Posted on 2016-03-21
Facebook has recently announced that its Instant Articles rollout will be open to publishers “of any size, anywhere in the world” from April 12th, 2016.
Because of this, WordPress has unveiled a free plugin that any administrator can implement so that your blog can utilise this new means of reading content on the social media giant.
What are Instant Articles?
Instant Articles are a relatively new addition to Facebook. Blogs that have Instant Articles implemented load articles in Facebook’s News Feed up to ten times faster than standard web articles, and are optimized for the mobile reading experience.
Facebook’s in-built browser often goes overlooked as one of the most used browsers on smartphones, but in the past has been criticised for its poor loading speeds in comparison to browser applications like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.
The native format includes an integrated set of nifty tools like auto-playing video content and tap-to-zoom image galleries, bringing a more visual experience on mobile devices to the table.
Even though Instant Articles has not been around for that long, reports suggest that the majority of users engage more deeply with the more immersive experience and share Instant Articles with their friends and family more often than standard articles they have found.
What does this plugin do?
Facebook has a moderation process where they must verify that all Instant Articles generated from your website or blog are correctly formatted in a way that can be displayed on Instant Articles and adhere to their community standards and content policies. This all happens before you’ll be able to start feeding content to the new platform.
The rule of thumb for Instant Articles is that they should generally contain all the content a user would see in the web version of an article. The plugin handles all the basics and is designed to decrease the amount of time it takes to get started creating Instant Articles, but if you have extended the standard WordPress post template in any way, it’s likely that you’ll need to extend the plugin’s default output too so that it can deliver it correctly.
What happens when I implement the Instant Articles plugin?
A new type of feed will be added to your website, with an address in the form /?feed=instant-articles or /feed/instant-articles (this depends on your permalink settings). This new feed is based on the RSS format, but includes the extra information required by Facebook.
How can I get the plugin?
To get the plugin, you can install it now from GitHub – it’s also coming soon to the WordPress plugin directory.
Thank you for reading!
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