What advice did people give you when you first started blogging? I bet I can guess. Newbies attempting to make their mark are told again and again that the key to growth is to write, write, write. ‘Don’t think about it’ web elders bark. ‘Don’t agonise about it. Don’t dream about it. Just click your New Post tab and do it!’
Almost every article you’ll read advises you to kneel at the altar of the Regular Update. Regular updating is the key to more visitors, a lower bounce rate and increased Adsense revenue, we are advised with a scholarly nod.
While this advice is far from all-you-need-to-know (personally, I’d emphasise a few other things first: choose a narrow topic that you know a lot about, get involved in web communities covering similar topics, don’t try to monetize too quickly, choose a powerful platform like WordPress, etc, etc.) it is important.
A dead blog is one of the most obvious things to spot. A political homepage post about Hillary’s run for the democratic candidacy? A fashion blog with no mention of colour-blocking? A music site without a single snide remark about Dubstep? You’ve got yourself a deady >>>>
But in our busy times, people are looking for shortcuts. Updating your blog with very short posts via email has become popular: no fuss, no stress, six posts a day, and you look as current as Agyness Deyn. The explosion in microblogging platforms like Tumblr has supported this trend: nobody expects blog posts to be long and comprehensive anymore. In fact (like Agyness Deyn’s hair), the shorter the better!
Another way to keep current is to add a Twitter feed to your site. Even if your last post was six hours ago, your tweet from six minutes ago can be there in a neat sidebar, breaking the news that Mitt Romney is the new republican candidate (or whatever) before anyone else.
There are many ways to use Twitter to enhance your blog – and vice versa. Integrating Twitter and WordPress sites is especially easy – there are tons of plug-ins, apps and tricks that can help you streamline your online life in this way, bringing all your web actions together.
Are you convinced yet? Integrating WordPress with Twitter is the new fibre: it will keep you regular, and keep you healthy.
5 Tools for Integrating WordPress and Twitter
This WordPress plug-in will do a few different things: firstly, it will place a Tweet This button at the end of each blog post, allowing anyone with a Twitter account (not just your Twitter followers) to publicise your story on Twitter using one of those neat small URLs. You can choose to generate yours using Adjix.com, B2l.me, Bit.ly, Is.gd, Metamark.net, SnipURL.com, Su.pr, TinyURL.com, or Tweetburner.com.
This button is similar to the Digg This buttons that were popular a couple of years ago and allowed bloggers to be contenders in the Digg Wars – a successful battle could make a blogger like the Gallic campaign made Julius Caesar.
Secondly, you have the option of adding a few different widgets to your sidebar: Favourited Tweets, My-Last-Tweets, Most Tweeted Items and Recent Tweets. The most tweeted widget is especially handy – it works like a popular posts widget, adding a list of stories that are getting the most Twitter love.
Thirdly, a list of tweetbacks will appear at the end of your post. This will list any publicity your article is getting on Twitter.
Finally – and this is the most basic but perhaps most useful feature – all new posts will automatically go to Twitter.
This highly recommended app is compatible with WordPress versions 2.7 to 3.3.1. There are a lot of plug-ins that will do one or some of the things listed above; TweetSuite has rendered them obsolete in one fell swoop. Why download six plug-ins when you can download one?
You can manipulate your URL format and choose your Tweet This button in the TweetSuite options menu.
They’re calling it ‘Feedburner for Twitter’. This app is perfect for bloggers with a large Twitter following who want to show it off.
Sign up at TwitterCounter.com to get the code. You’ll have to paste it into your sidebar.php file, then the site will start tracking your activity. Follower stats will appear in your WordPress sidebar in the format you select.
The info menu can show you your follower growth in graphical format, as well as displaying handy stats like average growth per day.
A very innovative sidebar widget that blends visuals with details of Twitter action. Flickr images and tweets that share the same hashtags are mashed up.
Any topic can be covered, as long as there is a hashtag for it. In these days of #WillYouGetSlapped and #DisneyPickUpLines, you can bet there will be something!
Use TwitterFountain to produce an original content sidebar without signing up for any paid services.
A widget that shows Twitter users who have recently been to your blog. Find interesting people to follow – these users are likely to follow you back.
Spending a lot of time on your blog? Want to tweet your brilliant ideas as they hit you, without leaving the page?
Twit-Twoo provides a sidebar that lets you do just this. Ajax takes care of the processing so your WordPress page doesn’t even have to reload for your new tweet to appear on your Twitter account.
No more rushing off to Twitter then returning to WordPress to find that your blog post didn’t autosave.
Twit-Twoo will also send you alerts (like appointment reminders) via Twitter – it is aimed at avid users who would benefit from integrating all their online activity within Twitter (rather than Google or Facebook).
Bringing your Twitter and WordPress activity together can save a lot of time and sometimes opens up new worlds – new ideas – you never thought of. Anyone wanting to streamline their online life or increase their following/visitor count can gain a lot from the available apps – these are just five of the best.
Have I missed anything? Please let me know about any neat integration ideas in the comments.
Sandra is a Melbourne writer with a special interest in technology and politics; she also bashes out the occasional book review. She enjoys tea, sunsets, painting and playing Magic: The Gathering with her soon-to-be husband.