Back in 2006/2007 when Facebook was just starting to get popular, I remember holding off for a looooong time. At that time, there was one new social site after another and it was difficult to keep up with which ones drove traffic, which ones didn’t… which ones were on the way up, on the way down etc. And I wasn’t alone.
But as time went by, it became pretty obvious that Facebook was here to stay. I have to admit, I didn’t think it would still be popular in 2012, let alone become the HUGE platform that it is today. With 836,000,000 users and counting, it’s ridiculous to ignore it if you own a websites! In this post I’m going to show you exactly how to optimize for Facebook, in order to maximize the number of visitors it sends to your website.
Steps to Optimizing your Site for Facebook
1. Set the Default Image that Shows on Facebook when Shared – This one is talked about the least of all, so I made it a point to explain it first. If a page on your site is shared by a visitor, Facebook will just randomly select an image off of the page. In many cases it will show an ad or some other irrelevant image, which really sucks considering people aren’t very compelled to click a link next to a big ad or some other weird image.
You can tell Facebook which image to show though. I use the MaxFB SEO WordPress Plugin to do this and it works perfectly. Go ahead, share this post and see. If you’re a developer, or someone like me who knows enough to get in trouble, you can probably figure out how to do this without the plugin. You just need to insert specific META tags for each post/page. So it would be easy enough on a basic html page, but I’m using that plugin, which makes it effortless and I’m not a developer, so I wasn’t real sure how to do that with wordpress, and have the ability to set a new image for every new post.
2. Integrate Facebook Comments – Whether you have an html site, a WordPress blog or anything in between, it’s always a good idea to allow visitors to comment on your articles with Facebook. I just recently started doing this and I’ve seen more traffic from facebook since doing so. The main advantage is that each person who comments, is also sharing the post on their facebook wall, which is even better than a regular share, because their actually interacting. MaxFB SEO also does this and is what I currently use. It makes it very quick and easy to add and moderate facebook comments on your WordPress blog. (Just FYI, a recent study shows that more facebook users comment, than “like” content.)
If you have a site that is not running on the WP CMS and you’re at least a little technically inclined, you can still add Facebook comments with the Facebook social app. You just generate some code on that page, paste it to your site where you want the comments to show, add a few meta tags and you’re ready to go.
3. Add Easy Options for Sharing and Liking individual posts/pages – This is probably the most obvious and there are loads of options out there for this. I use and really like Sharebar. It’s the sliding bar to the left of the post that slides up and down as you scroll the page. MaxFB SEO also offers an option for this, but I disable that option and use Sharebar instead because I used Sharebar first and as they say “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.”
4. Add a Widget so People can Like your Facebook Page – Adding the option for people to share and like a page/post will help the promotion of your site, but it won’t increase your own Facebook pages exposure. That’s why you need to have a “Like” option in a promenant spot on your site for people to like your Facebook page. The facebook page could be your business facebook page or you could even set up a page for your site. Which way you decide to go is really up to you. If you’re trying to get your brand out there, then I would recommend started a facebook page for your brand. If YOU are your brand, like I am in the IM niche, then you would want to get people to like your facebook page. You can see mine in the sidebar at the top. Have you liked my page yet? To add this is easy. Just go to the Facebook developer page for that, enter a few details and it will produce some code with some simple instructions.
5. Tell Facebook what Title and Description to use – Just like with the images, if you don’t tell Facebook what title and description to use, it will decide for you. This is especially important on pages that have sales copy and any other copy that just would not be beneficial to go along with your post. Once again, MaxFB SEO to the rescue. With this, along with the image you want to show, you can also set the title and description for each post, making it all quick and easy.
That’s it. There are a few other things you can do, but these are the most important in my opinion. Hopefully this post will help save you time, as it took me alot of time and several headaches before I finally got this blog Facebook friendly.