We all know it. Writing and managing a good travel blog these days has to be one of the most competitive online professions there is. Everyone dreams of making it big online. Travelling to the most amazing places and sharing it with their readers. What an absolute dream! Anything is possible, but you have to be one step ahead to stand out. This guide will tell you why using Facebook instant articles on your travel blog can be a huge step towards better engagement and more traffic.
Facebook Instant Articles – Speed is King
The average attention span of a person browsing the web is around 8 seconds. Most sites have a load time of up to 5 seconds. This means that you have such a small amount of time to capture that audience and entice a reader once your page loads! One of the primary reasons behind Facebook developing the instant articles format was to combat this issue.
Instant articles allows you to take advantage of the responsive and extremely fast loading environment Facebook can provide to serve excellent content to your users.
When correctly set up, it turns all of your published articles from your travel blog on Facebook into Instant Articles. Once tapped on on a mobile device they load almost instantly. They can look amazing too! We’ve talked about how social media helps your travel blog before, but this can be another level.
The Development of Instant Articles for us Travel Bloggers
Initially, this format was released on an “invitation only” basis. It was reserved for a selected number of greatest and best publications across the USA, UK and Eurozone countries. For example, The Wall St Journal and National Geographic and the UK news publication The Guardian all took part.
The strategy behind this? Presumably to ensure only brilliant and amazing looking content was produced on the format to spike interest in it. As time went on bugs and fixes have been implemented. Facebook Instant Articles has now been rolled out to everyone. Provided you have a page on the social media platform and at least 12 articles to submit, you can develop the format on your own travel blog today.
So what are some of the common concerns with this? We’ve talked about how important it is to optimise your travel blog for SEO in the past. One of the first concerns I had about instant articles was SEO related. It was along the lines of, “Will it create duplicate pages in the index?”. The simple answer is no. Instant articles are only displayed through Facebook’s platform and are never crawled or indexed by search engines.
Another concern is the complexity of installing and getting these to work. How hard will it be? Well, to tell the truth, not very. As long as you can read and understand basic HTML and install and configure a WordPress plugin on your site you will be 99% there. Learning how to use and take advantage of the Facebook debugger tool is also a must.
How Does A Travel Blog Benefit From Instant Articles
Most travel blogs also have social media profiles. In fact nearly everyone would agree that a travel blog would struggle to thrive without the massive following and traffic the social channel can provide. So what do instant articles do to improve this channel for your travel blog?
As most social media feeds and search engine have, the Facebook news feed works on an algorithm. Behaviour and interests of people whilst browsing are two important factors in how this algorithm works. As mentioned earlier people have such a short attention span now it is sensible to give fast loading content, like instant articles, a ranking boost within the Facebook news feed. This is exactly what Facebook does, opening up a whole new world of reach to your page if you have them.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Faster loading time of articles means lower bounce rate
- Higher reach of content
- Potential for much better engagement than standard links
- You can monetise your articles to provide an income
How to Get Instant Articles
Here’s what you need to get started:
- A Facebook Page
- 12 articles on your travel blog
- An instant articles plugin installed on your wordpress blog
Sign up to instant articles for your page at the official website and identify the page you want to serve your articles on. This releases the publishing tools options for Facebook instant articles onto your page.
Here you can see the step by step guide on how to implement the functionality on your website and page. It takes you from start to finish. Get the pages manager app on your phone. This is a crucial first step for testing of your articles that should be made. Connecting and authorising your site is next using the link on the page shown above.
Then you get to get creative. You can setup your very own styling really easily for your instant articles and make them your own. The interface you use for this is called the style editor.
The next thing to do is to create a development feed from your WordPress instant articles plugin and feed through some content to Facebook. 12 articles are required for review. Depending on the plugin you use there should be clear instructions included with your install.
Once you have fed these through, edited and tested them to ensure they work correctly, there’s one last step.
Submit your articles to Facebook to be reviewed for publishing. This takes 3-5 working days but is most of the time is a lot quicker. Your reviewer may come back with additional work for you to do in order to be accepted to publish, but the instructions are always very clear.
Once accepted, all you have to do is port your development articles into your production articles feed, and publish!
Now, every single time you share a published instant article link to your travel blog on your Facebook page it automatically serves an instant article to all mobile users! Fantastic news.
Get to know more tips on how social media can help your travel blog.