Twitter cards are the latest upgrade to twitter that allows you to add extra information to your tweet when sharing a link. They come in a number of different formats – the one that is most likely to be useful to a business or personal blog is the summary card, which adds a headline, excerpt and pic. Big platforms like wordpress.com have already implemented cards for their users – but it’s easy to do if you’re self hosted as well.
Still not sure what they are? Here’s an example – my first tweeted article from technology solved that includes a twitter card.
Ten minute tip – sharing and following. http://t.co/6jFrL4zcvM (testing twitter cards integration).
— Jax Blunt (@liveotherwise) June 15, 2013
The card gives you that extra bit under the 140 characters, and hopefully makes your tweet that little bit more enticing to encourage click through. You’ve probably seen them on twitter from newspaper articles at the very least.
As you might imagine, there are a number of different ways to implement them for your site. Yoast’s WordPress SEO has a twitter section under social if you’re using it, or you can go for a standalone plugin that just does the card integration, which is what I’ve opted for this time, using Twitter Cards.
The plugin doesn’t require any set up, but you do then go to validate it at twitter itself. I was a bit dismayed once I’d filled in all the fields to get a message saying I’d get feedback in a few weeks – but being the impatient sort, I tested it anyway, and it worked fine.
Big hint: twitter cards apply to individual articles, *not* to your home page. If you look for the markup in your homepage you won’t find it, and if you try to validate your home page it will fail. Work from a post within your site. (There, I’ve just saved you the ten minutes I wasted doing it wrong earlier!) Also, it seems that short link tweets from the jetpack publicise don’t get the card associated with them, possibly because it’s not showing the validated domain?
And that’s about all there is to it. So off you pop and give it a whirl, and let me know how you get on. If you found this article useful, don’t forget to follow the blog either via email or on G+.