Nowadays everything is about speed! Not only in terms of SEO but mainly in terms of usability. The search engines are strict about these requirements and monitor each website so that only the optimized ones will be on top.
But this is no longer a specific task reserved only for the crawling bots. The other major traffic source (social media) has joined the party with similar requirements. And in this post I will present to you some solutions for optimizing your WordPress website for the instant articles of the biggest player so far – Facebook.
What are instant articles?
This is a website content that is shared on Facebook as you would do normally. However when clicking on it the user will still remain in Facebook and load it instantly leveraging the same technology that is used to display photos and videos in the Facebook mobile app itself. According to Facebook the loading times are 10 times better compared to the standard mobile web.
So the instant articles can be considered an optimized website content that is instantly available for the Facebook mobile app users. They are interactive and immersive. With this technology each publisher can improve the user experience by bringing a new life to their content. In order to find out more about this program you should visit the official website instantarticles.fb.com
Also you can see how they work from this video:
How is WordPress involved in all of this?
You need to optimize your content for the instant article program so that you can leverage its powerful features and provide your Facebook followers with great mobile content that is loading instantly on their mobile devices using the mobile app.
How to optimize WordPress for Facebook’s instant articles?
There is an official way to do it and some unofficial (yet effective) solutions all in the forms of plugins, of course.
The official plugin is created by Facebook and Automattic (the company that is behind WordPress.com). You can get it from GitHub by clicking here.
What it does? It interacts with your content so that you can get your text and multimedia loaded instantly and properly displayed in the Facebook mobile app. For example your images will be available for full screen viewing after a simple click on them. See the example below:
This plugin also adapts the video player so that they can fit beautifully and instantly in the instant articles.
And basically this is all regarding the official solution. You can read more about it here: Introducing a WordPress Plugin for Instant Articles. Bear in mind that this plugin is still in BETA phase.
What other options do I have?
Since the instant articles program is yet to fully arive on the scene you should be aware that all of the solutions are still having some potential problems. However some of them are quite fit for the task at hand and I will present them to you.
The first one is PageFrog. You can get it from WordPress.org and install it. It will optimize your website not only for Facebook’s instant articles but also for Google’s accelerated mobile pages (don’t miss to check the article on the topic for AMP).
After you activate the plugin you should go to “Mobile Formats -> Setup” and then follow the instructions on the screen in order to optimize your WordPress content for the specific mobile pages (instant articles in our current case).
After this you will receive a live preview while editing your content so that you can be fully aware how it will end up looking when loaded on the users’ mobile devices.
If you are happy with PageFrog’s presentantion and functionality (see the reviews for the plugin) then I suggest that you read this great guide on how to set it up correctly. It is created by socialmediaexaminer.com and it will also present to you what is needed to start on the instant articles program.
There are also other solutions but currently they are not rated quite high and this means that you might have some potential problems with them. Of course you should keep an eye on their development as they might turn to be the most suitable options for your WordPress website in the near future.
Here is a list of the WordPress plugins for Facebook Instant Articles that you might also consider:
- allfacebook Instant Articles
- Simple Facebook Instant Articles
- Facebook Instant Articles for WP
What is next?
Patience and optimization! The instant article program is a great thing and each publisher should be utilizing its powerful features. This will improve traffic and conversions as well as overall user experience and brand awareness. This will also gain you more Facebook followers, comments and likes (and other emotions/reactions as well).
Currently my personal choice is to wait a little bit longer before I activate instant articles on my websites. However waiting does not mean doing nothing. I am preparing by selecting content that is to be provided initially to the program. But if you consider yourselves ready then you can go ahead and try some of the solutions mentioned above.
Please don’t forget to share your experience with them in the comments below. This will be extremely useful for our community here at TheCMSPlace.
See you soon friends!