I don’t know if you have noticed while browsing your Facebook newsfeeds on your mobile, you find an interesting article that catches your intention, you click on the link then the article loads blazingly fast and it actually opens inside of Facebook. That my friend is called an Instant Article and it is a Facebook feature that was rolled out to all article publishers sometime in April 2016.
This is an example of a Facebook Instant Article. You will know it’s an instant article by the lightning icon at the topmost right corner of the image link
So what really is the Facebook Instant Article? The Facebook Instant Article is a Facebook feature on mobile phones that lets your article get opened right inside of your Facebook mobile newsfeed. According to Facebook, Instant Articles loads 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles, thus letting your subscribers read 20% more articles, and at the same time, it reduces the likeliness for readers to abandon articles by around 70%. Neat isn’t it? And if you’re a WordPress blogger or someone who publishes articles on WordPress then share it on your Facebook fanpage, then I guess Instant Articles is for you, and to make your life easier, I wrote a WPisLIFE exclusive tutorial on how you can leverage on this Facebook feature. Just follow the steps below
Step 1: Sign up to Instant Articles
The first thing you need to do is to go to https://instantarticles.fb.com/ and sign up. Just click the “Sign up” button to proceed to the next step
Step 2: Assign the Fanpage
One of the requirements to avail this feature is to have a Facebook Fanpage, so if you still don’t have one at the moment, it would be best to create one now.
If you have several Facebook Fanpages, all of it will be listed as seen in the image below. Also, you can activate Instant Articles on all of your fanpages but you have to do it one by one. In this example, I will be activating the Instant Article Feature on my Fanpage WPisLIFE so I will just click the radio button beside it
Then after that, just check the terms and agreement then click the “Access Instant Article Tools” button to proceed to the next step
Once you are finished with the steps above, a pop up message from Facebook will inform you that the publishing tool for Instant Articles are now accessible.
You can now find the Instant Article Tools in your Fanpage under the Publishing Tools tab
The next thing to do is proceed with the initial set up composed mainly of three steps, broken down as follows:
Step 1: Set Up Instant Articles
- Add Your Team: If you have a team managing your business, you can set the roles of each member here. Since WPisLIFE is a one-member team, there is no need to do this step.
- Get the Page Manager App: This is the mobile application for managing fanpages via mobile. Download and install the app depending on what phone you are using.
- Connect Your Site: Facebook will ask you to connect your site by adding the snippet of code in inside your header tag and also ask you to enter the url of your website.
If you are using a Genesis Theme, you can easily do this without going to your cpanel by going to Genesis > Theme Settings then scrolling down to the bottom portion of the page. Look for “Header and Footer Scripts” then paste the code in the “Header Scripts” field then press “Save Changes”
Once you’ve done that, head back to your Fanpage’s publishing tools then click “Connect URL”. Just wait for a few seconds while Facebook is verifying your website and once successful, you will see this message
You can actually add more URL but since I only use this for only one site, there’s no need to add more.
- Create Style Template: This is where you customize the look and feel of your website when viewed in Instant Articles. If you click on Style Editor, it will bring you to the “Styles” section where you can edit the style.
If you will press “+ Add Style”, the style editor will pop up and here you can customize everything from adding your site logos, text fonts, background color and many more. For this tutorial, I just added a logo and just left everything on default. Once you’re finished, just press “Create” and your settings will be saved.
Once finished, you will see the new style created under the “Styles” section
- Create Articles: Now, you will need to create articles, download the plugin Instant Articles for WP. Once installed, we will need to set it up. Though we have already done some of the steps earlier, we still need to create an app which is the first step in this process. Just click “Get Started” to proceed.
Steps 2 and 3 can actually be done inside your WordPress admin thru the Instant Articles for WP plugin, and that’s what I am going to show you right now so just follow the steps below to complete the process
You will be asked to enter your App ID and App Secret. In order to get this, you need to create a Facebook app. You can see on the left hand side the tutorial on how to create the app. Just follow it and you’ll be ok.
Once you already have your App ID and App Secret, enter it into the corresponding fields and press “Log In” you will be sent to the next page where you need to login to Facebook. Just click “Login with Facebook” to proceed.
Once you’ve logged in, you will need to select again the fanpage that you set up earlier which is the WP is Life fanpage then press “Select” to continue. This is actually a redundant step because we have already done this earlier at the Facebook page but still, we need to do it again so let’s just proceed with it.
You also need to customize again the look of your Instant Article so go ahead and click “Customize”
Once you clicked “Customize” a new page will show up; however, an error will tell you that the content is not available. Don’t worry about it because you don’t need it anyway. Just go back to your WordPress set-up page after you see this message.
You will now see that there is a “Next” button after the “Customize” button, and you just need to click the “Customize” button so that this button will appear. Just click this button to proceed to the next step.
Now you just need to submit some of your articles for review, but in my case, You can also see that the “Submit for Review” button is not yet clickable because I have to fix some of the articles, and this happened because Facebook Instant Article had some issues transforming my articles into an Instant Article. The issues with my posts is that the Facebook Instant Article is not compatible with one of my optin form plugins so I have no choice but to modify these post to remove the optin forms so that it will conform to the standards of the Instant Article transformation
Now that every articles have been edited, you can now see that the “Submit for Review” is now clickable. Just click it to submit your initial articles for review
If you happen to experience this same error that I experienced (see image below), don’t panic because all you have to do is go to your Facebook fanpage and submit the articles for review from the Publishing Tools tab
To submit the articles for review from your Facebook fanpage, just go to the Publishing Tools tab, then go to the Instant Articles configuration. You will notice in the Step 2 that there is a “Submit for Review” button, just click it to submit your initial articles for review
Now that you have submitted your articles, all you need to do is wait for around 2 to 3 days, though my review went longer because it took around 4 days before it got approved. You can check if you’re articles are already approved form you WordPress Instant Articles dashboard and it will look something like the image below
Now that it’s already approved, whenever I post an article on my fanpage, a lightning icon will be seen at the top-most right corner of my image link, which means that the post is already an instant article and will load faster when you open it on Facebook mobile.
But don’t get too excited because even though you are already approved for Facebook Instant Article, just be reminded that whenever you published an article from your WordPress and posted it immediately on you Fanpage, the article will not be transformed immediately into an Instant Article because it has to be reviewed first by the Facebook Instant Article Team
Wrapping Up and Some Reminders
And that’s it! You can now try it to if you want your articles to load a lot faster when viewed from Facebook mobile. I just want to remind you that some of the features of your website will not be viewable from Facebook Instant Article such as
- Optin forms will not be seen (in my case optin forms created using WP Optin Boxes)
- Pop-ups need to be removed (in my case pop-ups created using WP Optin Boxes)
- Tables will not be seen (in my case the review table of some of my posts created using Review Wizard Pro)
- Sidebars will not be seen
I think there’s more but in my experience, those were the ones that I easily noticed, and the only ones left in the articles are the texts, the links, and the images. Anyway, I really don’t care because I am more concerned about the user experience of my mobile readers and that is actually the one that really matters.
How about you? Have you made your WordPress posts Instant Article ready? What are your thoughts? Share it below