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Cover image for How to add Twitter Card Meta Tags to your Blog

How to add Twitter Card Meta Tags to your Blog

therealdanvega profile image Dan Vega Updated on ・5 min read

For those of you who haven't been reading my blog lately, I am in the middle of converting my website from WordPress over to a static site generator called Gridsome that is built on VueJS. There are a lot of things that I took for granted when using a proven blogging platform like WordPress. In WordPress when I created a new blog post and then shared it on Twitter I got this nice display of my blog post as opposed to just a link.

This might not seem like a big thing to most but why write something if nobody reads it? Engagement is the name of game on social media platforms like Twitter and Twitter Cards (and images in general) are proven to increase engagement. In this article, I will tell you what a Twitter Card is and how to add how to add Twitter Card meta tags to your blog.

What is a Twitter Card

Before we dive into the technical details on how to add Twitter cards to your blog it might make sense to understand what a Twitter Card actually is. I currently don't have any Twitter Cards setup for the home page of my website. After sitting down to write this article I realize that I should fix that. If I share out a link of my homepage on Twitter it looks like this.

Twitter with no card

Pretty boring right? No matter what my message is you aren't going to be very compelled to click that link.

Here is a recent blog post that I just posted a link to on Twitter.

Twitter with Card

In this case you can see a nicely formatted card with a summary and an image. Now I will admit the image could use a little work as some text is running up against the side, but you get the idea. I think this is a really nice addition that you can add to your blog today and with just a few lines of code.

What are meta tags

If you're familiar with HTML chances are you have come across meta tags before. Metadata is data (information) about data. This means that the meta tag provides metadata about the HTML document. Metadata will not be displayed on the page, but will be machine parsable. This just means that it will not be displayed but it will exist in your pages source code.

Meta tags are defined in the head of an HTML document and contain the following attributes:

Attribute Value Description
charset character_set Specifies the character encoding for the HTML document
content text Gives the value associated with the http-equiv or name attribute
http-equiv content-type
default-style
refresh
Provides an HTTP header for the information/value of the content attribute
name application-name
author
description
generator
keywords
viewport
Specifies a name for the metadata

This is an example of what a meta tag looks like.

<head>
    <meta name="description" content="Welcome to my website!">
</head>

Meta Tag Use Cases

Now that you know what a meta tag it might be good to understand what they are useful for. Here are some of the examples of meta tags that you might have come across already.

<head>
  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="description" content="Welcome to my website!">
  <meta name="keywords" content="HTML,CSS,JavaScript">
  <meta name="author" content="Dan Vega">
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
</head>

If you have done any kind of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you have probably come across the meta description.

The meta description is a snippet of up to about 155 characters – a tag in HTML – which summarizes a page's content. Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched-for phrase is within the description, so optimizing the meta description is crucial for on-page SEO.

Most meta tags are nothing more than name and content, in fact, you could create your own if you wanted to.

<meta name="msg" content="hello meta tags"/>

While this is valid syntax it really doesn't do anything. If you were to write some program that scanned HTML looking for this specific meta tag than it would make sense to include, otherwise its useless.

Adding Twitter Cards to your blog or website

No that you know a little bit more about meta tags lets take that knowledge and apply it to Twitter Cards. The first meta tag you need to set is the twitter:card meta tag.

<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" />

This tag can have one of the following values

In my case and the example, I showed you earlier of the blog post I am using summary_large_image. The other tags are pretty self-explanatory if you compare them to the example card. The one thing I will say is that make sure you give the twitter:image tag the full path to the image you want to use.

Here are all of the tags I used for that blog post and what it looks like.

<head>
  <meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" />
  <meta name="twitter:description" content="How to create your first npm package and publish it." />
  <meta name="twitter:title" content="Creating your first npm package" />
  <meta name="twitter:site" content="@therealdanvega" />
  <meta name="twitter:image" content="https://www.danvega.me/assets/static/npm_cover.bd64798.eced3da.png" />
  <meta name="twitter:creator" content="@therealdanvega" />
</head>

Link with Twitter Card

If you want to learn more about the different types of cards you can create and all of the options please read through the documentation.

Twitter Card Validator

If you ever have problems with your Twitter Cards not displaying correctly there is a way to test them. You can use the Twitter Card Validator, plug in the URL you want to test and see what the outcome is along with some debugging information. Here I have entered another blog post and I get a preview of what my twitter card is going to look like.

Twitter Card Validator

Conclusion

I mentioned this at the start of this article that I was converting my site from WordPress to Gridsome. If you're interested in how I added Twitter cards to this blog let me know. If you're also interested in how to add similar meta tags for other social networks you can do some research on the open graph or just let me know that you would like to see another article on that.

Happy Coding

Dan

This article was first posted on my blog at https://www.danvega.dev/blog. If you found this article interesting please consider subscribing to my newsletter or following me on Twitter.

Posted on by:

therealdanvega profile

Dan Vega

@therealdanvega

Curriculum Developer @ Tech Elevator. Writer of words, Creator of code. Husband & Father. My passion is helping others and I'm proud to call Cleveland home.

Discussion

markdown guide
 

I love this article and would want to see one on facebook.

 

Where on facebook are folks cross promoting dev.to articles?

 

Was asking you have something about facebook similar to the twitter card.

Nothing in a blog post but you just need to use the open graph tags.

css-tricks.com/essential-meta-tags...

This site confused me when I tried to implement this just go to the Facebook documentation it's pretty straightforward and simple

 

Awesome, thanks! The frontend side of me knew that this existed in some way or form (I'm sure Facebook and other sites have something similar) and what you've written here shows this clearly - thanks again!

 

Now that you know it, you can also use this
metatags.io/

 

Is there any advantages on using twitter meta tags instead of og tags?

I think og are interpreted by twitter too, so I'm curious to know if there is any extra advantages on using these specific ones

 

The card types do not directly match the OpenGraph ones - if you share an og:article, then Twitter will render a summary card, but not a summary_large_image card, so in that case you'd want to add the twitter:card type tag. However, you're right, in most cases the twitter: tags do map to og: equivalents, so you can keep the amount of markup to a minimum if you use the og: fallbacks in most cases.

 

Thx a lot for the interesting add-on/answer @andypiper !