A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up Your Twitter Account

Are you using Twitter as part of your SEO strategy? Do you feel like you’re being left behind? Are you finally ready to set up your Twitter account? You want to tweet but you’re still not sure how to set up your account? Maybe you’re overwhelmed. Breaking down the steps to something large is a great way to conquer that feeling. This post shows you how to start and properly set up your Twitter account — in baby steps.

…baby step onto the elevator… baby step into the elevator… I’m *in* the elevator. [doors close] AHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Bob Wiley What About Bob?

Like most things in life that are overwhelming, the best approach is to break them into small, achievable tasks.  Not all of these steps have to be performed in the same day; however, breaking them down makes it less overwhelming, at least.

  1. Decide what email address you want to be associated with your Twitter account.  One email per account.  You may want a new account, if so, set up a new email.
  2. Make a list of possible Twitter names; they may not be available.
  3. You will need three graphics: avatar (profile picture – square), header photo, and background.  Have them handy to upload when you start the sign-up process.  I like to make a folder that is called “Twitter Images” and have it easy to find (desktop).
  4. Write a 160 character or less bio to put on your account.
    • Avoid spammy language like “looking for fun,” “likes long walks on the beach,” or “social media guru.”  (Oops, you got me on that last one.)
  5. Go to Twitter.com and create an account.
  6. Follow their prompts for your email address, password, and username.
  7. Upload your profile picture.
  8. Put in your website.  If you do not have a website, you can consider using your Facebook URL or you can leave it blank.
  9. Type in your bio.
  10. They allow you to have a header photo. You’ll need something for that. The Header Photo image size should be 1500×500 pixels.
  11. Steps 6-10 are in this Screencast from my updated Twitter Lessons (free).
  12. Tweet SOMETHING. Anything.  A quote.  “This is my first tweet.”  Anything.  Spammers are getting very clever these days and it’s becoming difficult to discern.  A tweet helps.  See screencast here.
  13. Find someone to follow and follow them.  Do this at least five times.  Look at their list of followers, are any of them interesting to you? (Screencast on following by interest is here.)
  14. Make lists: news, friends, whatever.  When you follow someone, put them on your list.  Read Carol Stephen’s post on why lists are useful:  “Twitter Lists for the Power User “and my post “Organizing Your Twitter Stream – Use Lists.”
  15. Make it a regular habit (daily at least) to check your Twitter account, thank those who have mentioned you, and follow back within reason.
  16. Watch my screencast of Twitter in Five Minutes
  17. Screencast on Responding to Replies

Updated May 10, 2021


  1. Carol Stephen (@Carol_Stephen) on May 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Fantastic advice, Bridget! You break Twitter down so it’s so simple. Love it!

  2. Bridget Willard on May 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks, Carol. I appreciate it.

  3. Bridget Willard on January 5, 2013 at 7:07 pm


  4. Bob Diamond on January 16, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I’m sharing your page with some of my uninitiated friends, Bridget.

  5. Bridget Willard on January 16, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Wow. Thank you so much!

  6. Bridget Willard on June 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you!

  7. Bridget Willard on February 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Go for it!

  8. Bridget Willard on May 19, 2014 at 5:33 am

    They use both.

  9. […] 1. Make sure you have a completed profile, avatar (logo), header photo, and background. Your Twitter background shouldn’t be clouds. Most of us are choosy and won’t follow eggs. See: “Baby Steps to the Tweet.” […]

  10. […] 1. Make sure you have a completed profile, avatar (logo), header photo, and background. Your Twitter background shouldn’t be clouds. Most of us are choosy and won’t follow eggs. See: “Baby Steps to the Tweet.” […]

  11. Skinnygrlluvs2eat on July 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Great blog! Especially love the default background advice 🙂

  12. Bridget Willard on July 30, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks. Of course it may not matter so much anymore.

  13. […] already know how to setup an account. (If you don’t, go here.) But now you want to know if an account looks […]

  14. […] of the Harbor which is the same image I’m using on my Blog and Twitter headers, too.  (See Baby Steps to the Tweet to learn how to set that […]

  15. […] totally agree with Neil. You need to set up Twitter right the first time. Don’t follow anyone until this is done. And make your bio something that makes sense. If your […]

  16. […] If you’re not sure how to get started, this blog post lines out how to set up your Twitter account.  […]