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Twittering Your Blog: 7 WordPress Plugins

These days, Twitter is one of the major ways to share your posts. And everything else you feel like. The signal to noise ratio is not the best, but it is far too widespread (and spreading) to ignore. And making it easy for people to follow you there means a ready made audience you can tell about your new posts. So the first thing you need to do is add a button on your site so they can follow you. Then, make it easy for yourself to post tweets about your posts. Oh, and check out Dan Zarrella’s advice about what words to use when tweeting your post.

Tweet Tweet

TweetMe does not have many options right now. The only one is the ability to change the template message. The author wanted a plugin that would sent a tweet when he posted a blog entry, then wouldn’t when he edited it. This plugin does that, using bit.ly for short URLs. If that is all you want for every post, this is probably the plugin for you.

Twitme automatically sends a tweet to Twitter every time you post. It sets up a separate menu on your dashboard where you put in your account name and password, it will then post a link to your new posts. You can choose to exclude categories, which allows you to focus what you share there, and you can set an auto-reply for people that start following you. The message you send can either be a template or a short post summer, both with the URL (regular or shortened) of your post.

A very nice feature is the ability to follow your Twitter account from right there on your dashboard. Including showing your followers and allowing you to send tweets or direct messages from there. Not hard to set up, and automates one of the most important ways to publicize your posts on the web today. A choice of URL shorting service and finer control over which pages and posts are sent would be nice additions, but are fairly minor points.

WP to Twitter also auto-tweets your new posts to Twitter. One of the thing that endeared this one to me is that it checks your server to see if you have the necessary php functions for it to work. This is one answer to a pet peeve of mine. There are quite a few options available for this plugin, including tweeting new pages, additions to your blogroll, sending tweets when you remote publish, and integrating Google Analytics, including channels.

It uses Cli.gs on your tweets, and if you have an account there you can see the traffic associated with your short URLs. You can set it to auto-tweet your posts, or only when you check a box on the edit page. And you can write the tweet right there on your edit page at the same time. One of the major parts of the plugin is support for multiple authors, allowing each to use their own Twitter account. A more involved setup, but a huge amount of flexibility.

Tweetbacks is not a way for others to follow you. It is for putting tweets about your posts into the comments section of the post. It defaults to putting the tweets right into your comment stream, but the author gives instructions for hacking your php to separate your tweetbacks from your comments and pingbacks.

You can block specific usernames, and clean up your database to remove spammers that get through, and it allows you to block retweets. It will also pick up old tweets about your posts from before adding the plugin and add them in. There have been some issues with spamming comments getting into feeds, so it is important to keep an eye on what is coming into your site. A good idea, but use with caution.

Twitter Tools is a very popular plugin, and looking at the options it is easy to see why. It gives you the ability to automatically tweet about posts, or to decide on a post by post basis what is sent. It will also post your tweets on your blog individually and create a digest post of your tweets, either daily, weekly, or both, allowing you to set the time the post is created. It also provides a sidebar widget that shows your recent tweets and allows you to post from right there to Twitter.

Unfortunately, there are some serious downsides to the plugin. You have no control over the message sent to Twitter, it is hardcoded into the plugin to avoid a loop of posts and tweets. It doesn’t use a URL shortening service, but the author does provide a hook that can be used to pass the URL to a service. The widget has no style of its own, but it does have some CSS tags that can be styled if you dig them out. There are some nice features to this plugin, but the necessity of coding CSS or PHP to do things other do out of the box means it is probably not a good fit for most people.

Tweet This is not a plugin for tweeting your posts on Twitter. At least not by you. It places a Twitter icon at the bottom of your post for your readers to use, just like other other social site icons. If they click on the icon, it takes them to Twitter, with the post title and shortened URL already in the text box. You can modify the exact message placed in the text box, and you have your choice of 16 different ways of shortening the URL. There are also a decent number of options on placing the icons on pages and posts. And you can choose to have a list of the tweets about the post under the content.

Despite the name of the plugin, it is not just for Twitter. The author has included 7 other services, including Digg, StumbleUpon, Plurk, and Ping.fm. None of them have as many icon choices as Twitter, although still a nice variety, and there is no listing of how many times they have been used. A nice plugin, that can make it easier for your readers to share your posts, but aside from choosing the URL shortening service and the listing of how often the post is tweeted, it is not too different from the plugins I looked at last week. I have to say, the author does give great support on his blog.

There is one more plugin to keep an eye on. If you really want to integrate Twitter into your blog, TweetSuite is a one stop shop for pretty much everything you could want to add. Buttons for your readers to tweet and retweet your posts, tweetbacks, auto-tweet new posts, and 4 different widgets for your sidebar. And an impressive amount of control of all of them.

Sad to say, there a few things missing that keep this from having everything. First, there is no way to post a tweet from your site. Not a major problem, there are so many ways to post already it is hard to keep up. The second thing is a lack of fine control over the auto-tweet function. It is not possible to designate whether individual posts will or won’t be sent to Twitter. It is all or none. And what is posted is also somewhat lacking. Finally, there is no Follow Me option on any of the widgets. But the plugin is still basically in beta, with the author wanting to add in more features. As it stands, it is already a very nice plugin, not too hard to install, with loads of features.

Final Words

So there are 6 finished and 1 unfinished plugins for getting your blog posts to Twitter. And vice versa in a couple of cases. You should be able to find something that suits your needs in the list, but if you don’t, don’t despair. This is far from all of the available Twitter plugins, but I need to cut things off somewhere.

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