Facebook is an ever-evolving, unstoppable giant that is becoming more and more feature-rich social network. Day by day it is customizing itself to personalize our experience inside.
For the first time, Facebook has developed a feature for Bloggers like us to make use of the social network to get better website experience.
And you guessed it right. It’s none other than Facebook Instant Articles, a way of cutting down your blog loading time on Facebook by making the page available instantly. 😉
What is Facebook Instant Articles?
As the name suggests, Instant Articles is a feature introduced by Facebook to load external websites for mobile users quickly in no time (or almost instantly).
This delivers a seamless experience to the users as they don’t have to wait for external websites to load. It is loaded immediately inside Facebook Network.
This, in turn, drives far more traffic and boosts your social signals to a large extent.
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Why is Facebook Instant Articles so Fast?
Questions may arise, that when browsing takes some time to load a website, how is Facebook loading the same website in zero time?
The answer is FACEBOOK DOESN’T LOAD YOUR SITE ENTIRELY. It fetches most of the content of your site and represents a lite version of the blog showing mainly the pictures and the text.
The primary goal of Instant Articles is to strip off the heavy scripts running on your side and load only what is relevant to your readers.
This shall cover up most of the parts of your website, but yet there are some parts which aren’t visible to the viewers.
For example, the popup boxes and the sidebars won’t be shown in Instant Articles. Also, the comment box is missing.
But well, this happens only for your Facebook traffic, the rest of the users you get from other networks and search engines can visit your actual website and see everything.
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And Instant Articles helps to boost social shares, as people are more likely to share them.
If you have Google Adsense Ads enabled on your blog, then it won’t show them too. But don’t worry, Facebook Instant Articles has it’s own monetization options that deliver more relevant ads to your visitors and gains more impressions than Adsense.
In spite of these small modifications, I would strongly recommend you to use Facebook Instant Articles, as it is beneficial for your social network fans and would help them interact with your website better, as they get to see your blog within the Facebook App.
Instant Articles Bring your Blog within the Facebook App, thus making it closer to your friends on Facebook.
And day by day more and more bloggers are implementing them, making their blog load blazing fast, so it would be a wrong decision not to apply it.
Rest assured; your non-facebook traffic will see the original version of your website only. This change is for your Facebook fans.
So, without much interruption, let’s get to our topic of discussion: How to Enable Facebook Instant Articles on your Blog. Below is the step by step tutorial which you can follow and quickly start delivering the fastest website loading speeds to your Facebook Fans.
The whole set up process will take around 10-15 minutes if you follow the steps I wrote. And within two-three days (you will know why it takes the extra two days inside the article) you will be ready with Facebook Instant Articles.
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Step 1: Create your Facebook App for Instant Articles
This step could have been included somewhere in the middle of the post, as it is not required at the beginning, but still, I added it at the beginning so that you are not distracted during the main steps afterward.
To Deliver Instant Articles, you need to create your own Facebook App. We just need the App Id and App Secret.
Most of you already know how to make one. Still, I am writing it in short so that you can understand it.
Before everything, make sure you are logged into your Facebook from the browser you are trying to sign up.
Go to Facebook Developers Website and click Add New App from the My Apps Dropdown Menu on the right.
It will load a popup. Select Platform as Website.
Now, enter your Contact Email, and choose any Category from the drop-down, and click Create App Id.
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Now, you will come to the Dashboard of your Facebook App.
Go to Settings Menu on the left, and click on Add Platform.
You will find a popup. Click on Website.
Now, you shall find a space below. Add up your Blog URL there and click on Save Changes.
Enter your blog URL again in the App Domains section and click on Save Changes.
Now, go to App Review Tab on the left and toggle the Make App Public from No to Yes.
A Popup will load and ask your permissions. Click Confirm.
You will find App Id and App Secret over there. Copy them. We are going to need it in the future steps.
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Step 2: Signup on Facebook Instant Articles Website
Visit the Instant Articles Signup Page and you shall see the Sign Up Button. Click on Sign Up.
This will open the sign-up page. There it will ask you to choose the Facebook Page you want to enable Instant Articles.
Agree to the Instant Articles Terms by checking the small box, and then click Access Instant Articles Tools.
A popup will be displayed which will say that now you have access to the Instant Articles Publishing Tools. Click Continue.
This will open up the Publishing Tools section of your chosen Facebook Page. You can see Instant Articles setup option over there.
Some helpful documentation links will also be given over there so that you can understand. For now, let’s quickly jump towards completing our quick set up procedure.
