What Are Twitter Cards and How to Use Them

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Twitter has become one of the best social networks for online marketers.  The platform makes it easy to follow other users, and a single tweet can instantly get your message in front of thousands of followers.

However, one of the drawbacks to Twitter has always been the 140-character limit.  Twitter recently doubled the character limit to 280 characters, but your message still gets lost in the barrage of tweets bombarding your followers each second.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could make your tweets stand out above all the other ones?  I mean, if you’re linking to your website, you want people to click that link, right?

One way to make your tweets stand out is to add a picture.  Adding a picture doesn’t take away from your character limit, and it will make your tweet stand out.  However, a picture may draw attention from the link to your website, and that’s not a good thing.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could add an image to your tweet that, when your followers click on it, will take them to your website?  And wouldn’t it be great if this occurred automatically, whenever you posted your link on Twitter?

Welcome to the world of Twitter cards.

 

What are Twitter Cards?


Twitter cards are boxes that appear below your tweets that show graphics, video, and / or audio.  One of the great things about Twitter cards is that they are also clickable, so when you click on them, your follower will get taken to your website.

Here is an example of a tweet I posted that has a Twitter card.

You can see the picture along with the text below the picture provides a sort of preview for the article.  The picture and the preview make up the Twitter card.  This particular card is a “Summary Card with Large Image.”

There are four types of Twitter cards.

  1. Summary Card
  2. Summary Card with Large Image
  3. Player Card
  4. App Card

A summary card looks like this.

It just includes a smaller photo to the left with a preview to the right.

A player card is one that includes an embedded video, and an app card usually includes a button for downloading an app.

I will be focusing on using summary cards and summary with large image cards in this post.

 

How To Use Twitter Cards with WordPress


If you are an online marketer, chances are you have a website.  One of the more popular platforms for marketing websites is WordPress.  In fact, this site was created on the WordPress platform.

By the way, if you do not have a website, I highly recommend you take the following steps:

  1. Read this article on building a website.
  2. Watch this video on how easy it is to build a website in under 30 seconds on the Site Rubix platform.
  3. Go to the Site Rubix website to create your FREE website.

Now I’m going to walk you though the steps for adding Twitter cards to your website.

 

Step 1: Install the All in One SEO Plugin

If you created your free website under the Site Rubix platform, this plugin should be automatically installed.  The All in One SEO plugin basically automates all the SEO settings for your site and allows your posts to be searchable in Google and to look professional in the search results.

All in One SEO Search Results

 

Note: If you already have an SEO  plugin, I don’t recommend downloading another one.  Yoast SEO, also shown in the above search results, is a popular one.  I am only going to describe how to add Twitter cards to the All in One SEO plugin.  Other SEO plugins may be similar, but you will need to find out how to add them using your particular plugin if you’re using a different one.

 

Step 2: Go to the SEO All in One Plugin Feature Manager and Activate the Social Meta Feature

In the left-hand column of your Dashboard, you will see All in One SEO right under Dashboard.  Point at that and select “Feature Manager” from the popup menu.

Inside the feature manager, you will see several features.  The one you are interested in will be Social Meta.  Click the “Activate” button for that feature.

All in One SEO Feature Manager

The Social Meta feature was already activated for my website, so the button is shown as “Deactivate.”

 

Step 3: Add your Twitter Settings to All in One SEO

Since you activated the Social Meta feature, you should see Social Meta in the popup menu when you point at All in One SEO.  Click on Social Meta to open the Social Meta settings, and scroll down to Twitter Settings.

There are four settings here.

  1. Default Twitter Card – Here you select whether you want to show a Summary or Summary with Large Image card.  Either one is fine.
  2. Twitter Site – Enter your Twitter username.
  3. Show Twitter Author – I selected this, but it’s up to you.  If you are the only author on your site, it probably doesn’t matter.
  4. Twitter Domain – Enter your website URL here.

Once you have complete all these, just click “Update Options” at the bottom of the screen.

 

Step 4: Update Settings for Each Page and Post

At the bottom of the edit screen for the post you want to create a card for, click the Social Settings Tab.

