Have you heard about Facebook Instant Articles and want to add them to your WordPress site?
Instant Articles are excellent for delivering content quickly to Facebook users. They load 10 times faster and use a mobile format. This helps provide an exceptional user experience and increases your followers.
In this article, we will show you how to easily setup Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress.
What are Facebook Instant Articles?
Instant Articles is a Facebook feature that allows you to load your content 10 times faster by using a customized mobile format. It is based on the same technology used in Facebook apps for mobile devices.
Instant Articles load up to 10 times faster than a normal web page. This incredible boost in speed provides a better user experience for mobile users.
Many popular media sites like BuzzFeed, TechCrunch, Mashable, and countless others are using it on their websites. You can easily spot instant articles in your Facebook feed by the lightning bolt icon.
Pros and Cons of Facebook Instant Articles
Like everything else, there are some advantages and disadvantages of using instant articles on your website.
Pros of Using Facebook Instant Articles
- Faster load time means a significant improvement in user experience.
- Due to speed, users are more likely to share your content.
- Access to monetization options through Facebook Audience Network.
- Boosted Facebook Page Reach.
- Facebook’s massive user base can bring a new wave of traffic to your site.
Cons of Using Facebook Instant Articles
- Users will not see your full WordPress website layout including sidebars. It will hide your useful widgets, email list forms, and everything else that is not part of the article.
- You may see a drop in advertising revenue, as Facebook instant articles limit the advertisers and the number of ads you can show on an article.
- You can use some images and videos in your article, but Facebook instant articles will limit that as well.
- Most shortcodes, custom fields, and other WordPress blog features will not be displayed in your articles.
Considering the pros and cons of using Facebook Instant Articles, it is a mix bag for publishers. It actually depends on the type of content you produce and your business goals.
If you’re a news media site, then it makes sense for you to add it. If you’re a business website, then it may not be a huge difference maker.
What Do You Need to Enable Facebook Instant Articles in WordPress?
There are a few requirements for setting up Facebook Instant Articles on your WordPress site. You need a:
- Facebook page for your WordPress website.
- At least 10 or more articles on your website.
- Instant Articles for WP plugin (We will show you how to set it up later in this article).
Having said that, let’s get started by applying for Facebook Instant Articles.
Signing up for Facebook Instant Articles
First, you need to visit the Facebook Instant Articles website and click on the ‘Start earning’ button to get started.
Next, log in to your Facebook account or create a new one if you don’t have an account.
After logging in, you’ll see the Creator Studio. Facebook will now ask you to select a page under the ‘Monetization’ tab.
Go ahead and select your Facebook Page for your website and click the ‘Set Up’ button.
After that, you’ll need to complete setup tasks and submit your page for review.
First, you’ll need to agree to the terms and conditions.
Next, click the ‘Begin’ button to Add 10 production articles for review.
When you click the button, more options will appear.
You need to prove the ownership of your website by claiming your URL. Go ahead and click the ‘Claim’ button in front of the Claim domain option.
Facebook will show you a code snippet that you’ll need to add to your WordPress website.
You can add up to 10 websites for Facebook Instant Articles.
You need to copy the code and insert it into the
<head> section of your WordPress site.
There are two ways you can add this code to your website.
You can edit the header.php file in your child theme and paste the code just before
After activating the plugin, go to Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page from the WordPress dashboard and paste the code into the header section.
Click on the Save button to store your changes.
Once you have added the code to your website, you need to switch back to the Creator Studio tab and click the ‘Claim URL’ button.
A popup window will now appear.
Simply enter your domain and click the ‘Claim’ button. If your site is still under development, you can enable the ‘This is a development URL’ option.
Next, you’ll see your domain under the ‘Approved domain URLs’ field once it’s approved.
Go ahead and click the ‘Confirm’ button.
The next step is to add an Instant Articles RSS feed for your website.
To do that, scroll down to ‘Add production articles’ and simply click the ‘Add’ button.
On the next screen, you’ll see a dropdown menu where you can select how you’d like to add production articles.
Go ahead and click the ‘Add articles’ dropdown menu and select the ‘Add with RSS feed’ option.
