Custom Twitter Background dimensions

Adding a custom Twitter background makes your Twitter page and tweets stand out, and gives you or your organization a professional look. You can make one yourself (which you can do in Photoshop, or sometimes even with a simpler program like MS Paint). Note, this seems to apply only to larger browser screen versions, as backgrounds are not supported as of this writing on mobile.twitter.com browser or app screens.

Of course, you can “tile” a small image, which I think works well only if it makes a nice subtle pattern, otherwise it can be obnoxious.

Custom Twitter background dimensions

Ideally, you should use a single image covering the entire background space.  Of course, you’ll need the custom Twitter background dimensions, including margins you’ll need for the main Twitter content.  There has been a number of changes over the last couple years, down from 1280 to 850, now it’s back up again.  So here is what I found through direct experimentation (September, 2012).

Generally you’ll want about a 194 pixel or less margin on the left side for the graphics that will be visible for most screen resolutions.  You can use this space to provide contact information, or images of your products, or people using your product, but since it’s only an image, none of it will be clickable.

Here’s what’s been reported as the Twitter background left hand margin (screen resolutions as of 2011):

  • 66px for 99% of visitors (1024px wide resolutions)
  • 194px for 82% of visitors (1280px wide resolutions)

I’ve previously read that the Twitter background needs to be less than 850 pixels wide.  However, I found this was not the case.  I used a dimension of 1380 px wide by 800 pixels height and this worked well for me as Twitter did not resize the image (screen shot below).  So, with this extra width, you can have graphic elements on both left and right margins of your main Twitter content.  It is a big file but again, mobile web and apps currently don’t support the background…but stay tuned.

 

 

 

Where do Share, Like and Comments show up on Facebook?

Whether you’re a newbie to Facebook, or several years into it, you may not be clear on where all those Facebook button clicks go.

For example, when browsing the web, you often have the opportunity to “Like,” “Share,” or “Comment” on something through Facebook.   Also, when reviewing your friend’s updates on your Facebook Newsfeed, you are also given the same options.   So,  where do your Like, Share and Comments show up on Facebook?   It can be a bit confusing knowing the result of each of these actions.

Here’s the scoop:

These actions on the web and on your Newsfeed are very much the same.  Likes, Shares and Comments on outside websites are typically of articles, blog posts,  or web sites or pages themselves, while these same actions on Facebook are of personal updates and photos initiated by others within the social network.

First, if you “Like” something, it will show up in your profile under your “Likes,” and based on your privacy settings, others can view these.  Similarly you can see your friend’s “Likes” on their Profile pages.   Facebook uses categories such as Books, Movies, Sports Teams, Organizations, etc., where your Likes are filed or can be searched and selected.

Facebook will occasionally use your “Likes” in regular updates to your friends, e.g., “Bob likes Target,” right after you Like it.   These days, it seems only a few “Likes” of friends show up in my Newfeed, perhaps because Facebook wants to charge companies to display Likes, or maybe because my Friends aren’t that active in clicking the Like button.   I’ve never seen a “Like” of a “friend of a friend “show up,  probably because  wouldn’t care since I usually don’t know that person.   However, Facebook uses your past Likes in sponsored display ads you may see in the right column, though noted in smaller type under the ad, e.g.,  “Joe likes Capitol One.”    Likes seem to be primarily used for serving up ads.

As for Comments or Shares, they are much more prominent than “Likes” in the Newsfeed.   They appear along with your original Updates in your own Profile page and on the Newsfeeds of  “friends” or “friends of friends” (based on  your privacy settings) .

When you comment on something, it will embed a link and usually an image and snippet of the original article, webpage, or post, along with your comment.   When you Share something, it shows up in your friend’s Newsfeeds as if you had posted it yourself, though perhaps somewhat less often, based on Facebook’s algorithms.  For some of my Friends, all I see is their Shares and they have little of their own content.   It will say “Your Friend shared Their Friend’s (or Organization’s they Like) Photo” or, if it is merely a post it may say “”Your Friend via Their Friend or Liked Organization.”

What about Sharing, Liking or Commenting your own content?  You can do this and based on timing and other factors it may get your content re-posted to your friend’s Newsfeeds.

Hope that clears things up!   Please post your questions below.

How to Choose the right WordPress Theme

So how do you choose the right WordPress theme?

1) Always select a WordPress Theme that has the layout and navigation structure you need.

Why: WordPress themes layout structures and navigation can not be moved or changed around easily. Moving non-widgetized areas or changing the size or width of the site can create a domino effect of problems.  It would be more cost efficient to just choose a more suitable theme.

Keep in mind you can still change the following in premium WordPress themes :

  • Your header image or graphic.
  • Your color scheme by virtue of the theme’s CSS file and switching the images.
  • The content within the widgets or the sidebar through the widgets.

More details on your layout and navigation here:

2) Know your page layout needs.

Think mostly about your home page as it will have the most constraints.  How many images will you need and where do you want them to be, especially if they can not be readily changed or made to fit?  For example, will you have a slideshow gallery? What size? How much information do you want to have fit in widgetized text boxes or spaces?

3) Know your Navigation needs

First, create a list of pages and a category and subcategory listing of the topics It helps to simplify and combine categories as much as  possible as it makes it easier to find things.

IF you will have a blog with lots of “categories,” which applies to most WordPress users, you’ll want both Primary and Secondary Navigation. Otherwise a theme with just a single Navigation bar will suffice.

Why:  You don’t want an endless cascade of drop downs. This can be overwhelming to visitors and even cause your navigation to drop “below the fold” making it unusable.

4) Know your side bar content needs 

Will you need a shorter sidebar, longer, or endlessly scrolling? If using widgets, how much space will you need, as this space is limited. A sidebar that scrolls endlessly without content is not desirable past the end of your center content leaving wide-open white space.

If you have more information to include than a single sidebar column can provide, you may want to entertain themes that offer two sidebar layouts to contain all your widgets.

5) Consider smaller screens of mobile devices.   After all, more and more web use is now on mobile devices.  For your market, it could be a majority of your audience.  Some themes such as “Responsive” themes are designed to scale down nicely.  Though other themes may not advertised as such, may also do an adequate job of scaling. The trick is to test the demo theme on a small screen.

6) Know your budget and ability for making modifications.   How much do you want to spend? There are free themes at wordpress.org, but they may require more customizing according to your needs.   Themeforest.net is a great repository of free and premium WordPress and other CMS themes which may cost between $20 to $100.  You can make minor modifications with all WordPress themes playing around with the template and style.css files of a theme. You can preview the changes with an add-on for Firefox called firebug.   For a more thorough job, you can hire someone at oDesk.com, guru.com, freelancer.com or craigslist.org, to do the modifications.

7) Select a number of themes that might work, then go through each theme’s demo site. Check all of the above mentioned requirements, including how the plugins and widgets that  determine how pages and posts will be displayed.  Look at the areas you have to display your key messages and images and make sure the theme can accommodate them in the right size.

 8) Reviews & Support. Often, a clue to how well the theme is supported is provided in the “review” section of the theme store.  See if there support forums. You can e-mail the developer if you still have questions after reviewing the demo.  See if you get a response.   A great theme without support could be trouble, even if you have a solid technical person to make modifications.

9) Take the plunge.  If you’re new to WordPress, you might try adding all your desired content with your existing free or low cost theme and understanding it’s functions and limitations.  This will give you more understanding when selecting and customizing your ideal theme.

Take some time to understand  your own needs, the candidate themes and their demos. It’s time well spent.  It means less time and money on making customizations or starting over with a new theme.