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Drive Traffic to Old Content with “Tweet Old Post” Plugin

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August 18th, 2010
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WordPress Plugins, WordPress Tools

How long ago did you create your Twitter account? Hold on to that number…how long ago did you launch your blog? Something tells me that you’ve probably been running your blog much longer than you’ve had a Twitter account…am I right? If so this can only mean one thing, unless you’ve been actively tweeting older posts from your blog, your Twitter followers have no idea about the treasure trove of (older) content that is sitting on your site. Sure you are getting a ton of search engine traffic, but hasn’t traffic from social media also proven to be extremely lucrative as well? Why let that potential traffic go to waste?

This is where the Tweet Old Post plugin comes in. The Tweet Old Post plugin does one thing and it does it well, it allows you to automatically tweet about old posts using a specified Twitter account and it provides you with a set of options to make sure that tweet is right.

Before you go and install this free plugin make sure you read this in depth review to help you decide whether this plugin is the right tool for you.

Requirements

  • Tweet Old Post requires that you run at a minimum WordPress 2.7 and it officially supports WordPress up to 2.92, however I currently run this plugin in WordPress 3.01 with no issues.
  • Your server must run PHP5 and PHP 4 is now supported in the latest release.

You can download and install the Tweet Old Post plugin from the Plugins directory in WordPress within your WordPress installation or you can download the plugin directly from the WordPress by following this link.

To install from your WordPress installation simply click on Plugins in the Admin menu, Add New, and search for Tweet Old Post. When the plugin appears in the search results list, click on the Install button to download and install the plugin.

Once you’ve successfully installed and activated the plugin, follow the instructions below.

1. Go to Settings in the Admin page and click on Tweet Old Posts.

The plugin is fairly easy to configure all you need to do is enter the Twitter user name and password you wish to automatically tweet to. However if you wish to harness the power of this plugin you will need to delve in the additional options that are available.

2. Set the following options.

As you can see from the screenshot above there are quite a bit of options that are available which allow you to customize how the tweets are delivered and when. We will go over each of these options in detail so that you understand each of the settings.

a. Twitter User Name and Twitter Password - As I mentioned before, you can simply enter your Twitter user name and password and start tweeting automatically right away. If you run into any issues with this plugin, most of them can be resolved by double checking that you entered the correct user name and password.

b. Tweet Prefix – If set, each tweet that is automatically generated will be prefixed with the information you enter in this box. Keep in mind the character limits and the fact that it will be used for every single tweet that is automatically generated.

c. Add post data to tweet – If set to Yes, the tweet will include additional information from the post, i.e. content. I would probably leave this set to No.

d. Fetch URL from Custom field – If checked the URL that will be used when tweeting will be from the custom field otherwise the plugin will use the shortened URL.

e. Use URL shortener and URL Shortener Service – If you decide to use a URL shortener service you can specify which one to use from the list of available services.

f. Default #hash tags for your tweets – Using this option you can specify a set of hash tags to be used with your tweets. Again, keep in mind that these tweets will be automated and the content tweeted will be random so make sure you use a hash tag that will apply to all of the content.

g. Time intervals & Eligible Post Age

  • Minimum interval between tweets – You can set the minimum amount of time in intervals between tweets. The options range from 1 hour to 168 hours (7 days).
  • Random Interval – This time interval is added to the minimum interval and it helps tweets appear a bit more natural. Options vary from 1 hour to 24 hours.
  • Minimum age of post to be eligible for tweet – This option allows you set the minimum age of the posts being tweeted. Options vary from 7 days to 365 days. It would be nice if one could enter a set number.
  • Maximum age of post to be eligible for tweet – Allows you to set the max age of the posts being tweeted. Options vary from None to 365 days.

h. Categories to Omit from Tweets – If you’ve done a really good job of categorizing your posts you will find this option a lifesaver, specifically if you use specific hash tags for certain categories.

3. Once you are satisfied with the settings you will have two options; you can update the plugin settings or you can Tweet Now to make sure everything is working correctly.

The screenshot above is an example of a Tweet from an old post appearing on Twitter when the Tweet Now button was used.

As you can see by now, this plugin has a lot of options to offer and a lot of potential to drive traffic to all of those old posts on your blog. However there are some shortcomings that may make you reconsider.

  • You cannot set a custom time interval for minimum interval between tweets, random interval, minimum age of post eligibility, and max age of post eligibility.
  • You cannot omit tags from being tweeted; you have to rely on categories to filter what gets tweeted.
  • You can only use one Twitter account per installation.
  • You can only set one group of tweets at a time. For example, I would like the ability to automatically tweet certain categories with a specific set of hash tags that would differ from another group of automatic tweets based on other conditions.

