Want your readers to experience lightening-fast page load speed when they view your blog posts? Facebook has the solution. Facebook has recently opened Instant Articles feature to all publishers. If you don’t have an idea about Instant Articles, I will quickly explain it for you followed by a complete guide to setup Facebook Instant Articles on your WordPress blog.
What are Facebook Instant Articles
As the name suggests, this looks something that loads pages instantly when clicked. And yes, it really does. Instant Articles is a feature by Facebook that drastically improves the page load speed by converting the blog post into an HTML5 optimized document. Facebook instant articles is definitely optimized for speed and performance and gives readers a better user experience. Once you have configured Instant Articles on your blog, readers viewing your Facebook page through smartphone will automatically see the instant article icon. Here is how an instant article looks like:
If you haven’t seen an instant article yet, you can have a look at some recent posts on my Facebook page here.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Ultimate Guide to Setup Facebook Instant Articles on WordPress
Here are the 3 steps to configure instant articles for your WordPress blog:
Step 1: Sign up for instant articles
- Go to Instant Articles Sign up page. Make sure you are logged into your Facebook account before you start the sign up process. (If you are not logged in yet, you will be prompted to login on the next screen)
- You will be asked to select the page where you want to configure the Instant Articles tool.
- Scroll down and click “Access Instant Articles Tools” button. Click “Continue”.
- You will be redirected to Instant Articles configuration page. You can also manually navigate to Instant Articles configuration page by going to “Page Settings” and then clicking on “Instant Articles” from the left pane.
In order to setup Instant Articles for your blog, you need to verify the ownership of the site. Here is how you can claim your URL:
- Scroll down to Claim Your URL section.
- Copy the meta tag and add it to your WordPress blog.
- If you don’t know how to add custom meta tags, you can simply install “Add Meta Tags” plugin.
- Once you have installed the plugin, click “Metadata” under “Settings”.
- Paste your Instant Article meta tag in the “Site-wide META tags” text area.
- Click “Save Changes”.
Now go back to the Instant Articles Configuration page and click “Claim URL” button.
As the success message indicates, the next setup is to update your Production RSS Feed on Instant Articles configuration page. Before you update your Production feed, you need to install the Official Facebook Instant Articles WordPress plugin in order to get your instant articles feed URL. Install the following plugin:
Once you have installed the plugin, you can update your production RSS feed. Your production feed looks like this (YourDomain/feed/instant-articles). My production feed URL came out to be http://www.gsmhype.com/feed/instant-articles. Click “Save” to update production feed.
Configure Instant Articles Plugin
We are already done half-way and there are only few things left. After you have installed the WordPress plugin, you can see Instant Articles button in the left pane.
- Click the Instant Articles button from the left pane.
- You need to add your App ID and App Secret in order to get started.
You must be wondering what is App ID and App Secret. Don’t worry. I will explain step-by-step how to get App ID and App Secret.
To get an App ID and App Secret, you need to create a Facebook App. Here is how you can create an App in less than 2 minutes:
- Go to “Facebook for Developers” page.
- Click “Add a New App” button.
- Select “Website” from the popup screen.
- Type name for your App and hit “Create a New Facebook App ID” button.
- Select a category for your App and provide your email.
- Click “Create App ID” button.
- Provide your URL on the next screen and click Next.
- Now click “Skip to developer dashboard” button.
- On the developer dashboard, you can find your App ID and App Secret.
- Before updating these values in Instant Articles plugin, make sure you change your App status to “live”. You can do this by clicking “App Review” from left pane on developer dashboard and then updating its status to public as below.
- Now go back to the dashboard and copy App ID and App Secret and paste them in the Instant Articles plugin.
- Click “Next” to activate instant articles plugin.
- “Login with Facebook” to select the Facebook page where you want to publish instant articles.
- If you see the error “Submit for Login Review”, just ignore it and click “Okay” button.
- Select the page from the dropdown where you want to publish instant articles. Click “Next”.
Here comes an end to Step 1. You have already done the tough part. Make sure you update your logo for instant articles before heading to Step 2. Here is how you can update your logo:
- Go to Instant Articles Configuration page.
- Scroll down to “Styles” section under tools.
- Click on default style.
- In order to get your account approved, it is mandatory to upload a logo.
- Click the upload logo button. Facebook requires a logo of size 690 * 132 at-least.
- Click Save. You can leave the rest as it is.
Step 2: Submit Articles for Review
If you go to the Instant Articles configuration page, you can see that the “Submit for Review” button is disabled.
Facebook requires you to have at-least 10 articles in Instant Articles feed in order to submit articles for review. Now one way to do this is to write 10 blog posts, and then come back to this page to submit articles for review but here is a quick fix.
- Go to WordPress Dashboard. Click “Posts”.
- Select your 10 posts that you think are best.
- Open each post in Edit Mode, one by one.
- Click “Update” button. This will send the updated articles to Instant Article RSS feed.
Once you have updated 10 articles, you can now submit the articles for review. Go back to Instant Articles configuration page and click on “Submit for Review” button. It normally takes 2-3 business days to get approved. I got approval in 2 days.
Step 3: Start Publishing Instant Articles
Once your account is approved, you will see the following message:
You can now start publishing instant articles on your Facebook page. Under the “Start Publishing” section, you can turn on the auto-publishing option.
This will automatically send newly created articles to the instant articles feed. Once you share an article on your Facebook page, your readers will now see it as an instant article.
That’s it. If you had any problem while configuring Facebook instant articles for your WordPress blog, feel free to let me know in the comments section below