March 19, 2009

How to add "Tweet This" links to your Blogger Template (with short URLs)

Twitter has become one of the most popular ever syndication and networking tools for bloggers. A few readers have asked if it is possible to add a "Tweet This" link to our Blogger templates, and while this was possible, I had not discovered a method of automatically shortening the URL of our blog posts until now.

Luckily for us, have created a JavaScript-based solution which shortens the URL to just a few characters and enables bloggers to add a Tweet This link configured for their posts. In this tutorial, I'll explain how you can add this to your Blogger template so your readers can Tweet your posts to their Twitter followers, enabling your Blogger posts to be syndicated to a wider audience.

Editing your template to add the Twitter links

First of all, you should make a full back-up of your existing template (which you can later restore if you make a mistake in the coding). To do this, go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard and click on the "Download full template" link near the top of the page. Save your template to a location on your computer which you can easily access later.

Next, go back to the Layout>Edit HTML page and ensure you have checked the "Expand widget templates" box. The place where we need to add the Twitter code is contained within the Blog Posts widget.

Search for this section in your Blogger template code (or similar):

<div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1'>

If you cannot find this exact line of code, search for 'post-footer' instead. Alternatively, you can add your code immediately after the <p><data:post.body/></p> line.

Just after the 'post-footer' line you have located, paste the following section of code:

<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "item"'><span style='float: left; background: url( left no-repeat; padding-left: 20px;'><script charset='utf-8' src=';login=tweettrackjs&amp;apiKey=R_7e9987b2fd13d7e4e881f9cbb168f523' type='text/javascript'/>
<script charset='utf-8' src='' type='text/javascript'/>
<a expr:onclick='"return, \"" + data:post.url + "\");"' href='#'>
<span style='display:none;'>I'm reading: <data:post.title/></span>Tweet this!</a></span></b:if>

Preview the changes to your blog template to make sure you have not made any errors in adding the code. If all is well, the preview page should load (though you will ne unable to see the Twitter link on the preview page).

Finally you can save your template. Now when you view an item page on your blog, you will see a link in the post-footer section which looks like this:

I'm reading: Blogger BusterTweet this!

This link automatically generates a shortened URL for your post. When a reader clicks on this link, they are taken to (where they can log in if required) with a pre-filled Tweet which appears like this: I'm reading: [title-of-blog-post]

If you would prefer the prefilled Tweet to say something other than "I'm reading", you can edit this phrase in the code you add to your Blogger template. Readers can edit this pre-filled Tweet before updating if required.

I hope you will enjoy using this Twitter syndication link in your own Blogger templates. Please try this out for yourself to see how it works and feel free to leave your comments below.

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