Love it or hate it, the microblogging service that started back in 2006 has made an undeniable impact not only in the world of social networking, but on the world in general. Who can forget the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, where the site gave hundreds of Egyptians a platform to share the truth of what was going on when nearly all other options had been restricted? Never before had a social media service been used in such a paramount way and it was a huge wake up call about how powerful the site could be: if you want to get a message out quickly and to as many people as possible, Twitter is the way to do it.
The amount of exposure Twitter provides has made it very appealing to both businesses and individuals—bloggers included—wanting to reach a large audience and it’s not difficult to understand why. The number of people who use Twitter would create the twelfth largest country in the world (with eleven new accounts being created every second), and more searches are made through the site each month than on Yahoo and Bing combined. With those kinds of stats, it would go against all reasonable judgement not to jump on the 140-character bandwagon for marketing and promotional purposes.
With its increasing popularity, there has been a demand to find ways to utilize its potential, especially among WordPress users, and the people have responded with an abundance of Twitter-centric plugins and hacks. This post focuses on some of the most useful plugins to help WordPress users get the most out of Twitter in their blogs.
Note: Some of these plugins may require knowledge of basic HTML and CSS. For WordPress beginners, this post on WPBeginner gives step-by-step instructions on how to install plugins to a WordPress blog.
With over a million downloads, the Twitter Tools plugin is one of the most popular Twitter related plugins available to WordPress users. The plugin is designed to completely integrate your WordPress blog and Twitter accounts (yes, plural) and offers a couple of other useful features like easily creating a Tweet with each blog post.
Click To Tweet creates tweetable content for your readers with a simple yet elegant box—that works well with any theme—placed directly into a blog post. Best of all, the customizable box text allows you to highlight the most intriguing quote of the post to be tweeted by readers.
A blog post doesn’t always get a large number of comments, but there could be a discussion on Twitter about it! Twitter Mentions As Comments is the clever plugin that will automatically find any and all mentions of your site/post and add it to your comments section. The plugin comes with the added options of specifying certain posts to check and excluding retweets.
Many WordPress sites are created for multiple users and while the WordPress registration process isn’t terrible, the folks at Nextend wanted a faster and easier way for Twitter users sign up on a WordPress site. Twitter Connect was the result. Install this plugin and new users will be able to register and log in to your WordPress blog with their existing Twitter account in a single click. Non-Twitter users will still be able to register as before, but the convenience of Nextend Twitter Connect makes it a must have plugin to improve your site.
Like Click To Tweet, the Hupso Share Buttons plugin makes it easy for your readers to share your blog posts on Twitter as well other major social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, etc. The plugin adds the buttons to each of your posts—which can be configured by type, size, position, and social networking services—and even offers a sidebar widget.
The aptly named Twitter Plugin by BestWebSoft allows WordPress bloggers to easily create a follow button for each post to quickly enable Twitter users to follow your account. Bloggers can use the default button with the number of followers or use a custom image. The plugin can also add a Twitter “Like” button to your blog.
There are over a dozen WordPress Twitter feed plugins to choose from and only by looking into each will you know which one is the best for your needs, but the Kebo Twitter Feed is the first you should seriously consider. Unlike some of the other options out there, this plugin eliminates the hassle of creating a Twitter App—which some require before being able to display the feed—so you can get it set-up in just a couple of clicks. The plugin includes other features like choosing to show profile images and refreshing tweets in the background to minimize page load impact.
These plugins are not only useful for improving your site but your Twitter account as well. It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your followers—“Twitterpreneur” Anton Perlkvist speaks about that and shares other Twitter tips in this interview—and attract new ones whenever possible and these plugins can help, but it doesn’t end with Twitter.
Image Credits: Twitter.com and applicable plugin information pages on WordPress.org.