Social Settings

The main thing you’re going to want to do here is select the image you want to show on the Twitter card.  The default image looks like the guy in your contacts that you have no picture for.  You probably won’t want to use that one, like I accidentally did in the above tweet, so you’ll want to select an image.  If you don’t like any of the images from your post for the Twitter card, you can upload an image to use.

The Title will default to the title of your post, so you’ll probably want to keep that.  But you can change it if you want.  If you don’t put a description, it will show the first few words of your post.  That’s usually fine with me, so I just leave that one alone.

Also under the Social Settings Tab is the type of Twitter card to post.  It will show the default type you selected in the All in One SEO settings, but you can change it for this individual post if you like.

 

Step 5: Validate Your Twitter Card

You really only have to do this once with each type of card – Summary or Summary with Large Image – but I usually do it with every card to make sure that they work.

Go to https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator and make sure you’re signed in to your Twitter account.  Then, enter your URL and click “Preview Card.”

Twitter Card Validator

When you do that, you will see to the right a preview of your card.

Twitter Card Validator Results

And that’s all there is to it.  If you have a large website, it may take awhile to update every post with the right image, but what I usually do is update each post as I link to them.  That way, I only have to do one at a time.

 

If you have any questions or run into any problems trying to implement this on your own website, leave me a Comment below, and I’ll be happy to help you fix the problem.

Have a great day!

andy

Andy

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8 thoughts on “What Are Twitter Cards and How to Use Them

  1. Hi Andy, thanks for this information. I never knew it was possible to do this. I have followed along and done everything you say but I don’t understand step 4 where you say edit settings for each post or tweet. Are you still in the SEO pack there? Or are you on your twitter account? I cannot find that screen you are showing on either. Thanks

    1. Hi, Stefanie.

      Thanks for the comment.

      To do Step 4, you go to your list of posts and click “Edit” on the individual post you want a Twitter card for. Below the Edit window, you will see the SEO settings for that post. There is a “Social Meta” tab on this section. You just select that tab and you’ll find the settings for that particular post. Just select the image you want to use for the post and edit the title and description if you like. Once you finish that, click on “Update” for the post and you’re all set.

      Hope this helps.

      Best of luck you you.

  2. Hey Andy…

    Thanks for a very informative article. I am an affiliate marketer, and I use Twitter yet this feature is elusive to me. I definitely will book mark this because even if I heard of this feature, I am not really a tech guy so I really wouldn’t know where to begin.

    Your article made the process look so smooth and easy to implement, thanks for the juicy tips!

    -mike

    1. You’re welcome, Mike.

      I too didn’t know about Twitter cards when I first started online, but I was curious why some websites automatically included pictures and previews while some, including mine, did not. I’m thinking that some day, Twitter may make this process automatic like Facebook and Google+ do, but until then, we can use this process.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Andy,

    Great info about twitter cards. I have been trying to get mine working for a while now. Glad you have this step by step guide. I will use it to set up my cards. Very helpful. This will really help my marketing efforts moving forward.

    Thanks for the information

    1. Thanks for the comment, Todd.

      I went for a long time not knowing how some websites had pictures and previews when linked to on Twitter and some didn’t. At first I thought it was some kind of code embedded in the tweet itself, but that didn’t explain how I could like to a website and my tweet would automatically show the picture and preview. It had to be something inside the page itself. That’s when I discovered Twitter cards.

      If you have trouble getting it to work, just leave me another comment and I’ll see if I can help.

  4. Hi Andy,
    Thanks for this post. I have done all this and have got to the point where I have done the test tweet which works. But the one thing I don’t get is how do my posts then get onto Twitter. Does Twitter find them because I have put my posts page address in to validate? I only ask because none of the existing posts or new ones that I have added since running the validation have been tweeted. Which I thought was the point of this. Or does this just take a long time? (days)
    Have I missed something very obvious? Nothing on All in one seems to explain what is going to happen next…
    I am concerned that any Twitter followers will initially be bombarded with Tweets once it starts working.
    Thanks

    1. Thanks for the comment Steve.

      To answer your question, Twitter cards do not automatically post your content on Twitter. You still have to do that manually. The only thing Twitter cards do is provide a picture and a preview whenever you or anyone else posts a link to your content. It doesn’t sound like much, but I can tell you that it makes a huge difference in how much your links get noticed. A text link is much more likely to get passed up with no clicks.

      Best of luck to you!

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