Twitter Cards for Blogs: How to Set Them Up

Have you heard of Twitter cards?

Are you wondering how you can use them for your business?

To learn about how Twitter cards can be beneficial to your blog, this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast goes deep on the subject.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode you’ll discover the different types of Twitter cards available, how to set them up and what to tweak in order to have more customization.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

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Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

Twitter Cards for Blogs

What is a Twitter card?

A Twitter card is a way for you to add more text and images to your tweets. Twitter cards give you a lot more options than you get with an ordinary tweet.

With a normal tweet, you can upload an image that has to be rectangular. If it isn’t, Twitter crops the top and bottom for it to fit. When you create a tweet with an image, the default is displayed on Twitter.com and on mobile apps.

tweet with pic

A tweet with an image.

Tweets with images do not support Twitter cards. They are completely separate.

Twitter cards work similarly to how Facebook pulls in default information from a post when you paste a URL into Facebook. It pulls in an image, a headline and some text.

Listen to the show to hear why I believe Twitter cards only work on Twitter.com and their own mobile app right now.

How a Twitter card works

If you go to Twitter.com and go to a Twitter account that has Twitter cards enabled, you’ll see the option to View Summary in the bottom right of the tweet.

view summary twitter mka

When you see View Summary in a tweet, you know that a Twitter account has Twitter cards enabled.

With Twitter’s mobile app, you have to click on the tweet to see the Summary card. You’ll hear the advantages and disadvantages of this one-click process.

One of the benefits you get with a Twitter card is the amount of content you can add. You get 70 additional characters for the title, and 200 additional characters for your description.

extra characters i -twitter card

You can add much more text with a Twitter Summary card.

When you click on View Summary in a tweet, you’ll notice that below the tweet is where your additional content appears. There’s also the ability to include images.

You can even include tall images. For example, I was able to display an image that was 480 x 580 pixels within a Twitter card.

Listen to the show to find out what information you can include and what is powerful if you have a multi-author blog.

Twitter card benefits for bloggers

There are three types of Twitter cards that work well for bloggers. These are the Summary card, the Summary card with large image and the Photo card.

1. The Summary card is the default that most bloggers will likely choose. It shows a small image that’s offset to the right, and all text is below it. This is very similar to how Facebook works.

tweet summary

The Summary card would probably appeal the most to bloggers.

2. The Summary card with large image is a better option if you have nice big images on your blog.

The difference here is that the large image is above the content. When someone hits View Summary, they will see the large image before the additional information you have included.

tweet summary large image

The Summary card with large image is great if you have a blog with larger images.

3. The Photo card is essentially the same as the Summary card with large image, except it doesn’t have the summary. Instead you just see the photo with a headline.

To see a Photo card in use, you can check out Mashable on Twitter. At Social Media Examiner, we use the Summary card and we use the Summary card with large image for My Kids’ Adventures.

Listen to the show to discover how the images you create for Facebook Open Graph on your blog can also be used for Summary cards.

How to set up a WordPress blog to work with Summary cards

First of all, you need to install the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. If you use a different SEO plugin, then don’t worry. You’ll still find this section valuable, as I’ll let you know another way that you can do this without the SEO by Yoast plugin.

wordpress seo by yoast

Install the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.

If you already use Yoast, then you will find it very simple.

  1. Go into Yoast.
  2. Click on the Social setting under the menu.
  3. Click on the Twitter tab.

You’ll then see an option that says ‘Add Twitter card meta data’. You need to check this, input your Twitter username and select ‘The default card type you want to use’.

setup yoast twitter card

Make sure you choose the ‘Add Twitter card meta data’ option.

Yoast currently only supports two card types, which are the Summary card and the Summary card with large image.

When you go through this process, Yoast will apply this to every blog post on your site. You’ll hear what happens to old tweets if you decide to go back and change your option.

You have no control over the image that Yoast randomly picks for your Summary card. However, I do have a solution for this later in the article.

Once you’ve selected the type of card you want to use, you need to hit Save and then clear your website cache.