Scroll down that page to find some options you need to configure. The first one is claiming your URL.
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Step 3: Claim your Blog URL
Claiming your URL is just verifying and letting Facebook know that you own that URL.
Click the Claim your URL option. Facebook will give you a meta tag and ask you to verify.
Here’s how to do that for WordPress Users:
Log into your WordPress Dashboard, Click on Appearance > Editor.
On the right side, you can see various portions of your WordPress. Find Theme Header (header.php) and click on it.
Now find out these two tags: <head> and </head> and paste the code in a line in between them without hampering other codes.
One easy way to search for the tag is to press the ctrl+f key. A search bar will appear in the top right corner just below the extensions tab.Type
Type <head> and it will highlight the portion of the code having the tag.
Once you got them, paste the meta tag over there and click on Update File. The page will refresh, and you will get a message on top: File Edited Successfully.
Now head back to Facebook and on the URL Section, type your blog link. Click Claim URL.
The URL will be successfully claimed, meaning that this website is configured to load via Instant Articles. However, there are more steps to complete.
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Step 4: Connect your Blog RSS Feed to Instant Articles
Just below the Claim your URL Option, you will find the Production RSS Feed Section.
To make your instant articles live, Facebook needs to fetch your recent posts via Instant Articles, so you need to add up your Blog RSS Feed for Instant Articles over there.
Note that your default RSS feed will not be valid. You need to install official instant articles WordPress plugin to set up your blog RSS feed for instant articles.
Install and activate Facebook Instant Articles Official WordPress Plugin. [Or you can search it in the WordPress plugins directory, and install from there directly]
Now go to Facebook Instant Articles Tab from your Dashboard, it will ask you to link your Facebook account via App Id and App Secret.
Well, now you know why we created the App Id and App Secret earlier in Step 1. Input your App Id and App Secret over there and click Next.
Now you shall find a button: Login Via Facebook. Click on that and choose your Facebook Page in which you want to load Instant Articles.
It will ask your permissions, approve it. Ignore any warnings for login reviews. Click Okay.
Similarly, it will ask your permissions to manage your pages. Approve it too.
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Now you shall find a dropdown. Select your Facebook Page from the Dropdown in which you want to load Instant Articles.
Now that you have activated the Instant Articles Plugin, you can Connect your Blog Instant Articles RSS Feed.
Go back to the Production RSS Feed Section on your Facebook Page (We were here at the beginning of Step 4). You shall find an RSS Feed URL Section over there.
For most WordPress blogs, the blog feed URL is the blog link followed by /feed at the end.
So, the instant articles feed URL will be: bloglink.com/feed/instant-articles
For Example, The Instant Articles Feed URL for HiTricks will be: https://hitricks.com/feed/instant-articles
So, input your Instant Articles RSS Feed over there in this format I mentioned.
Click on Save.
Note: No need to check the option: Feed Requires HTTP Authentication.
You will get a popup with the Message: Your Feed was updated successfully.
That’s all about adding RSS Feeds. Now we will proceed to the next step.
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Step 5: Add Up Your Styles
This step is necessary to customize the articles in the way we prefer.
In the Tools Section, Browse to the Styles Option. You shall find the following.
Click on Default. A popup will load.
Most blogs already have a transparent logo, so resizing it won’t be an issue, but for those who don’t have a logo, prepare a transparent image with your blog title and upload. Use image editors as per your need.
Once you upload your logo, you can optionally change the other options below, though they are not required. Click Save.
Now, you will get a popup confirmation that your style has been saved successfully.
Now time for the Submission of your Articles to Facebook Team for Approval. This is a mandatory step to get approved into the Instant Articles Network.
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Step 6: Submit Instant Articles for Approval
Go to the Initial Setup option in the Publishing Tools section of your Facebook Page. You shall see this.
Click on Submit for Review.
You will find a popup like this saying your articles are submitted for review successfully. Click OK.
That’s all needed from your part. Now just wait for Facebook Team to approve your blog, and then you can publish your instant articles feed.
Note: It can take up to 5 business days for Facebook Team to verify your account. (Generally, it takes just 48 hours) So, have patience and wait. 🙂
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Step 7: Resolving Errors
This is by far the trickiest step of all the steps, and even I don’t know exactly how you should fix it, however, I will try my best to help you out. Rest assured; it’s easy to fix.
In the last step, you had submitted your article for review, right? But that does not mean your article is going to be approved.
