like us can slap a website together in minutes. One such tool for doing just that is WordPress, the CMS engine that was created to make getting a website setup a breeze.
WordPress comes in two flavors, a hosted version which can be had by creating an account at WordPress.com, and a self-hosted version which can be downloaded from WordPress.org. This article assumes you’ve already visited one of those locations and have WordPress up and running. What we’ll be covering is how to integrate Twitter with your WordPress blog.
The benefits of integrating the two are numerous but here a few of the benefits to having the micro-blogging platform a functional and active part of your WordPress website or blog:
- Your readers will love it; having Twitter on your website or blog shows that you are social media savvy and care about the ways in which your readers interact and can share your content
- Having Twitter on your blog or website can increase your traffic and mentions in the twitter ecosystem
- Twitter integration is a great way to keep your readers engaged and share stuff with them. A blog post can double as a tweet, providing instant communication between your readers and those closely connected to them on Twitter.
- Twitter integration can help your blog gain popularity on other social media websites as your blog posts and tweets are pushed out to the different channels.
- It’s not proven scientifically, but linking to Twitter in your blog or website’s content has been said to increase SEO power. Again this isn’t scientific but it can’t help to have Twitter anyway since having a good relationship with Google is the holy grail of website and blog owners.
That takes care of the ‘why,’ let us now look at the how. There are lots of ways and tools that you can use to make the integration work but we are going to cover 6 easy to implement strategies.
1. Embedded tweets
This is perhaps the single quickest and easiest way to get Twitter going on your blog or website without doing any heavy lifting at all. Embedded tweets are just that, a tweet embedded into the body of a blog post or on a page. The latest versions of WordPress provide the functionality and all you have to do is grab the url of the tweet and paste it into the body of the blog post or page content. Once you hit the publish button, WordPress will get to work and all the functionality of a tweet (including the tweet itself) will show up on your blog. Visitors to your site will be able to hit the retweet or reply button—ensuring of course that your content stays alive for a longer time. One last thing on embedded tweets: in order to find the url of a tweet simply locate the post on Twitter and hover over the ‘details’ link found under the body of the tweet. Using ‘right click’ in your browser, you should then be able to copy the link.
Here’s what an embedded tweet looks like and below a screenshot of what things should look like when you are posting.
2. Tweet button
Embedded tweets are good and easy but a tweet button is more powerful. What a tweet button does is give your content wings and by simply having this button sprinkled all over your site, you increase the chance of your content being shared and possibly going viral.
The tweet button can be added two ways. The first is by generating the code manually through twitter and then placing it in your theme files, however, this method involves tampering with files ending with .php. If you are coder then grabbing the code and manually placing it in single.php is the way to go but if you are like the rest of us then a WordPress plugin will do the job nicely. There are lots of free plugins inside the WordPress repository but to save you the hassle of searching you can use one of these two:
3. Twitter Follow Button
Another quick way to get Twitter integration going is through the Twitter Follow Button, a handy tool that sits on your site that allows visitors to follow you with one click. Placing it on your WordPress blog or website is similar to the Tweet button and you can either use the code provided by Twitter or use a plugin. Similar to the advice given above, we believe it’s pointless fiddling with code unless you have those sort of aspirations—so, on with the plugins.
Again there are several plugins to choose from but the ones we found easiest to play with are:
4. Twitter Comments
Let’s say you create a killer post that resonates strongly with your audience and they come along enthusiastic about joining the conversation; the next thing they’ll do is leave a comment. By integrating Twitter comments you will allow those comments to go one step further and give your audience a chance to tweet their comments. This has the potential of sending a flood of visitors back to your site as the tweeted comments reach out into the tweetosphere.
There are several ways to get Twitter comments going on your blog but the quickest way is to use the Disqus commenting system. Disqus replaces your standard WordPress commenting system with a fully functional and social media integrated set of tools, including the functionality allowing your audience to tweet their comments.
5. Tweets Timeline Widget
Blogging or updating just any content on a WordPress site can now be set to interact with a wide array of external platforms and Twitter is just one of those platforms. But sometimes it’s good to draw your activities on these social platforms onto your blog and a Twitter timeline widget makes this possible. With a such a widget you can show in real-time what you are doing on Twitter and each time you send a tweet, it will be displayed in the sidebar or any other chosen area of your blog. The timeline feature is a great way to show the two-way connection between your Twitter account and your blog or website.
The same problems exist with manual implementation and in this case you’ll have to do some extensive tweaking on Twitter then move to sidebar.php. We say go with the easier option and that as you know, are plugins. Some WordPress themes (many of them free) come with timeline functionality built in and so all you have to do is fill in a few fields and presto.
If a theme doesn’t come with such functionality the following plugins will give you a nice timeline display in your blog sidebar:
6. Send Posts to Twitter
This is perhaps one of the coolest and most effective ways to get Twitter working for you in terms of traffic generation. It’s possible to auto update Twitter with every single post that you publish on your blog or website and this is achieved via a plugins. Unlike the other methods that require tinkering with php files, most of the auto post to Twitter setups involve using a standalone plugin. The only trouble with this kind of setup is that you need to call upon Twitter’s API key in most cases and this can be quite painstaking to setup. Don’t get things wrong, the whole thing shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes, but most plugins require that you use a go through a series of steps before the functionality is ready to go.
Having said that, there are many plugins that will get you up and running in a matter of minutes; given the tremendous benefits from having the functionality its worth spending 10 – 15 minutes or so to get things setup.
Our recommendation is WP to Twitter; this plugin is one of the easier ones to use and if you are really quick you can be up and running with your auto posting in a matter of minutes. Once setup, WP to Twitter will give you the option to update Twitter with not just posts, but also comments, and page updates. It’s also amazingly flexible and whole categories can be excluded from updating—ensuring of course that your Twitter followers don’t see the bits of content you don’t want them to see.
So there you have it; 6 really powerful ways of getting Twitter integration setup with your WordPress blog or website. There are other methods and plugins, even more options in terms of integration. The ones listed above however, are the fastest and most effective integration options and tools available. Use them and you’ll see the benefits immediately. There’s nothing more fulfilling than checking your traffic logs to see thousands of visitors being referred from Twitter.