Listen to the show to find out why it’s important to clear all of your cache if you use caching software like W3 Total Cache.

Validate your website with Twitter

The next step is to validate your website with Twitter. The plugins I mention below, used along with Yoast, provide a direct link to the validator. You only have to do this once for each card type for your entire website.

Once you’ve logged into the validator, it will ask you ‘What type of Twitter card do you want to validate?’ You need to choose the card that you’ve already selected in your Yoast settings.

Next, you need to click on the tab that says ‘Validate & Apply’. It validates that you have the proper code set up on your website, and takes you into an approval process with Twitter.

twitter card validator

Click on the Validate & Apply tab.

You need to enter a URL to validate. Whatever you do, don’t enter your homepage URL. Instead you need to enter an actual link to a blog post. You’ll then receive an acknowledgement, followed by a notification that you have been approved. The process is very quick.

Yoast doesn’t add code to your homepage or to an actual blog post.

Listen to the show discover the process needed each time you want to swap between the different types of Summary cards.

The next step after validation

Now that you have been approved by Twitter, you need to test it on your Twitter account. All you have to do is take any link, choose one of your Twitter accounts and create a tweet.

You have to include some words in front of the link, just like you would for a normal tweet. Within your Twitter stream, you should now see View Summary in the bottom right-hand corner.

all tweets with view summary

Notice the View Summary in all tweets.

When you click on View Summary, you’ll be able to see how it looks.

Listen to the show to hear why it’s important to include more than a couple of words in front of your link.

How to control the image used for your articles

I mentioned earlier that I had a solution for you if you don’t use Yoast. You need a WordPress plugin called JM Twitter Cards.

One of the challenges with Yoast is that it randomly chooses which image to include in your Summary card, whereas with the JM Twitter Cards plugin, you can choose a default image for each article.

jm twitter cards plugin

If you don’t use Yoast, install the JM Twitter Cards plugin.

However, this plugin does integrate with Yoast, and it will automatically pull in your Yoast settings.

These are the steps you need to take be able to select an image from a blog post.

  1. Install the JM Twitter Cards plugin.
  2. Go into the General Settings of the plugin.
  3. Input your Twitter account and card type that you want to use as your default.
  4. Under the meta box tab, make sure the meta box is set to display.
  5. Hit the Save button.

Now you can go into any of your published articles and when you scroll down, you’ll see a new box with the option to upload or paste in a URL of an image you want to use. The image you choose will be used as the default Twitter Summary card for that particular article.

jm twitter cards

You’re allowed to choose a particular URL from your blog post when you use the JM Twitter Cards plugin.

Once you’ve added the URL, make sure you update the post and clear your cache. You’ll be able to see how it works because the article has already been published.

The image you choose can either be one that’s already in your blog post or one that you have custom created.

Listen to the show to hear why it helps to get into a production cycle with these images.

twitter cards podcast image

Check out the full podcast episode to learn more about Twitter Cards.

Other Show Mentions

parenting adventures podcast michael stelznerI’m launching a brand-new podcast for My Kids’ Adventures called Parenting Adventures. I couldn’t think of a better way to launch than to let my existing listeners hear a clip from the very first episode.

If you’re a parent or grandparent, and you want to discover ways to have fun and exciting times with your kids, then you should definitely check it out.

You’ll hear a sample from the show, where I interview Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks, who blog at GoingWild.net.

Jo and Fiona share different ways you can transform something as simple as a stick into an outdoor adventure with your kids.

If you like the Parenting Adventures podcast or know someone who might like it, I’d appreciate it if you could help me get the word out. All you have to do is click here and it will pre-populate a tweet into your Twitter stream.

Hopefully we can make a difference in people’s lives.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know what you think.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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What do you think? What are your thoughts on using Twitter cards for your blog? Please leave your comments below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.proyectaprint.com/ Jose Melgar

    Mike, thanks for sharing this. I admit I will be listening to this episode 2 or 3 more times until I actually get the hang of these twitter cards. But thanks for putting the spotlight on this new tool.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad you liked it Jose!

