How to setup Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress

Do you want more traffic from Facebook? Do you want to reduce the page loading time and increase the user experience? You’re in the right place! This article is written for you.

Have you heard about Facebook Instant Articles? You’re wondering about whether or not setting up Facebook Instant Articles for your WordPress websites or blogs?

In this post, I’ll share with you what Facebook Instant Articles is? Its pros and cons. And of course, a detailed guide on how to setup Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress.

Before starting, let’s find out…

What is Facebook Instant Articles?

Instant Articles is a feature built by Facebook to improve the loading speed of websites on mobile phones.

Basically, Facebook Instant Articles allows you to read your content on Facebook interface without going to your website. This approach can increase the loading speed up to 10 times, and thus, improve the user experience on mobile phones.

When you activate Facebook Instant Articles on your websites, every time you publish on Facebook, there will be a “lightning” sign, clicking on that sign will show your content on Facebook instantly in seconds.

Lightning sign of Instant Articles
Lightning sign of Instant Articles

Pros and Cons of Facebook Instant Articles

Any new feature or new technology has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see what Facebook Instant Articles has:

Pros:

  • Posts load faster and thus, increase user experience
  • Fast loading speed encourages people to share your content
  • Increase organic reach for your Facebook fanpages
  • Increase traffic to your websites

Cons

  • If there is ads on your websites, you’ll see a decrement of the ads revenue. Facebook Instant Articles won’t display ads and instead, only the post content.
  • Users won’t see sidebar where you put widgets such as subscription form or popular posts.
  • WordPress shortcodes and custom fields won’t work.
  • Facebook Instant Articles will reduces the number of images and videos on your posts to prioritize the loading speed.

Take a look at the video below to see how Facebook Instant Articles works.

Okay, now you know the pros and cons of Facebook Instant Articles. It’s time to decide whether or not using Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress. In my experience, if your website is a news, magazine or blog, then Facebook Instant Articles is really worth using.

However, if your website is a business website, or e-commerce one, Facebook Instant Articles might not be a good option.

Conditions for Facebook Instant Articles

To use Facebook Instant Articles in WordPress, you need:

  • A Facebook fanpage for your website/blog
  • At least 10 posts on your blog
  • A Facebook app (this post will guide you on that)
  • Plugin Instant Articles for WP (this post will guide you on that)

Setup Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress

Setup Facebook Instant Articles

First of all, you need to access to Instant Articles on Facebook, click Sign Up button.

Then you’ll be redirected to a new page where Facebook list all your fan pages. Select a page you want to enable Facebook Instant Articles, agree to their terms, and click Access Instant Articles Tools button.

Access Instant Articles Tools
Access Instant Articles Tools

Next, you have to authorize your site. Click on the Authorize your site link.

Claim your URL
Claim your URL

Scroll down and click Connect Your Site. Facebook will give you a code like this:

Get the meta code
Get the meta code

Copy this code and go to your WordPress Dashboard, then go to Appearance → Editor and select file header.php to edit. Then paste the code below the <head> line, as shown in the screenshot below:

Insert code to the header
Insert code to the header

If you’re not familiar with editing theme files directly, please install the plugin Insert Header and Footer. And use it to add code to the header.

Insert code with plugin Insert Headers and Footers
Insert code with plugin Insert Headers and Footers

Then go back to the Instant Articles settings on Facebook. Enter your site URL and click Claim URL.

If you see a green success message below, then you’ve done authorizing your site.

Successfully authorize your site
Successfully authorize your site

Now you need to setup RSS Feed for Instant Articles on your WordPress website.

Get RSS Feed for Instant Articles

To do that, simply install the plugin Instant Articles for WP. It’s a plugin written by Facebook & Automatic. After installing and activating the plugin, a new RSS feed will be created on your website. To check that, add /feed/instant-articles after your domain.

For example, with gretathems.com the RSS Feed will be https://gretathemes.com/feed/instant-articles.

Copy this URL and go back to Facebook Instant Articles settings. Select Production RSS Feed and paste the URL in:

Then click Save.

Add RSS Feed
Add RSS Feed

Configure Instant Articles for WP plugin

After installing the plugin Instant Articles for WP you need to enter your Facebook Page ID.

Facebook Instant Articles settings
Facebook Instant Articles settings

Let’s leave it as it is for now. We’re going to create an app on Facebook first.

To create an app on Facebook, go here.

Then click Add a new app

Add a new app
Add a new app

Enter app name and your email then click Create App ID.

Create app ID
Create app ID

Then go to Settings → Basic and enter your app information, notice the domain and privacy/terms URLs:

Edit app settings
Edit app settings

Then go to App Review and enable your app:

Enable your app
Enable your app

Now you’ll the status is ON and you can copy the App ID on the top:

Copy Facebook app ID
Copy Facebook app ID

Now go back to your WordPress Dashboard → Instant Articles settings. Enter the App ID, then click Save.

Enter Facebook app ID
Enter Facebook app ID

That’s all for the plugin settings.

Styling your Instant Articles

Visit your Facebook page and from the admin bar and click on Publishing Tools. From your left hand menu, click on Configuration under Instant Articles.

Select the style for your instant articles in the Style dropdown. For most websites, the default style is fine. Click on the default style to customize it.

Styles your instant articles
Styles your instant articles

Then you can upload a logo with dimension 690×132 pixels, with transparent background (PNG).

Upload logo
Upload logo

Click Save to finish.

Submit Your Instant Articles Feed for Review

Now you need to submit your instant article for review. Make sure you have at least 10 posts on your blog. If you have already published more than 10 articles on your website, but the feed is not showing all of them, then you need to edit your last 10 articles and simply click on the update button. This action will tell the plugin Instant Articles for WP to update your RSS feed.

Go to your Facebook page and click on Publishing Tools from the admin bar. After that click on the ‘Configuration’ link under Instant Articles on your left hand menu.

Look for Step 2: Submit For Review on the configuration settings page.

Submit for review
Submit for review

A Facebook employee will take a look at your page and review it. It usually takes 3 to 5 working days to complete the review process.

Have you used Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress? Do you have any difficulty or thoughts on this amazing feature from Facebook? Let us know in the comments.


Also published on Medium.

2 thoughts on “How to setup Facebook Instant Articles for WordPress

  1. Hi There,

    Thanks for this tutorial. But I have some confusion, how old should blog or website be to be eligible for Instant Articles? And Does Instant Articles affect our website (blog) traffic?

    I will try to implement it on one of my blog. Thanks a lot for the share,

    1. AFAIK, it doesn’t affect your traffic as well as old/new blog. It’s a plugin and what it does is creating a feed for Facebook. It should work on all blogs, no matter it’s old or new.

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