Though Twitter is powerful all on its own, integrating it into your site makes it even more robust. Finding ways to bring Twitter into your site can help you build community, get readers to retweet and promote your content, and can even help you gain followers by increasing your visibility and letting people know you’re out there.
With Twitter’s popularity, a number of great tools have sprouted up over the past year to help site owners use the microblogging platform more efficiently and engage readers. Below are some of my personal favorites.
The Twitter Widget
The easiest way to integrate Twitter onto your site is to use the default Twitter widget created by Twitter itself. Twitter gives you the option of two different widgets that you can drop into the sidebar of your site (or any other page, for that matter): The Profile Widget and the Search Widget.
- Profile Widget: Displays your most recent Twitter updates on your site.
- Search Widget: Displays a real-time Twitter Search for your name/company. (Note: There’s no Adult filter souse with caution.)
To get the widget on your site, simply choose which one you’d like, customize it (size, colors, etc) and then copy and paste the code generated onto your site. Very easy.
Follow Me button
Follow me buttons help advertise to readers/customers that you’re on Twitter and makes it easy for them to follow you with one click. You’ll find lots of sites that now offer Follow Me buttons, however, I’m partial to Twitter Buttons since they were one of the first out of the gate. With Twitter Buttons, you input your Twitter username and the site will generate of number of different follow me buttons for you to choose from using different colors, sizes, typefaces and designs. You simply pick which button you like and copy/paste the HTML needed to generate it.
Twitip ID is a neat plugin that adds an extra field to your comment form so that readers can share their Twitter username along with their name and photo. By allowing your commenters to share their Twitter handle it helps you to grow your community by helping users find and interact with one another off your site. It’s simple, but powerful!
TweetMeme’s Retweet button
TweetBacks for WordPress
One of the downsides of Twitter for bloggers is that it can split the conversation happening about you. The people talking about you on Twitter are separated from those having conversations in the comment section of your blog. The TweetBacks WordPress plugin helps to bring both conversations together by importing the tweets associated with the post URL and displaying them as comments on your blog. Through the plugin, you have the choice of displaying them in between the other comments on your blog or displaying them separately. As a personal preference, I like displaying them separately.
Intense Debate is another option for combining tweets and blog comments.
This is a WordPress plugin that gives you not only the hammer, but the entire toolbox to go with it. TweetSuite includes a new “Tweet this” button, a ReTweet button for each Tweetback, the ability to auto update Twitter with your latest blog posts, as well as a whole bunch of cool widgets to choose from to display your most tweeted, recently tweeted, last tweeted and the tweets you Favorited. Fear not, though, you don’t have to use them all. Just pick and choose which ones you’re interested in. TweetSuite gives you full power to integrate Twitter into your site via whole host of options.
Those are some of my favorite ways to integrate Twitter into my site. Give me yours!