Make Your BuddyPress Site an SEO Monster With This Simple Guide to Create Your Own Twitter App

Make Your BuddyPress Site an SEO Monster With This Simple Guide to Create Your Own Twitter App

I’d like to introduce you to the best BuddyPress plugin currently available for incorporating Twitter activity on your site. Check out the Tweetstream plugin. It synchronizes a user’s tweets with his BuddyPress activity stream and also works the other direction to pump the activity stream out to Twitter. The plugin also includes a host of other features and options that will be highly beneficial to your site’s SEO.

After you download Tweetstream, upload and install, and you will now have a Tweetstream menu in your WordPress dashboard. There are several things you can configure for your users, since every BuddyPress network will have different needs.

How to Configure the Tweetstream Plugin

Step 1: Set Up Your Twitter Application and Get Your API Key

The first thing you need to do is get an API key from Twitter. On that page you will need to give your application a name. This will be displayed on tweets when your users tweet from your site, so you will want to name it something site-specific. Give your application a description over 30 characters and then specify the application website, which will be your BuddyPress site URL. The next required part of the API key generation is to select Browser (not Client) for the application type. The callback URL is your BuddyPress site URL. Select “Read & Write” for the default access type and then click save. It will now display the Consumer key and the Consumer secret key that you need to enter into the Tweetstream configuration options.

Step 2: Set Filter Options

This step is optional. As you can imagine, full twitter syncing both ways on your site can make for a loaded activity stream when your members are very active Twitter users. To avoid a tweet overload, set up filters specific to your site. The plugin author uses this example: “You have a social network wich focus is on soccer, you don’t want all tweets of your users showing up that hasn’t to do anything with soccer. You can set the filter to “soccer”, now only tweets with “#soccer” will be shown of the users tweets.” If you want to set up multiple filters, make sure to separate them by a comma.

Step 3: Determine User Options

You can enable a “Want to tweet this message too?…” checkbox that appears when a user is updating on your BuddyPress site. This is very helpful, because most users would probably prefer that not all of their updates are automatically tweeted. Giving this option makes it more of a BuddyPress feature than a BuddyPress deal breaker. It’s important to remember never to lock in features for your users that may at some point compromise their privacy.

Step 4: Test the Plugin by Logging In and Posting an Update

If you have enabled the checkbox in the user options, you will see this placed under the Post Update box: Want to tweet this message too? Check your tweetstream settings. If not, then the user will only be able to configure their individual Tweetstream settings under Settings >> Tweetstream when logged into his account. I think the checkbox is much more handy and would never use it without this enabled. Before the user can use this feature, he will need to authorize Twitter to access his account by clicking on the link provided under settings. After he does this, he will be able to configure his own personal settings as shown below:

These options are one of the strongest reasons why I love this new plugin. Your users don’t have to participate in tweetstreaming whatsoever if they do not authorize their accounts. If they do, then they can have it set up to delete tweets from Twitter as they delete the items from their activity streams. The user also has the option to display tweets he posts from Twitter in his activity stream, without even having to login to his BuddyPress account. An auto-check option for the checkbox that appears next to the update box is available if he already knows he wants to be double-posting all the time from your site. The user can even include a link to his profile on your website in each and every tweet that goes out from his BuddyPress account. This is fantastic for SEO, since it generates numerous inbound links to your website. In addition, the tweet will show that it was generated by your site-specific twitter application, as shown below:

If you want to exponentially increase your BuddyPress social network’s exposure, I highly recommend creating a Twitter app that is specific to your site. This is one of the easiest ways to get users to post more activity while increasing the number of inbound links to your website. I thoroughly tested this plugin yesterday and can verify that it works exactly as it is supposed to with BuddyPress 1.2.1. Many thanks to Peter Hofman for his contribution to the BuddyPress community.