A popup window will now appear with production RSS feed information.
Here, you’ll need to enter the RSS feed URL.
To create an RSS feed URL, you can head back to your WordPress website dashboard and generate an Instant Article feed.
Upon activation, you can head over to Instant Articles from your WordPress admin panel and enter your Facebook Page ID. You can find the page ID in the Claim domain section in Creator Studio.
After entering the page ID, don’t forget to save the settings.
The plugin will generate an instant articles feed for your WordPress site.
You can find the feed by adding
/feed/instant-articles after your site’s URL, like this:
Copy your instant articles feed URL and switch back to your Facebook Creator Studio tab. Next, enter the RSS feed URL and click the ‘Save’ button.
Facebook will show you a success message that your feed is added.
Setup Style and Branding for Your Instant Articles
Next, you can edit the style of your Facebook Instant Articles.
Simply go to the ‘Configure article styles’ option under Add 10 production articles for review and click the ‘Configure’ button.
After that, you can change the look and feel of your articles.
Go ahead and click the ‘Add style’ button.
This will open up a popup where you can customize the default style of Instant Articles.
There are options to upload your website logo and edit the style of your title, body text, byline, subtitle, and more.
The best part is that you can see a live preview of the change you made in the window on your right.
After making the changes, don’t forget to click on Save and then click on Done.
Submit Your Instant Articles Feed for Review
Before submitting your Instant Articles feed for review, you need to make sure that you have at least 10 articles in your Instant Articles feed.
If you have already published more than 10 articles on your website, but the feed is not showing all of them, then you need to edit your last 10 articles and simply click on the update button.
Once you are sure that you have 10 articles in your Instant Articles feed, you are now ready to submit them to Facebook for review.
If there are no errors with your Instant Articles feed and you’ve completed all the required tasks, then you will see a ‘Submit for review’ button. Go ahead and click on this button to send your feed for review.
That’s all, Instant Articles will become available for your website once the Facebook team has reviewed and approved your feed.
Bonus: Track Facebook Instant Articles in Google Analytics
Now that you’ve successfully setup Facebook Instant Articles in WordPress, you should also see how they’re performing.
By tracking their performance in Google Analytics, you can see which articles get the most traffic and how users interact with your content.
Do note that you’ll need MonsterInsights Pro version because it includes the Facebook Instant Articles addon and other advanced tracking features. There’s also a MonsterInsights Lite version that you can use for free.
First, install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin. For more details, please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Upon activation, you’ll see the MonsterInsights welcome screen in your WordPress dashboard. Go ahead and click the ‘Launch the Wizard’ button to connect your WordPress site with Google Analytics.
You can follow our step by step guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress for more information.
After that, head over to Insights » Addons from your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the ‘Facebook Instant Article’ addon.
Next, click the ‘Install’ button and the addon will automatically activate.
That’s it, there’s no need for additional configuration. MonsterInsights will now start to track your Facebook Instant Articles in Google Analytics.
Facebook Instant Articles Troubleshooting Tips
Facebook requires that your Instant Articles feed to match the specifications described on their developer website. Instant Articles for WP plugin handles that part for you.
However, depending on the theme or plugins you are using on your site, you might see some errors or warnings. An easier way to troubleshoot those errors is by editing a post and scrolling down to the Facebook Instant Articles meta box below the post editor.
Most of the errors are caused by plugins or themes adding content into your posts that are not supported by transformer rules used by Instant Articles for WP plugin.
You can create your own custom transformer rules. Refer to the plugin’s documentation to learn how to add your custom transformer rules.
However, we feel that it would be difficult for most beginners to do that on their own, so you may need a developer. You can try to configure your other plugins and themes and stop them from adding content blocks to your posts.
If you are continuously getting an Empty Feed error when submitting your Instant Articles feed, then check the URL you are trying to add.
These are two different URLs, and depending on your WordPress setup, entering the incorrect URL may result in a 404 error.
If you are still seeing the empty feed error, then try updating the last ten posts on your site. This will change their time modified and will add them to the feed.
We hope this article helped you set up Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 40 useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress blog and how to start an online store.