Finally Facebook woke up and smelt the coffee, WordPress is now making up a massive percentage of the total websites online and how better to use this to your advantage than to build your own “official” wordpress plugin to help as many WordPress Webmasters use your platform as possible.
For a while now there have been a plethora of plugins to add Facebook and Open Graph support to WordPress but non as comprehensively as this new plugin.
Features of the plugin
– Contains your Open Graph data.
– Social Publisher
– Recommendations Bar
– Like Button
– Send Button
– Subscribe Button
– Recent Activity
To get started you will need to go to add new plugins inside your WordPress dashboard and search for and then install the plugin named simply “Facebook”. You should see this is the one created by the author name Facebook to see it is the official plugin.
The second thing you will need to do is visit https://developers.facebook.com/apps logged into your facebook account and create an app. Once you have set this up as per the instructions the plugin provides you will then need to take 3 pieces of information from your newly created FB App and paste these into the plugin settings. You will need your App ID, Your App Secret, and your Namespace.
Once the above is done and you have saved your settings Open Graph is then setup on your site and ready for you to use some of the social tools.
Contains your Open Graph data
The first thing about this plugin is that it provides a simple 3 step process to add open graph meta data to your wordpress website’s pages. This is easier for most people when compared to adding scripts to yoursection.
This for me provides the most exciting tool, as this was not very well integrated with any WordPress solutions until now and offers several cool features
1) Allows you and other authors on your website to auto publish to their own personal Facebook timelines and to your main website fanpage on Facebook when they hit “Publish”.
2) It also provides extra custom fields on your add post screen which allow you to mention other Facebook Users, Fanpages, and add a custom status update message with the share. This really covers all bases when it comes to sharing new content on Facebook.
To set this up you have to create an action within your Facebook App to allow users to write a new article (object). Once you have set it up as admin and submitted, each author of your site who logs in will be prompted to sync their WordPress user account with their Facebook credentials. Full instructions on how to complete this and most of the other points can be found at Facebook: WordPress.
This is also a nice addition and can also be set to show after the user has scrolled down the page therefore not being too “in your face”. It uses your friends activity on the website to give recommendations, if none of the above exists it will purely show you what is currently popular amongst other visitors of the site and fanpage.
This is turned on by activating it on the settings page using the check box. You have 4 settings you can control such as what percentage of the page the user needs to scroll down before it appears, the read time, and more.
The Like button needs no introduction and is a prerequisite for any official Facebook plugin. This plugin allows you to add the button as a widget though I prefer to ue the code for this solution as you have more control over its positioning.
Similar to the Like button but for sending an article to a specific Facebook friend. Has grown in popularity and been adopted by many websites who feel this direct share approach is more relevant and targeted than publishing to your own Facebook wall for all to see. This can be added as a widget also.
The subscribe button allows you to subscribe to a user or fanpage’s feed. Fairly simple and added by use of widgets.
Another widget but one I have adopted on http://gbcmag.com (at the bottom of the sidebar) is a cool addition which has mainly been adopted by larger sites with more know how and development budget, now this can be easily added in and displays the sites recent activity.
Facebook comments are another popular social tool and have in some cases been difficult to get working with open graph for the noobie web developer. This can now be easily added to your site, though I personally am not ready to have my entire discussion handled by Facebook and still use Disqus for most situations. The advantage with Disqus is that is allows not only Facebook users to comment but also Twitter, Open ID and more.
The Insights feature is more for ease of access than anything else. The plugin adds Facebook to your dashboard menu, upon hovering there is an Insights link, while I was kind of hoping this would take me to a WordPress administration page pulling my Insights in it actually just takes you to your Insights page on Facebook in a new tab. Maybe in the future hey>
What is Missing?
Like Box – In my humble opinion I think our old friend the Like Box aka Fan Box is missing, this is the one Facebook social plugin I have integrated time and time again. Both for our own portfolio of websites and also nearly every client where Facebook is somehow relevant to their marketing strategy, which nowadays is pretty much every business nowadays.
Shortcodes & Template Tags – while Widgets are a cool and flexible way to add these Facebook tools to your website, the advanced and curious amongst us who enjoy adding these tools to parts of a wordpress theme template or in a page would benefit for both Shortcode and Template Tag support for easily adding the features.
Facepile – Another social tool I am fond of for situations where you want to fill a thin space. I have seen it used in many cool and creative ways and think when combined together with the Facebook Like button beneath or above it can look better than the Fan Box.
I am sure more tools and features will be added as the plugin only came out recently and has only had one update so far. Perhaps they will indeed add support for the above when the time is right and also for other tools such as login, register and so on. The full list of tools that can be added using snippets of code can be found at Facebook Social Plugins.
If when you post to your timeline the snippet it grabbing the wrong image then you might not be using the “Featured Image” section. If you add your main photo to there then the issue should be resolved.
This service is now being included in our social media package to help our customers make the most of the social network tools.
If you would like to hire us to install and setup Facebook Open Graph with your website head over to our Contact Us page and get in touch. I would love to hear about your experiences with this new solution and any old solution for that matter, what you think of the features and what you think is missing? Over and out.