Do you use Facebook plugins on your WordPress blog?
Since the social network became all-pervading online, having some integration in a website or blog – whether a “Like” box or some other means of sharing content – has become pretty important in promoting growth.
However, there is a problem. Most of the plugins are pretty poor. There are various reasons for this, from changes to the Facebook API (a set of rules and hooks for developers to use) to a general misunderstanding of what the API actually does. And some plugins are just poor.
So what is the solution?
A Facebook Plugin Revolution!
Thanks to some work by Facebook themselves, WordPress users can now look forward to being able to use a fantastic new plugin that packs in various features – effectively more plugins!
Like buttons, Subscribe buttons, even comment boxes are included, meaning that you can discard your old, clunky Facebook plugins from your blog and use this new, slick and impressive plugin instead.
To get started, open the Plugins section on your blog, click Add New and search for “facebook”, looking for the plugin developed by the company itself; click Install when you have found the right one. If you prefer, head to wordpress.org/extend/plugins/facebook and use the download link to save it to your computer and upload to your WordPress plugins folder, where it can be activated.
Creating Your App ID
With the plugin installed, you’re ready to get started – but you’ll need to hold on a while as you create the App ID, Secret and Namespace.
These are three vital components for security, ensuring that the plugins are associated with your account and where appropriate the relevant Facebook page for your website.
To do this, you will need to head to http://developers.facebook.com/apps, and complete the required fields. Once this has been done and accepted, the three pieces of information can be added into the Facebook plugin settings, accessible via the WordPress admin menu.
It is crucial that you keep these details secret, just as you would with a username and password, as sharing them could result in some security problems for your WordPress blog…
Take Advantage of These Great Options
Once these details have been added into the settings of your Facebook plugin, you can begin to work through which features you would like to incorporate into your blog.
The usual suspects such as the Like button and the Subscribe button are provided, as is a stable version of the popular comments box, useful if you prefer Facebook to take the strain of managing your reader’s comments and feedback.
Best of all, however, are the less commonly used features, now pushed into the limelight. The Social Publisher tool will publish articles to your blog author’s Facebook pages, while the Send button is provided for readers to send an article they like to any friend on Facebook, much like an email button might.
Finally, use the Recommendations Bar on your blog to allow users to see what other readers are currently enjoying.
Whether you plan on embracing this new Facebook plugin wholeheartedly or would rather avoid it completely, you cannot deny that it offers quite a punch in terms of features. While the App ID/Secret/Namespace setup for app developers really needs to be upgraded or replaced when it comes to including Facebook scripts and widgets in websites and blogs, this is really the only fiddly aspect of the plugin.
With so many features polished up and presented with such quality, don’t be surprised to see a lot of blogs suddenly sporting new Facebook features in the near future.
Will you follow, or are you happy with the existing social features of your blog? Let me know in the comments below!