Twitter Automation with Drupal Views and IFTTT

Drupal Views is one of the most powerful modules available, paired with the automation service IFTTT you can post to Twitter in some fancy ways.

On a basic level on the Love Shrewsbury site we use IFTTT to post the title and link of the RSS feed to Twitter. Drupal views allows you to take this further with greater control of the RSS feed. Therefore we created a second RSS feed that only shows articles once they have been live for 8 hours, this is then posted to Twitter through IFTTT saying ‘Did you miss? <title> <url>’.

This was done in the following way:

1. Create a new View and add the feed display.

2. Set the url to be something like rss8hours.xml and set the sort criteria to be Post Date (desc)

3. Add a filter for the content type you want then add a filter for Post Date

4. Set the operator to ‘is less than’ and an offset of the current time to ‘- 8 hours’.

5. Save the View and you will have an RSS feed of content once it is 8 hours old.

6. Login (or signup) to IFTTT and click on Create.

7. Set the trigger to be feed and select new feed item.

8. Enter the feed URL and select create trigger.

9. Click ‘that’ and select Twitter.

10. Select an action of ‘Post a Tweet’

11. Customise the text (for instance I use the phrase ‘Did you miss?’ before the <title> and <url>).

12. Click Create Action

IFTTT will check your RSS feed every 15minutes and aumatically post any new items in the RSS feed to Twitter (if something has already been posted it won’t repost).

We found this method to almost double our traffic from Twitter as we were attracting people checking Twitter at different times. A lot of our articles go live late morning so an 8 hour delay was Tweeting early evening.

Drupal Camp London Photos

Here are a few of my photos from Drupal Camp London.

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Keynote from one of the founders of MYSQL.

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Automating Drupal Development with Patterns.

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Agile Project Management

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After Party

Tripling Twitter Visits Through IFTTT

Over the past week we’ve managed to triple the number of visits to Love Shrewsbury and Love Telford from Twitter. We’ve been using the website ifttt to automate the posting of RSS feed items to Twitter.

On a basic level we created a recipe to post the sites news & comments RSS feeds to automatically to twitter, this had a small increase in traffic as we already posted most links manually.

I then created an RSS feed in Drupal that only showed an article once it was 8 hours old, I set this to tweet ‘Did you miss? <title> <url>’ – this tripled our traffic from Twitter!

Given that we posted most articles in the day nothing was going on Twitter in the evening – by delaying by 8 hours this has now solved that and we have a whole different audience clicking through to the Love Shrewsbury/Telford site.

Drupal Camp London

I’ve got my ticket booked for Drupal Camp London 2013. It will be my first time at such an event and I’m not going to know anyone so if you’re going please introduce yourself!

It’s always interesting to see how other people tackle development issues in Drupal, when we ran a Drupal 7 launch party a couple of years ago I was introduced to features such as Drush.

Hopefully some of my experience will be of use to people as well.

Run Android Apps on your Mac or PC

Bluestacks, the app player that allows you to run Android apps on your PC has now been launched for Mac. With a huge library of apps available it allows users and developers to experience these apps on their desktops or laptops.

The big appeal of Bluestacks is for playing games, many of which don’t have native ports on the desktop. I installed Angry Birds and the game worked well with no lag.

Some apps don’t work so well such as those that require specific hardware like GPS receivers but in general with its intuitive interface, Bluestacks is a clever piece of software.

Download Bluestacks now.

Shop Locally Online This Christmas!

We’re huge fans of supporting local businesses and with more of them having websites you can do this without having to leave your sofa! We’ve helped a lot of them over the past few years build their online presence, often holding their hands with e-commerce principals, training and support. Here are a few of the local companies we’ve supported that might help with your Christmas Shopping

Pied Piper

Based in Milk Street, Shrewsbury, Pied Piper sells a range of good quality childrens clothes. Brands include Hatley, Emile et Rose and Steiff.

www.piedpiperchildrensclothes.co.uk

Chris George Cards

One of Shrewsburys’ favourite indie shops closed down back in June this year – Cath Tate Cards in Hills Lane. Sadly the shop was a victim of the current economic conditions and Chris was made redundant. Now Chris has been busy setting up a new business – Chris George Cards.

www.chrisgeorgecards.com

it’s a nomad life

With a shop in the prestige location of Shrewsbury’s Wyle Cop, it’s a nomad life has an excentric collection of vintage gifts and collectables.

www.itsanomadlife.com

Little Gifts & Things

With a great selection of Christmas gifts for men and women Little Gifts & Things has something for everyone. With their under £10 category they have something for hopefully every budget too.

www.littlegiftsandthings.com

Smoke & Pickle

Based on the Shropshire Enterprise Food Centre, Smoke & Pickle have their food in shops across the country including Harrods in London.

www.smokeandpickle.co.uk

Think you’re local business could do with the support of The Web Orchard? Contact us today on 01743 343411 or email [email protected]

Speaking at Coventry University

On the 31st of October I will be giving a talk to the Computer Science students at Coventry University. It’s been six years since I graduated and I’m really looking forward to going back. I will be speaking about commercial web development and my experiences since graduation. Hopefully students looking for a career in web development will find it useful.

ShropGeek Theory of (R)Evolution

It’s not very often that Shropshire gets a web conference and last nights ShropGeek Theory of (R)Evolution certainly didn’t disappoint. The four speakers gave fascinating insights into their past and current projects and it was interesting to see the success and failure.

Jake Smith from JP74 spoke about app and systems development for creative awards organisation D&AD. Specifically he talked about the challenges they had to overcome to develop a system to allow judges to be able to use second generation iPod Touches for casting votes on entries at Olympia in London.

Neil Kinnish and Mike Kus gave a fascinating account into their start-up WorkFu and the highs and lows of the development process, attracting investors and eventually calling day on the project.

To end the evening Paul Annett, Creative Lead for the UK Government Digital Service (GDS), spoke about the challenges behind the new www.gov.uk website and how integrating the many different services the government offers into one place. His focus on usability was especially interesting and how through feedback in testing the site has evolved into what it is today.

How Real Time Stats Help us Love Shrewsbury

On the Love Shrewsbury site we average around four new articles per day, over weeks and months this is a lot of content. What is really key for us is knowing what content is popular so that we can target specific events and topics that we know will engage our readers.

We have two main ways of gathering data, firstly through Google Analytics and secondly through our trending data.

Google Analytics

Google analytics gives us a huge amount of data, from where people have come from geographically, how they found the site on the Internet and how long they spent on the site. We can gather reports of popular articles over a given time period so that we can see which are the most popular.

Through Google Analytics we also have access to real time stats. These are useful for when an article goes viral on Facebook or Twitter as we can react quickly and interact with the community to build a relationship with our reader base.

Statistical data is especially important for seeing how successful a particular article or campaign has been. For instance if certain articles have a higher proportion of online shares we can measure the social impact of an article and compare to other traffic sources such as search engines. If we’ve promoted articles using Facebook ads or promoted Tweets we can measure the impact in real time as well as over longer periods.

Trending Data

Trending data is collected by Love Shrewsbury rather than a third party and is used to show which articles are currently the most popular. Its calculated based on the number of hits an article receives. A score is generated and then halved every three hours (ie a half life) so that we only see current popular articles rather than popular articles of all time. Twitter and the BBC use similar calculations when showing their trending data.

This data then forms the basis for our trending page and our weekly newsletter

By keeping a close eye on both our analytical and trending data Love Shrewsbury are able to not only provide great quality content but interact and establish a vibrant and lively community using social media.