Admittedly, most of the conversation on Twitter takes place on a variety of desktop, online, and mobile apps. Never-the-less, we visit tweeple’s profile pages when deciding who to follow or not to follow. So, what does you Twitter background say about you? When Twitter backgrounds are done well they provide a great snapshot of the individual or the business we are assessing. They virtually sing, “I’m worthy!” When done poorly, or not done at all, they can send us quickly looking elsewhere. Designing a twitter background that conveys your character and your value can be a tricky proposition for new and old tweeple alike. So, here are a few thoughts about your Twitter background and some resources to help those who aren’t design pros.
Your Twitter background is your chance to declare your uniqueness. It is really the only place on Twitter that you can visually trumpet your value and tell us what you are all about. The basic Twitter backgrounds aren’t bad, in fact some of them are even appealing. They are also easy and convenient to use. However, they are used by gobs of other people and as a result- you don’t stand out. Going this route doesn’t mean we won’t follow you, it just means we’ll have to do a bit more homework before we decide. If we get distracted, who knows if we’ll come back and then you’ve missed an opportunity to recruit a new follower.
Make sure you take some time and really think about what makes you unique. Ask yourself why people should follow you. Once you have defined what those reasons are, you can get started with the design. If it helps your process, here are a few things we look for when we visit a Twitter profile page for the first time.
We want to learn more about you.
The background space that extends beyond your twitter stream can be sizable. The main Twitter content takes up 768 px in the center of the page. With horizontal screen resolutions extending to 1024 px, and in many cases 1280 px you have room in these sidebars to quickly get our attention. Use this space to share a few important detail about yourself or your brand via a tasteful assortment of text and images. We’ve seen varying types of information in the sidebar region, but our advice is to keep it brief and punchy. A call to action – not paragraphs of text. Clearly the address of your website should be included as well as you blog and perhaps other social network details as well. Most of all we want to get a sense of your personality.
It’s also worth noting that a custom twitter background is often a good indication that the account belongs to a real person rather than a bot. We like people, we stay away from bots. In their rush to set up multiple Twitter accounts, bot owners often overlook this step.
We want to see consistency.
If you are referencing your other websites or a blog, make sure to keep your visual identity consistent on Twitter. Yes, branding is important for individuals too. If surfing from your Twitter profile to your website and blog feels like you’ve switched gears on us we are going to wonder about you. As such, we are much more enthusiastic about following those who present a uniform images across their sites. It gives the appearance of having it all together which gives us some initial confidence that following you is a good idea.
We like to see a little creativity.
Notice we said ‘like’ rather than ‘want.’ We know not everyone is a design pro but let’s face it, we are all attracted to pretty pictures. But it goes beyond that to the words you say and how you say them. So, let your personality come through. Say something different, something uniquely you.
Create your Twitter Background:
If you happen to be creatively inclined and have access to an image editor, you might want to check out these two posts for some detailed guidance and suggestions. Smashing Magazine’s Effective Twitter Backgrounds explores techniques to create a memorable and and effective Twitter background. We also recommend Chris Spooner’s Twitter Background Design How To and Best Practices. In addition to sharing best practices, Chris walks readers through the process of how he created his own background in Photoshop. He even provides a template you can download. Of course, we’d suggest you follow @smashingmag and @chrisspooner too.
If you can’t tell a pixel from a vector you probably want to look elsewhere for your background design. There are a number of free background generators online you can choose from. By far, one of the best is Twitbacks.com. You can choose from over 80 standard templates and then follow their dead simple steps to customize it. Optionally, you can embed your image/logo, social media links, a bio and contact information. For a small fee, they’ll even help you promote your spiffy new profile. You can follow them @twitbacks
Suppose you want your profile to give a little love to all your Twitter friends. If that’s the case Twilk.com has you covered. Their system will serve up a properly sized background image with your friend’s avatars tiled across the page. Of course, we’d still recommend you do some customization so you stand out. Twilk is fun and fast and has an interesting name. Check out the site for the full story on that. We liked the service so much we used the background it generated to create the lead image on this post. The Twilk folks have a sense of humor and a sense of style, follow them @twilkcom
If you are looking to step beyond the free backgrounds and you have a budget, check out TwitterBackgrounds.com. They do offer free templates that you can personalize with their intuitive generator, or you can go for a full custom job for $99. We haven’t used the service but if the testimonials on the site are to be believed, it appears they do a bang up job. Follow them @twitrbackground
Whatever you do make sure your twitter background says something about you. Something that is interesting and engaging, something that makes us want to follow you. If you’d like to share other tools or ideas for creating Twitter backgrounds we are all ears. Thanks for reading. Be well and Happy Tweeting!