Bird's the Word: Twitter Feeds Increase Blog Engagement

Posted on March 31st 2014

Bird's the Word: Twitter Feeds Increase Blog Engagement

ImageAdmit it.  You'd just love to flip everyone that visits your blog the bird.  Not out of spite, but because you care about how they'd react simply by waving that bird tall, and proud, in their faces.  Because everyone loves to get the bird waved to them before kissing their spouse and children as they head to work, right?

Let's break it down.

Keeping blog guests engaged in your content means you’ll need some method of allowing conversations to take place all the time.  Accepting blog comments mean cleaning spam every day from your Wordpress console, and carry little value when you really seek deep engagement.  Finally, nobody really wants to ‘beg’ people to share their content on Twitter; it would be simpler to provide an easy tool for others to carry forth conversations which can be #hashtagged easily and spread amongst your followers.  You need to get more Twitter followers, right?

Enter now the king of 140 characters, Twitter, offering the most comprehensive solution for novice and expert webmasters (or even just plain-Jane blog owners like you – yeah, you) to have the ability to embed their conversation widget onto your blog.  Hold on as we explain this process thoroughly.

Gotta Find the Blasted Thing First

Discovering where in the dickens this blasted widget is located is the most trying step since two locations of opportunity exist: Wordpress or Twitter.  Twitter passes out an easy to use .zip file, or you can simply search for the plugin in your Wordpress dashboard by clicking the ‘Plugins’ link and going up to ‘Search’ and entering Twitter. 

It should be noted that when searching Wordpress, tons of search results will pop up; choose the most prudent one based on user reviews and general ratings.  Twitter, of course, would be the guaranteed hotspot for 100% unsolicited perfection in conversation widgets.

Once Found…

Now that you’ve located the widget, what you do next depends on where it was acquired.  Follow the instructions below for both instances of finding the Twitter conversation widget you wanted:

  • Twitter:  You will receive a .zip file which you’ll need to upload to Wordpress.  You’ll go to your Wordpress dashboard, hit plugins, and go to ‘Upload’.  Once you click ‘browse’, the location where your .zip file is located should be the Desktop; click it to upload.  Once uploaded, you can click ‘install’. Wordpress will install the package and, provided the .zip file isn’t corrupted, everything should install correctly.
  • Wordpress: Since you can one-click install your Twitter widget from the dashboard, simply located the widget you want, and click ‘install’ link.  Wordpress installs the files necessary and then signifies it’s completed.

You now have installed the widget, and now need to properly configure this to work with your blog.

Configuration

Once you’re back on the Wordpress dashboard, you’ll see the ‘Appearance’ section located on the right.  Find the ‘Widgets’ link and head towards that area.  The Widget ‘Options’ area will house your shiny new widget and you need to click-and-drag your widget to the proper area of your blog, more than likely the ‘Primary sidebar’ area.  Once you’ve dropped off your widget, you’ll now need to further configure what this cadaver does.  We’ll do this as such:

  • Type (or peck) your Twitter name into the space provided - not the full URL.  If you login as John Doe, your twitter handle is probably ‘@johndoe’.  Once entered, you can configure any and all parts of your feed to include how many Tweets are visible and other special things.
  • Ready for a bigger feed? You can easily specify the height of your widget in pixels.  If you’re unsure about the size of certain parameters, play around with various numbers to achieve the desired results.  Please note the normal unscrolled page length is usually 1080 pixels.

Now that you’ve connected your sidebar Twitter widget then played with your Twidget (a nice portmanteau) options, you’re ready to give the world the bird.  Eh, not that one.  The Twitter bird, of course.  But there are actually some fun things you can do, and this really depends on your CSS knowledge.  You can even embed Twitter into Flash.

