If you’re a creative type or have any kind of expert knowledge to share, one very effective way to bring traffic to your site is to offer a free download of your work – be it an eBook, art, video, or music – in exchange for a little promotion on Twitter. It costs the user nothing to download, yet each download will in turn bring as many as 5-100 more users to your site, giving you instant viral traffic.
Today I’ll take a look at 3 possible systems for offering free stuff on Twitter: a WordPress plugin, a free web service, and a DIY jQuery method.
If you’re new to Twitter or just looking for some tips, you might also be interested in our excellent Complete Guide to Twitter, which you can download for free by simply signing up to our newsletter.
For WordPress: Tweet2Download
As an integrated solution, the Tweet2Download plugin is fairly simple. When uploading media, simply mark it as required to go through the Tweet2Download system. Then on the media insert page you’ll also find a new Tweet2Downloads tab from which your download items can be inserted in a page or post. Click to insert a link as you would with any file download normally, and it will automatically use the Tweet2Download interface.
To adjust the message, you can enter the text in the short code that get’s added to your post edit area.
Note: Like many of these systems, Tweet2Download requires that you create a Twitter account and obtain an API key. Head to this page to do this. Make sure the URL entered is that of your website. When you create one, click on the settings tab, and change the Application Type to be Read and Write (instead of the default Read only). The interface has changed a little since this plugin was created, so be aware that the Twitter app page no longer lists an actual API KEY, instead just use the CONSUMER KEY. Since the app asks for both an API key and a Consumer Key, just add the same key twice.
Non-WordPress Solution: Pay With a Tweet
If you’re looking for one-off solution for your HTML hand-coded website or think the WordPress plugin is overkill for your needs, PayWithATweet web service is probably your easiest option. Just fill in the simple form – though you’ll need to host your own file.
Embed the button on your site (make sure to add the code in HTML view if you’re using this with WordPress – adding any HTML codes to the Visual Editor will break them). When clicked, users will see a screen similar to this. This is the demo that the site uses to offer their own eBook about the effective use of PayWithATweet. Bear in mind that the service is ad-supported.
DIY Method with jQuery
If you’d like to utilise this DIY method in WordPress, you’ll need to create a custom template file by duplicating either page.php or single.php, then add the various codes there. For file download URL I suggest using a custom field attached to the post or page where the download will be attached. The advantage of doing it this way is that if you ever decide to change your methods or switch to a “Like this on Facebook to download system”, you’ll still be able to use the same custom fields and just change a single template file. If you’re unsure about custom fields, I have described them in this Product Database project for WordPress tutorial.
That’s it from me today. I do hope you choose to release something for free and share your talents so everyone can benefit. While we’re on the topic, be sure to check out all the fantastic eBooks we’ve shared at MakeUseOf – I think we’re currently releasing at the astonishing rate of two a month, which means there’s an extraordinary amount of free knowledge in the archives! Whatever the topic, we’ve got you covered!!
If you have any issues setting up a Twitter application or need help making it work within WordPress, do ask in the comments or the MakeUseOf Answers section, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
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