Despite these shortcomings, this plugin makes should be on the top of everyone’s essential WordPress plugins list. It will help you promote older content and recycle more current content to new Twitter followers. I hope the developer is listening…If the features discussed above are added, I think that this would be a killer plugin, something I’d be willing to pay for.

What do you think? Are there other plugins with similar functions already out there? Please use the comments form below.

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Comments

  1. Nathan Briggs says:

    Nice plugin, hope the author updates it to use OAuth or it’ll be useless at the end of the month when Twitter turn off the old API.

    • Gilberto J Perera (1 comments.) says:

      I’ve been following the developer and it looks like that is his intent with an upcoming version of the plugin. I’ll cross my fingers though, because I really like this plugin.

  2. Otto (215 comments.) says:

    Nathan beat me to it. Any Twitter plugin that wants your name and password will STOP working on September 1st! Upgrade immediately!

  3. Finance Diva says:

    I found this plugin on my own and what I have found it that it has dramatically increased the amount of traffic coming from twitter to my blog ands especially my older posts when I was still learning the ropes. My traffic from search engines is still small so most of my traffic comes from Twitter and other social media. Love this plugin, but wish i could have different tags for different categories.

  4. J.C. Oan (1 comments.) says:

    I hope the author will update this plugin and also include more features. In the meantime, what I’d like to know is how can you manage old posts that are time sensitive? Example: you wouldn’t want to tweet a Christmas related post on April or a review of a product that’s sold out and is no longer available.

  5. Joshua Lynch (1 comments.) says:

    This plugin is an enabler.

    It enables bad Twitter usage. This may drive traffic in the short term, but it’s also a very quick way to lose Twitter followers–or never get them. It’s social media; not spam media. So share what you find and occasionally your own stuff. And definitely don’t just have headlines and links to your own posts in a formulaic manner in all of your tweets.

    • Peter Claridge (3 comments.) says:

      I don’t know, if someone wrote an article called “5 steps to financial independence using just your bank savings” and the information was as relevant today as it was 4 years ago, I think I’d find that pretty useful. On the other hand if it was “What I did on my holidays in 2007″ I think it is pretty useless.

      Regardless, if you use it sensibly, it becomes a useful tool for your followers, use it badly and soon you won’t be bothering anyone with it.

  6. Artur Stern (1 comments.) says:

    I tried this plugin and atm it rox, need to learn litlle bit more, how to setup. Anyway your guide rox! Tnx for your time

  7. Kelson (20 comments.) says:

    This sounds like a good idea if used sparingly. I know if someone started posting once an hour I’d probably unfollow them, but a “flashback” link every couple of days might be interesting.

    Also: J.C. Oan’s point about time-sensitive items is a good one. I tested this on one blog today and the first randomly-selected post was titled “Happy New Year.”

  8. Michael Neuendorff (1 comments.) says:

    Interesting plug-in. I actually don’t need it as I’ve been having my assistant use HootSuite for weeks to do what this plug-in does. Thus, I’ve been tweeting regularly my old content and it’s dramatically increased my Twitter followers. She’s good at it and doesn’t charge me much. I like having control through a real human so I’m not tweeting out Happy New Year posts at random.

  9. Krispijn Beek (1 comments.) says:

    Souds like a great plug in to use for good content from the past, would be great if could somehow relate to that. I’ve got some old posts that don’t deserve a tweet. But it would be great to retweet the good ones for example the posts with a lot of comments, or with a lot of visitors during the first year of publication. Otherwise the chance of boring my followers with some boring old post om mine is simply to large.

    But I do love the idea of the plugin

  10. Nile (18 comments.) says:

    Plugin does not work. Keeps asking for username and password when I put my login details in. Oh well. As someone else said… plugin creator will have to resort to using oAuth. Those who use Twitter Tools already, I am not sure if it might be necessary to apply for another or use the same API tokens and keys.

  11. Udegbunam Chukwudi (3 comments.) says:

    I used the plug-in for a while then uninstalled it after it had tweeted all my blog posts. One feature I would love to see the plug-in have, is the ability to specify the exact posts you want retweeted. Not every post in a category is a winner so that category thing ain’t so good.

  12. Harsh Agrawal (2 comments.) says:

    I have using Tweet old post for some time and I really like this plugin as it helps me to drive traffic to my old posts…
    Though we need to take care of few things like select categories carefully as there is no need to tweet outdated posts..



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  1. [...] Tools Collection recently spotlighted a WordPress plugin to automatically tweet old posts. It seems like a good way to bring attention to a site’s archives, as long as it’s used [...]

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