Embedding The Widget Into Posts

If you want every blog post to consist of live Twitter conversations, you’ll need to embed the Twitter conversation feed into your HTML, which is accomplished through the following methods:

  1. Take your happy ass back to Twitter to create your conversation widget, again, because now we’ll create this from scratch to embed into posts.
  2. Ingeniously throw together your new widget with a well-conceived keyword which you intend on using within blog posts.
  3. Choose your height, theme color and active link color
  4. Enter your domain name into the box provided
  5. Snatch up your HTML code by clicking ‘save changes’

With your freshly commandeered code, it’s time to create your blog post with whatever keyword you’ve decided works best for your Twitter feed.  Since Hummingbird created a big humdinger for many a webmaster, you’ll need to choose your keyword and content pragmatically instead of covering rehashed B.S.  Once you’ve completed the blog post, flip the tab in Wordpress from ‘visual’ to ‘HTML’ and paste the code Twitter gave you wherever you wish for the feed to show up. 

If you wish to get innovative, plaster that bad boy right down the middle of the post to attract reader attention. Clicking ‘save draft’ will allow you to preview what your Twitter feed looks like inside the post; if displeased with where it’s located, you’ll revert back to your blog post and flip back to the ‘HTML’ tab where you can easily adjust the code up or down.

Coloring Your Twitter Feed

A really cool hack to totally manipulate the color of installed Twitter feed or conversation box entails a quick editing of the plugins’ CSS, manageable through the plugin sections (under ‘Editor’).  If you’ve managed to pick-up some crafty color hexadecimal experience, you simply located the Twitter plugin’s CSS inside the main website CSS file and tweak the colors to fit your fancy. 

You can edit everything applicable to this cutesy little square – so play with text, your background and even the custom URL which appears on the bottom of this widget if you feel daring.  If you get bored on Sunday, finagle around with your cascading style sheet and make Twitter look totally sci-fi on your blog.

A Few Cool Twitter Hacks For Wordpress

Hey kids, like digital malevolence? Read enough Twitter followers review blogs, and want to make a change? To anyone that calls themselves an ‘advanced programmer’ or the layman who wishes to jack their Wordpress functions.php file up, here’s some nifty hacks to consider which can make your drab daily blogging much more fun.  They are below for your deployment.

  • Affixing TinyURL’s to each post: Simply by accessing the functions.php file in your Wordpress editor, anyone can easily append ‘function getTinyUrl ($url) {$tinyurl = file_get_contents (“TINYURL API CREATE”) to it.  Of course, by accessing the single.php file, you can set the call to echo for the TinyURL created in the functions.
  • Tweet as an image: Twitsig.com offers the means to connect your Twitter username with their API to have the interesting capability to snap pictures of your last tweet and update them on any area of your blog or posts.  You’ll be given the code when you signup.
  • Integrate Instagram: You can now buy Instagram likes that can integrate with Twitter, too.
  • Subscribe to Wordpress Tweet Feed:  Yep, you can even create separate RSS feeds for your Wordpress Tweets.  Simply creating the twitter-page.php template file will suffice, along with about 14 lines of code which call your status into the main Wordpress feed.  An interesting way to obtain new Twitter followers which already subscribe to your Wordpress blog.

Conclusion

Unless you’re loaded on Jager Bombs, you’ll notice we’ve taken you through the digital voyage of integrating Twitter so your blog isn’t that abysmal. Sure, we were even kind enough to proffer a method to screw with the colors, and offered some simply yet fun hacks.  Having the ability to flip your visitors the bird will allow your subscriber base to grow and, on the reverse, will allow your Twitter base to increase. 

Always remember to put forth excellent content, embed separate Twitter conversations for selected keywords and engage your audience by answering questions or feedbacks left both through Twitter and your shiny blog.

FreelanceWriter

Dave Smitherson

Dave, navigating the cantankerous quagmire one calls life with startling persistence, offers his experience and love for general news to all interested people of our galaxy.  Writing about the flows of life at Vimeo, watching the Yankees piss away another season and randomly dialing telemarketing companies is among his favorite things. 

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