Twitter is without a doubt my most popular referral traffic source every month. It’s where I have the most followers, and where I engage the most because to be quite honest…it’s by far my favourite platform. I love chatting to bloggers, and sharing my posts and getting favourites, retweets and responses. Who doesn’t love that?
The problem I started to find after some time blogging was that I don’t always have the time to schedule in tweets to go out promoting my posts, and I found that sometimes my traffic would really suffer for it. As I work full time, I was having to try and schedule updates before work, over my lunch break, and in the evenings just to stay on top of it. It wasn’t impossible, but it wasn’t something I always had time for.
I needed to find a way to automate the process as much as I could without annoying people. So, after a bit of digging and asking around Facebook groups, I found a way to schedule tweets without actually really needing to do anything!
The result? My Twitter referral traffic increased from 192 visits between 16th Feb and 7th March, to 370 between 8th-28th March.
To some that may seem like a small number of visits (after all, it all depends on many factors, first of all the number of followers you have on Twitter), but when looking on my Google Analytics, that is a 92% increase in traffic from Twitter. It basically almost doubled.
My overall site visits also improved over this time period by just over 20%. Again, we aren’t dealing with life-changing numbers here, as my blog pretty much never reaches a 3 digit number of visits in any single day, but at base value, a 20% increase of traffic is definitely nothing to sniff at.
But how valuable is this traffic?
It’s no good just driving more people to the site for them to immediately leave.
Well, I now receive new comments on my blog on a daily basis – and not just for my latest posts. I am able to generate traffic to posts that are week’s old, but still relevant. I also occasionally get tweet responses to blog posts (even ones that are a few weeks old).
Before using this new way of scheduling tweets, I would usually get a few comments on my latest posts, or no comments at all. Driving engagement to some of my older posts which may not have been a ‘hit’ at the time, is a pretty good feeling, and also helps me figure out what content works best and what might need improving on.
So, what did I do?
So you’re probably wondering how I automated the scheduling process, right?
This is where Blogger users are going to get mad at me because the way I sorted it was using a WordPress plugin. Sorry guys, but this is a strong argument for making the switch!
The plugin I used was Evergreen Post Tweeter which basically allows you to set your own schedule by picking the days and times you want tweets to go out, and also selecting the categories you want to include/exclude.
It also allows you to choose how far back you want to go with which posts can be shared – for example, if you only want posts from the past 7 days to be shared on the schedule, you can do that.
But don’t automated tweets annoy people?
Since installing and using this plugin, I haven’t had any issues with this (as far as I am aware). It’s all about breaking up the automated tweets with engagement, and not overdoing it with the schedule.
It’s all a delicate balance really!
How to use the plugin
The plugin is really easy to use – you just need to Install it to your WordPress blog, activate it, authorise it to connect with your Twitter account and sort the settings to your liking.
To access the set up, once the plugin is installed and activated, you’ll find it nestled under Settings. Click Evergreen Post Tweeter, and you can manage it all from there. It even keeps a log and lets you know when your next tweet is due to send.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can set:
Enable logging: Check the box if you want a log of actions saved. I have mine checked just in case anything goes wrong and I can see when it happened and contact the plugin’s creators if I encounter any problems.
Additional text: This is anything else you want the tweets to say other than the title of the post and a link. For example, you might want a hashtag at the end of the tweet.
Additional text location: You can decide here whether you want the additional text at the end or beginning of the tweet. Hashtags make most sense at the end, but if you want to add something like ‘Recommended reading:’, this would obviously make more sense at the beginning!
Use URL tracking: I haven’t used this option, but it’s basically to allow you to use trackable URLs. To be honest, Twitter’s analytics are pretty great and will show you the number of post clicks, so I find this setting to be a bit redundant!
Use URL link shortener: As above, I don’t really see the point of this. Unless you are adding loads of additional text to the tweet, there’s no need for this as Twitter shortens links anyway.
Minimum age and maximum age of post: This is how you set how far back to go with your posts. If you want to include today’s post, set the minimum age to 0. If you want it to include every single post, put 0 in maximum too. I set mine to minimum 0, max 60 as I don’t want to include seasonal posts for example!
Select post type: Using this plugin, you can also share pages as well as posts (or opt to only share pages). This doesn’t really apply to my blog so I have it set to Posts only.
Select categories: This is where you choose which categories you want included. I have only excluded my Monthly Favourites posts as they’re obviously quite topical. Anything else is pretty ‘evergreen’ and therefore I’m happy for it to be shared.
Select tags: If you have tags on your posts, then you can do the same as above. I don’t use tags, but it could be useful if you did. For example, if you had tags on posts like ‘Christmas’, you could exclude those until it was more relevant to share that sort of content.
Schedule tweets: Here you get a selection of the days of the week, and you can choose as many as you like. I’ve picked all days, as there isn’t a day of the week where I wouldn’t want to be sharing content. After the days, you can Add Tweeting Time – adding as many as you like.
With each one, you choose the time and then can add the next. I have 9 separate tweeting times with typically an hour between them. I know some bloggers tweet out their content a lot more than this, but I think it’s all relative really, as you don’t want to be bombarding people.
Evergreen Plugin Admin URL: You can ignore this, as it’s just the URL to the settings page. However, if it’s wrong, you’ll need to manually update it and update the settings for everything to work properly.
Below these options, you can Update settings (self explanatory), Tweet now! which allows you to test everything is working a-OK, and Reset Settings – again, you know what that will do.
So there we have it – the plugin I used to improve my Twitter traffic by over 90% aka, almost doubling my Twitter referrals! Just a word of caution, do make sure you aren’t automating tweets too much and not still engaging as a human being on Twitter, because you may find you lose followers as a result. There’s nothing more annoying than continuous promotion all of the time!
Any questions, or have any other recommendations to improve that all-important Twitter traffic? Drop me a comment below!