Twitter Cards aren’t that new (they were launched mid 2012), but they are certainly still not that well known out in the wider world. In this article I will explain what Twitter cards are and how you can implement them.
What is a Twitter card?
A Twitter card is an expanded tweet that allows you to attach media experiences that point back to your content without compromising your 140 character limit. Or in plain English, it creates a link summary with image and description much the same as when you post a link on Facebook or Google+ Once you see the screen shots it should be come a lot clearer!
These cards are a great way of creating a rich user experience with your tweets and also better promote your website or blog at the same time. With the aim of achieving more clicks.
There are currently 7 different card types: (click on the link to see and example of each)
- Summary Card: Default card, including a title, description, thumbnail, and Twitter account attribution.
- Summary Card with Large Image: Similar to a Summary Card, but offers the ability to prominently feature an image.
- Photo Card: A Tweet sized photo card.
- Gallery Card: A Tweet card geared toward highlighting a collection of photos.
- App Card: A Tweet card for providing a profile of an application.
- Player Card: A Tweet sized video/audio/media player card.
- Product Card: A Tweet card to better represent product content.
To set these up for a website you will need a firm grasp of what is required and I would advise you only attempt to do so if you have or you can get an able webmaster to do this for you. The details for the correct meta tags are in the links above.
For most of you though the best way to implement Twitter cards is on your blogs, as these will be the links you should be sharing most often via social media like Twitter. The good news is that if you have a WordPress blog then its quick and simple to set up! Yay!
Lets start with the really easy one. If your blog is hosted by WordPress itself, then you have a WordPress.com site. (more information about WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – My recommendation is WordPress.org) You don’t need to do anything as Twitter card metatags are already supported. All you need to do is go here https://dev.twitter.com/docs/cards/preview and paste in a link to an article to check what it looks like. If you’re happy with the result then go here https://dev.twitter.com/form/participate-twitter-cards to get your site approved. It says it can take a week but I have found it often takes less then 1 hour.
For those with self hosted WordPress sites you have two options. The first is to add the Meta tags yourself or the second quicker option which I would recommend is let someone else do the hard work and just download one of the plugins http://wordpress.org/plugins/search.php?q=twitter+cards I have found the JM Twitter cards plugin quick and simple to install and use. Just follow the install instructions and which will include as above the preview tool and also the requirement to get your domain approved.
So in under an hour you should be able to have media rich tweets going out everytime you post a link from your blog to Twitter.