Unfortunately, most of the times it gets declined. Not because that you don’t qualify for it, but because your submitted feed is not in the correct format.
Well, the Facebook Team maintains a general format for their instant articles, which does not often match with our submitted format.
If your article gets declined, it will show you an example feed where the errors are visible. So, you only need to correct that example feed only, and no need to touch other feeds.
You can get errors of the following two types: [It will be visible under Configuration Tab Review Status where you submitted review]
- Missing Captions for Images [I faced this error as I don’t give captions to my images]
- Embed Errors
Well, for missing captions for Images, you just need to add a <figcaption> element inside your <figure> element in your pictures. The Exact Guide to Resolve Caption Errors is Given Here.
If you embed contents from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. directly into your blog, then most probably you will get an Embed Error. The Exact Guide to Resolve Embed Errors is Given Here.
In case you find it hard to follow this, here’s a trick:
Just remove your embedded content HTML codes from your submitted feed temporarily and submit for review. Once you get approved, you can then proceed to build the correct format.
Keep in mind; you don’t need to fix errors from all your feeds, just resolve the error on the feed which is pointed out by Facebook Team. And you are ready to go.
The aim is to get your blog approved for Instant Articles as quickly as possible. 🙂
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Step 8: Enable Auto-Import from RSS Feed
After you get approved, you shall find this on your Instant Articles Configuration Page on Facebook.
Slide the highlighted Auto-Import button towards the right to turn it on.
You will find a popup which will say, Your Feed is now Live.
That’s all. Your instant articles can now be directly accessible via Facebook. Do you want to try that out?
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Step 9: Make your Production Articles LIVE
Just go to Production Articles Section in your Instant Articles Tab of Publishing Tools.
Select all posts, and click on Action Dropdown Menu, then click on Publish.
That’s all. Your articles are now LIVE.
To see your articles, just browse your old shared posts on your Facebook Page. You will find the Instant Articles Symbol over it. 🙂
Click on the instant article; you can see it instantly. 🙂
So, enjoy reading some instantly loaded articles from your blog. 😉
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Step 10: Enable Ads on your Instant Articles
So you have made your Instant Articles Live, and it’s fun, but how about ads? With Instant Articles, you get the chance of loading your blog with Ads.
This is the last and final step to your Instant Articles setup.
The most convenient option of serving ads to your instant articles is via Facebook Audience Network, which you can call an Adsense from Facebook.
However, you can add up your set of HTML ad codes too if you wish.
From my personal experience, I am telling that Facebook Ads will give you a better chance to earn since it knows our preferences better and shows extremely relevant ads to generate more potential ad clicks.
Step 10.A: Showing Facebook Audience Network Ads
If you want to set up Facebook Audience Network Ads, (which is recommended), visit your Facebook Page Publishing Tools section.
You will find the Audience Network option in the Configuration section of the Instant Articles Tab. Just enable it, and you will be taken to the Audience Network Dashboard.
From there you need to submit your tax form and bank account or PayPal details to get payment.
Most of these part is easy, and just needs your time to fill up forms, and submit. A detailed guide to set up Facebook Audience Network is available here.
TIP: Your Tax form will be a PDF file, and you will be asked to fill it up and upload. To fill it up, download the Foxit PDF Reader and open the PDF file inside it. It will auto highlight the places it needs your input inside the form and ask you to fill it up. You can just type to fill it up. Lastly, it will ask your signature in the form. Try inputting a digital signature of yours there. Apps like DocuSign will help you. You will thank me later for saving your time (and money of course) of printing the form and manually filling it up with Pen and again Scanning it. 😉
Step 10.B: Showing Custom HTML / IFRAME Ads
Go to your WordPress Dashboard > Instant Articles tab. From there you can choose the Ad Type. Select Custom Embed Code or Iframe according to your wish and the respective ad size. And you are ready to go. 🙂
Note: If you have already set up Facebook Audience Network, you don’t need to do this. Either follow Step 10.A or 10.B
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Thanks for reading my tutorial on setting up Facebook Instant Articles Successfully. This is by far the most comprehensive and error-free guide about configuring Instant Articles and Loading Ads.
Congrats! You are now offering your web page to load at the fastest speeds for your Facebook fans.
Lastly, don’t forget to share this post with your friends on Facebook and help them implement it on their blogs.
Have any queries? Want to say thanks? Please use the comment box below. I will be waiting to see your valuable comments and try my best to respond.
That’s all for now. Keep visiting HiTricks. Till then, have a look at my other articles.