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How to Prepare Your Website for Facebook Instants Articles

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With the program Facebook Instant Articles open to all for content editors on April 12, 2016, you will need to prepare your WordPress blog, in order to publish directly on Facebook using a few tags.

More than a billion people log into Facebook from a mobile device every month, and the performance of content viewed using Facebook's mobile app is more important than ever. Facebook launched Instant Articles in May 2015 as a way to speed up content delivery and deliver the kind of immersive experience that mobile app users expect.

At first, the program was limited to a select group of well-known publishers as BuzzFeed, The New York Times and the BBC News. However, in April 2016, the program will be open to all content editors.

Facebook creates an "Instant Article" when a properly formatted RSS feed is associated with an approved Facebook page using Facebook's Business Manager. Publishers must apply to participate in the program and, once accepted, they will be able to customize the look and behavior of Instant Articles.

If your organization is active on Facebook and gets a significant amount of traffic from content shared on the social network, configuring your website to generate a properly formatted RSS feed is now possible. However, joining Facebook's Instant Articles program isn't as easy as you might think.

But before you start, take the time to take a look at How to install a WordPress themeHow many plugins to install on WordPress.

Then let's get to work!

What does the content do when you join the program?

Content publishers who participate in the program gain a great deal of control over how their content appears in the Facebook app. Publishers can also sell ad space in Instant Articles and keep 100% or 70% of ad revenue depending on whether the publisher or Facebook sells the space.

Greater control over UX and increased revenue are the two motivators, but the biggest reason you'll need to join the program is because Facebook users experience better with Instant Articles.

Also see our tutorial on: How to create a Facebook Pixel campaign for WordPress

Facebook claims instant articles load ten times faster than standard mobile web content, a claim that has not been independently confirmed. Instant Articles are also revolutionizing by utilizing the entire available window of the mobile device, making Instant Articles much more immersive than content viewed in a browser.

Who should participate in the program Instant Items Facebook?

This program was designed to content editors and other organizations that publish content regularly. In reality, authors cannot join the program until they have at least 50 articles ready for review. If your organization has more than 50 articles, you may consider subscribing to the program.

How to Prepare for Instant Articles

Uploading your articles to Facebook Is Instant Articles as easy as installing a plugin?

Yes and no.

Joining the program is a process at 11 steps.

Facebook has tried to make things a lot simpler by creating a guide that will take you through the whole process, but first you can get started by submitting your organization to be approved by Facebook. You cannot apply to join the program before April, however you can tell Facebook that you are interested in the program, which probably means they'll let you know when the program becomes available.

For now, here are 3 things you need to do to be ready when the program will actually be launched for all publishers (authors).

The guide in 4 steps to build your authority through your blog Find out by consulting this article.

Step one: Make sure you have an effective presence on Facebook

The presence of your organization on Facebook and your familiarity with the platform must be effective.

First, you need to make sure that your organization has a page and that you are the administrator or editor. You may also need to create a Business account with the Company account manager, if your organization does not have a page, you can add a page to your account and add other members of your organization to your page using the Company Account Manager.

Instant Articles is managed directly from the Company account management interface, so you must remember to configure your company account, so as not to have to do it later.

If you don't use it, you can download the Facebook Pages app. You can find it on App Store to use it on iPhone or iPad, or on Google Play Store. You need this app to preview Instant Articles. You can test the feature to see how it works.

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Step 2: Build your RSS for Instant Articles

Instant Articles is assembled on Facebook using HTML content imported from the RSS feed formatted in a specific way. In order to integrate your website with Instant Articles, you need to generate a specially formatted RSS feed, here is a plugin you can use for that.

The plugin created in partnership with Automattic et Dekode, could possibly be added to the official WordPress plugin directory. For now, you can just download the plugin directly from Github.

fb instant articles plugin on github

The plugin will be downloaded in ZIP format and you have two options to install the plugin:

  1. You can install the plugin directly from the WordPress dashboard using the ZIP file.
  2. You can extract the plugin through an FTP client and send it directly to the / wp-content / plugins / folder from your WordPress installation.

Once you have activated the plugin, you will be able to access the RSS feed of your blog by following the following path:

http://votresite.com/feed/instant-articles.

instant-items-feed

If you have a multisite network, the plugin will create an RSS feed for each website  "Auto-magically". You can test this by creating a multisite network and visit the URL to confirm that everything is working normally.

instant-items-multi-feed

For the moment, installing the plugin will not add an administration panel. While the readme.txt file on Github states that filters can be used to manipulate what appears in the RSS feed, no instructions have been provided and the filters implemented, and requires manual editing of the files. . In addition, the notes mention that the filters may change over time. We recommend that you use the default feed.

See also How to add a Facebook-like news feed on WordPress

Then you can go ahead and change the URL through which you want the Instant Article feature to be generated. To do this, you must open the file called "facebook-instant-articles.php" and find the constant "INSTANT_ARTICLES_SLUG". In version 0.1 of the plugin, it can be found in line 18. You can then remove "instant-articles" and insert the slug you want to use.

modify the WordPress tutorial RSS feed slug

do not forget to make a backup of this file on your computer to restore the file if a problem occurs.

Once you have made all the necessary changes, you can go to settings> Permalinks. This will refresh the rewrite rules and the new slug will take effect. You may now be able to locate your Instant Article URL.

url of the changed flow

Step 3: Subscribe to the program and follow the steps

The next step is to wait for Facebook to officially launch the program. If you are an organization and are interested in the program, you can let him know about Facebook.

You can take the time to check out the getting started guide that Facebook has put together. This will prepare you to be ready when the program becomes available.

Step 4: Limit the flow to items that are not older than 24 hours

You will only do this once you have been accepted for the program.

When you sign up for the Instant Articles program, Facebook will want to see at least 50 articles on your RSS feed. However, once your RSS feed is imported for the first time, Facebook will ignore articles that have not been updated in the past 24 hours. For this reason, when your organization is added to the program and your feed is imported, you will be able to modify the flow to include only items that have been changed within the past 24 hours.

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To make this change, you need to download a copy of the “facebook-instant-articles.php” file that you can restore if something doesn't work normally. In this copy, you must define a constant "INSTANT_ARTICLES_LIMIT_POSTS" to "true". It will probably make more sense if you add this constant just before the "if" condition, to define whether or not the flow will be limited. In version 0.1 of the plugin, you will find this on line 150.

limit rss flow to 24 hours wordpress tutorial

All you have to do now is save your changes, and access your RSS feed. You will be able to view limited articles that were updated 24 hours ago.

Remember that your organization will not be approved unless you have more than 50 ready-made articles. So don't limit your feed until your organization is accepted into the program and your feed is imported by Facebook.

Does your website need a terms of service page? Find out by reading this article.

As you can see, joining the program is not for everyone. And for those who are really interested in the service, they will have to mobilize some efforts to achieve their ends.

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Recommended Resources

Find out about other recommended resources to help you build and manage your website.

Conclusion

Here ! That's it for this tutorial, I hope it helps you prepare your website for Facebook Instants Articles. Do not hesitate to share with your friends on your favorite social networks

However, you can also consult our resources, if you need more elements to carry out your projects of creation of Internet sites, by consulting our guide on WordPress blog creation.

If you have suggestions or remarks, leave them in our section Comments.

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