April 2, 2014

Have you ever tried to share someone's blog post only to have the generated tweet look ridiculous? Maybe the title is cut off or their name isn't included, or maybe it's blank altogether. These tweets don't do much to generate interest in those blog posts.

Here are some of the most common tweet mistakes that bloggers make:

  • Blog title is cut off
  • The blog site (or author) isn't mentioned in the tweet
  • The tweet is shared "via @sharethis" or other auto-generated source
  • The tweet uses coding format in place of characters (like ampersands)
  • The tweet exceeds 140 characters
  • The link in the tweet doesn't work
  • The tweet is left blank

But what if your blog's tweets are guilty of these shameful errors? What if you're losing valuable traffic?

Have you ever verified how your tweets go out? Have you updated your settings to ensure you're providing the best information?

Here's what you can do to avoid these mistakes and ensure people are getting through to your blog.

Don't Cut Off Your Blog Title

There are a couple things that may leave your blog title hanging.

First, if your title is too long, Twitter will condense it. Know how much space you have to write. Then keep your titles shorter than that! Also, if you have your tweets set up to include the name of your site following the title, make sure that you account for this additional space.

Another cause that often cuts off your blog titles is quotation marks. Auto shares to Twitter often get cut off if you have quotation marks in your blog title. I've personally made this mistake before so I no longer include quotation marks in any of my blog titles.

Don't Share Anonymous Posts

You wrote the post, you want people to know you did, so why do Twitter shares from your blog not include your name? Or, just as annoyingly, they are shared via "sharethis" or "wordpressdotcom" or other entity not related to you.

It's very simple to ensure that all shares from your site include your @name and give you credit. It also allows you to see how often and who is sharing your blog posts because you'll receive notification. But most importantly, it puts your name out there in the Twitterverse.

Whether you're using the default share settings on your site or a widget, check your settings and ensure that the Twitter shares are linked to your Twitter handle.

Don't Create Illegible Tweets

Twitter has a long-standing conflict with ampersands (the "&" symbol) and sometimes other symbols too. Sometimes you'll send a freshly written tweet with the "&" and it all goes well. Sometimes you'll share a post that includes a "&" symbol in the title and it comes out looking like this: &

When you leave these funny looking "phrases" in the middle of your blog titles, they understandably get difficult to read. To avoid this, try not to use symbols in your blog post titles.

Don't Go Beyond 140 Characters

You have 140 precious characters on Twitter. If your blog post title, plus your name, plus the url, plus your @name, and whatever else you have in there exceeds 140 characters, people are going to be less likely to share your posts. Now they have to shorten the post in order to post it to Twitter. People are lazy and don't want to do the work you should have done. Many times, they'll just hit cancel and your post won't get shared.

In all reality, yes, you have 140 characters, but your blog post tweets shouldn't exceed 120 characters. If people want to add their own comment or if someone wants to retweet your tweet, they want space to write more. So leave them as much space as possible by keeping your tweets as short as possible.

Don't Send People to an Invalid Link

It doesn't often happen, but it can happen. Someone clicks on the link in your tweet to go read your blog post and they get a 404 or other error code. Or maybe it goes to a different page on your site. Whatever the case, make sure that the links generated in your tweets are active and correct.

Don't Leave it to Their Imagination

If the tweet is blank, you get nothing. No shares, no mentions, no traffic, no nothing.

People will not enter the information for you. Again, make sure your share settings are formatted so that blog post title, url, and your @name are automatically included in the tweet.

Quality Control

In any business, you need to be testing your quality. You need to ensure things are operating smoothly and properly. Take the time to test your share settings. Make sure that the information is complete, accurate, and effective. I test each and every blog post I write. I manually share each post to Twitter after it's auto-shared in the morning so that I can see exactly how it looks. If edits need to be made (and I have had to do this), I can log into my dashboard and make the necessary corrections.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. I’d like to take the admonition re: anonymous posts one step further, Jenn. Many social sharing tools will add their Twitter handle by default. The one that comes immediately to mind is ShareThis. Fix that. Don’t let the tool take credit for your content!

    Great post!

  2. Great things to think about here! I’m off to check my own site now. I so agree with what you say–if I hit the tweet or re-tweet, I want it to be fast, easy and make sense!

    1. Thanks Ann! Yes, we like when others make it easy for us so we should do the same for our readers.

  3. Thank you for this article Jenn! I am so tired of seeing the handle the sharing tools add instead of the person’s handle. I used to take the time and enter the person’s handle to give them credit but that gets to be time consuming. Depending on the mood I’m in, if that pops up I either don’t share or I remove the anonymous handle and just post the link and title.

    1. Thanks Shannon. I agree, if I’ve got the time and it’s worth it, I’ll take the effort to add the author myself. But really, if they don’t care to set it up properly, it’s not my job to do it for them.

  4. Jenn – Great info! I tweet a lot of other people’s posts and spend some time looking over and sculpting the way my tweets look. I hate it when people have really long titles on their posts and I have to chop that down and keep it understandable.

    Then Hootsuite will sometimes not include the shortened link, so I have to eyeball that carefully too.

    1. Thank you Patricia! I think it’s great that you take the time to craft your tweets and change them when you feel it’s time. And so it does get frustrating when others don’t do the same. I won’t even get started on Hootsuite changes to the links 😉 But good for you, again, for staying on top of yours!

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