WordPress is admittedly the most used CMS(content management system). It caters to a wide range of siteowners. From small scale websites to tech news giants, everybody can rely on its robust yet flexible website management. On the other hand, to promote their content every webmaster has to rely on social media. Facebook, for long, has provided a feisty marketing tool for every business out there. From the time Open Graph came to existence, webmasters had no other choice but to code their apps to integrate Facebook’s social experience with their WordPress blogs. Thankfully with the new plugin it won’t be a strenuous task anymore.
Let’s start with the installation. Follow the simple steps below to activate the new plugin.
1. Download the Facebook plugin for WordPress.
2. You can either upload it to your blog’s hosting server with your ftp client or you can use your WordPress account. A quick tutorial is available here.
3. Once you have succesfully uploaded the plugin, go to Plugins > Inactive and scroll down to activate the Facebook plugin.
4. Now in order to use the plugin you will need to register a Facebook app. You don’t need to be a coder to do that. Just go to The Facebook Developers page and create a new app.
NOTE: If you already have an app registered with Facebook you can go directly to the app and copy the App ID and App Secret. Skip this step and start from step 6.
5. Now add the page name (your blog name would be a good choice here), namespace(optional, entering your blog name is recommended) and Heroku web hosting(optional). Once you are done, you will be redirected to the app page where you will get the App ID and App Secret. These will be needed for configuring the plugin. Scroll down and you will find an option where you will need to mention how your app integrates with Facebook. Click the first option “Website with Facebook Login” and enter your full blog URL i.e including the http://. Once done press the button Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
6. Now that you have your App ID, App Secret and namespace go back to your plugin configuration page and enter them. After, you have completed the activation you will be presented with a settings page for the Facebook plugin. Choose the options you wish to and save the necessary changes after you had configured them. We’ll discuss more on the configuration changes and how it effects your site layout in a later post.
Every WordPress is meant to add additional capabilities to the CMS. Facebook for WordPress implements the latest social attributes of Facebook for your blog.
1. Social Publisher: This is indeed something new and helpful if you own a multi-author blog. True you could already share posts automatically on Facebook as they were published. However, if your authors too can showcase their posts on their personal timeline, that would mean some additional traffic from their friends and followers. Apart from these any author can mention the names of their friends to post on their timeline as well.
2. Send and Like buttons are primitive if compared with the rest of the functions the plugin offers. It adds a Like and Send button to the top/bottom of any post of your blog to let users share it with their Facebook friends.
3. Subscribe Button: This definitely helps any blog to promote their authors and in turn their content. So far top blogs with reputed authors used to have this feature(but was not limited to). The hassle of coding is no more there, all you now need to do is ask every author to authorize the app from within their WordPress accounts. Doing this will show a subscribe button at the end of the post.
4. The comments section is also something that was popular already. It also comes bundled with other features with this plugin.
5. Recommendation Bar: Technically this is the only significant feature that comes for the first time along with the plugin release. This adds a sticky bar that shows article recommendations to readers. The readers can use the Like button there to like the post they are on or turn on the social reading. This can serve as viral marketing as friends of the reader will see a ticker or news feed entry that says “X read THIS POST on THE BLOG”. Until now this was possible with the selected social readers after the last f8 keynote.
What it means for a reader?
So as the behemoth of social marketing integrates more easily with the most popular blogging platform expect more clutter in your already populous news feed. Apart from that if you really love sharing what you read, it would be a more pleasant experience for you.
What changes for a webmaster?
Thankfully, a lot. Less coding and more functions. A caution, do not overdo. Sometimes less is more. With more sharing features you will enjoy better visibility on the social network but similar to other plugins your site load time will be hit. Sticky bars are good but at the same time can be annoying too. As you are a better judge for your readers, the decision rests upon you.
Why was it launched? How does it make up for Facebook?
As you have noticed, apart from the recommendations bar everything was already there. This might just be a compilation of the Facebook sharing features. My personal opinion is that the recommendation bar feature is what motivated Facebook to launch this plugin. Since Facebook is planning on a better functional search (and Bing’s social search) their repository should be rich in content. Apart from pages, updates and other things the social reader will take the user engagement to the next level. The less known blogs (with low sharer counts) can also include their content now in a much simpler way. This seems even more relevant as Facebook went on the IPO way and is struggling so far. A new opportunity based on search ads sounds too lucrative to dismiss. Now considering their proximity to Bing they are less likely to go for a head-on clash with Google(Bing already enjoys that rightfully). So improving the internal search for content might be a way out of this.
Think of me as an elitist but I will still bank on the facts that Facebook has already done a great job in luring users. A better platform with better search will only make things better for them(and hopefully a boost for their IPO) and for a right mind that should not be considered evil. There’s nothing personal, it’s all business.