  • http://www.michaelherold.de Michael Herold

    I’m writing this comment while something really weird is happening – I have to WAIT for the new episode to download. That’s a first.
    Early this february I stayed in Thailand for a few months and then flew onward to New Zealand. A day before I flew out of Bangkok my electric wheelchair broke down. And while I made it to Auckland, I was literally stuck in my hotel room until I could fix it and get some spare parts. It was in this utterly miserable time that I found your podcast (and I honestly don’t remember what got me there, I think Michael Hyatt might have mentioned it?) – and I started listening to it from episode ONE while living off of pizza deliveries. I flew back home to Germany a month later (I was stuck in that room for a week), and yesterday I finished listening to the last episode I had on my phone.
    It’s been an amazing education, thank you so much for doing all of these. I thought I had a clue about what I was doing back then, but I didn’t. In hindsight I got lucky by being stuck or I’d have never given this a try!

    So instead of sending you a photo of me listening (I’m still watching the download bar), I’m sending you a photo about what I was doing when I pushed play on Episode 001.

    Thanks man!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Wow! Awesome Michael! That is devotion

  • http://www.shannonhutcheson.ca/ Shannon

    This is extremely helpful and so bookmark worthy. Shared on all my social media profiles as well. Thank you!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Shannon

  • treb072410

    Great post Michael… Thanks for sharing!.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Treb

  • Kristan Braziel

    Sooo much value in this podcast and the links that followed. You’ve got a new subscriber!

  • http://unbounce.com Tia Kelly

    This is something we’re about to start doing with our Unbounce blog posts! We’re hoping engagement will go up and more people might want to click through to our content. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions. Super clear :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Kristan!

  • Eric Moeller

    Do you have any recommendations what to do if you encounter an ‘invalid card type’ error message on the Twitter card validator page? I use Yoast SEO on my WP blog (also use Optimize Press 2). Any suggestions? Thanks.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Make Sure your cache is cleared

  • http://pregnancyperfect.com/ Anabell Ingleton

    Hi Michael! Thanks for the great info. My twitter posts looks so great now. You guys offer such great tips. I will always support you!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    My pleasure

  • http://www.digytouch.com Konrad W. Gorak

    Or… there is even easier way to use Twitter cards. There is a great and easy to use, recently created app designed for setting up Twitter cads. It’s called DeweyBird. You don’t need any plugins. I’ve recently started using Dewey app and it saves a lot of time and frustrations.

  • http://www.digytouch.com Konrad W. Gorak

    Eric try using DeweyBird app instead – just google it. It was recently created by one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s friend. Great stuff, still in beta version though, but worth using, or at least trying. Much easier to set up than with the use of wordpress plugins. Hope it helps and save you some time ;)

  • treb072410

    your most welcome, cant wait to read your next work Michael..

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Konrad

  • http://blog.eurekasoft.com Eureka Software

    Great post! Our Twitter cards are working, but when I sent a tweet via Sprout Social (and link was shortened with Bitly), the summary does not show up. I’m not sure whether it’s an issue with Sprout Social or Bitly yet. Has anyone else experienced this?
    - Cristy

  • Marcio Caparica

    Hello there! I’ve noticed that some tweets show up with their images (I
    suppose from the Photo Card) already expanded, while the ones I got for
    my blog do not do that, requiring the user to click on “expand” to see
    the photo or the summary. Do you guys know why does that happen? How can
    I make my Photo Card or Summary With Large Image Card show up already
    expanded on my followers’ stream?

  • http://www.heartachetohealing.com/ JoAnne Funch

    Thanks Mike, I just got around to implementing Twitter cards and when I requested validation Twitter did not approve the URL I submitted which was from a blog post & redirected me to a longer form which I completed with an auto reply stating “Thanks for applying to be part of Twitter’s cards service. We’ll review
    your request as soon as possible. Expect a few weeks for turn-around
    time. You will receive an email when your request has been reviewed.” – has anyone else had this happen?

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