In April 2016, the Facebook Instant Articles program was opened to all publishers. Since then, thousands of content publishers have joined the program to deliver a better user experience to those who read their articles from the Facebook mobile app. More traffic and revenues are expected, too.
If you publish content regularly and have been gaining much traffic from the content shared on Facebook, then it’s time to configure Instant Articles for your WordPress site. In below, we will show you how to do this, but at first, we would like to offer some basic knowledge about Instant Articles.
What Are Instant Articles?
“Instant Articles” is a program started by Facebook in May 2015 and made public to all in April 2016. This program is mainly developed to solve the slow loading of articles on the Facebook mobile app.
Once you join the program, your articles shared on Facebook can be served to viewers in a much faster way, and according to Facebook, Instant Articles could load 10 times faster than the standard mobile web content. The fast speed, then, will probably contribute to more reads on the articles and larger traffic to the original articles on your website.
Besides, after participating in the program, you are able to control the visual display, such as using a branded design, selling ad spaces, using the storytelling capability, etc.
If you rely heavily on web content for online business and share a large number of articles on Facebook, you can try Instant Articles to improve the speed and user experience. Also, this program is especially important for those with target audience in countries with low connectivity, for example, India and Brazil.
Since you have got the basic knowledge, now you can set up Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress to see the magic. But before following the steps below, make sure that you have created at least one Facebook Page because Instant Articles function only when the required RSS feed is properly connected to a Facebook Page.
Enable and Configure Instant Articles
First of all, log into your Facebook account. Then, visit the Instant Articles page and click on the “Sign up” button.
On the new page, select a Facebook Page from all the available pages, and tick the checkbox for agreeing to terms. You can choose any Facebook Page, but if you have created a brand page for the WordPress site that you are going to enable Instant Articles on, simply use it. After doing these things, click on the access tools button.
Now you have enabled Instant Articles successfully. As soon as you click on the “Continue” button in the small popup, you will be redirected to the Instant Articles configuration page. To make Instant Articles work, the minimum requirement is to use the first two tools listed in the “Tools” section.
Claim your URL
By expanding the “Claim Your URL” tool, you will get a meta tag as is shown in below. You need to add this meta tag in your website’s header by editing the header.php file or using the Insert Headers and Footers plugin.
After placing the meta tag in the header section of your WordPress site, enter your website URL in the text field under “URL”, and click on “Claim URL”. If the meta tag has been placed properly, you can now get a success message.
Set up the RSS feed
As mentioned above, Instant Articles require a properly generated RSS feed to function well, so you have to make such a RSS feed and enter it in the “Production RSS Feed” tool.
Here, you can take advantage of a plugin named Instant Articles for WP. After installing the plugin, make sure to activate it immediately, and upon activation, a RSS feed for Instant Articles will be generated automatically. This feed can be checked by putting /feed/instant-articles at the end of your domain.
After getting the feed URL, enter it in “Production RSS Feed” and click “Save”.
Now the Facebook Instant Articles have been configured to work. However, to make your future experience easier, we suggest you make full use of the Instant Articles for WP plugin that has been installed. With this official plugin, you will enjoy a much easier life in submitting WordPress posts for Instant Articles, viewing post status, managing transformer rules, etc.
The following section is going to guide you through the setup of the plugin.
Configure the Instant Articles for WP Plugin
When the plugin is activated, it generates a RSS feed without any extra configuration. However, to make it work for any other purpose, for example, publishing Instant Articles with it, you have to take an extra step – to activate it by entering your Facebook App ID and App Secret.
If you have already created a Facebook App, simply enter the information required by the plugin. If not, you can make one easily in minutes.
After logging into your Facebook account, visit the Facebook App page and click on “Add a New App”. In the popup, select “Website”.
On the new page, enter a name for the App, and click on the creation button.
Then in the popup, enter your contact email and select a category for the new App as you like. After that, click on the “Create App ID”.
On the next page, scroll down and enter your website URL in the text field. Then click “Next” to proceed to the next step.
Now you head to the test of the App. Skip the test and go to the developer dashboard. There you will get the App ID and App Secret that are needed by the Instant Articles plugin.
However, before copying them to the plugin settings, you have to make the App live first because it is still in the development mode. To do this, click on the “App Review” menu in the left sidebar, and select “Yes” to make the App available to the public.
As soon as the App goes live, copy the App ID and App Secret to the plugin.
After the App information is saved, click on “Login with Facebook” to log into your account, and then select a Facebook Page from the dropdown. Note that this page should be the one that you have enabled Instant Articles to.
Now you can deal with some other plugin settings as you want, including:
- Assigning a custom style to the Instant Articles.
- Configuring the ads that will be displayed in Instant Articles.
- Enabling analytics integration.
- Enabling the development mode to test Instant Articles in Facebook.
When everything is done, you can start using Instant Articles.
Submit WordPress Posts for Review
Before you can really publish Instant Articles to Facebook, you have to submit 10 articles for the Instant Articles team to review. Only if your articles are approved by the team, can you begin publishing Instant Articles, or you have to resolve the team’s feedback and resubmit your articles until you get approved.
To submit 10 articles for review, you can open 10 published posts in the WordPress dashboard and update all of them once again to send them to the Instant Articles RSS feed. Then, you need to go to the Instant Articles configuration page on Facebook and click on the “Submit for Review” button shown in the screenshot above.
Now you have to wait a few days for the feedback given by the Instant Articles team. If you are approved, you can publish Instant Articles immediately to deliver a better user experience to your mobile readers. Updating the existing posts will send them to Instant Articles automatically.
To preview your Instant Articles and their styles, you need to download the Facebook Pages Manager App on your mobile devices.