Facebook continues to modify their user interface and the way users share information. As a result, I update this article whenever the rules change. Last update: December 11, 2014.

You rack your brain to find a topic to write about that will be interesting to your readers. Then you labor over the words to find the best way to present your ideas. When you are finally happy, you preview your work and proofread it one last time. When it’s perfect, you click the Publish Button.

Then you pray that someone actually reads it — and you hope they like what they see and share your masterpiece with others.

But did you make your post Facebook Friendly?

Provide Share Buttons

I’m assuming that you already have some buttons or links inviting readers to share your post on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. If not, you need to do that now.

Self-Hosted WordPress Sites

I’m using the Monarch plugin on this self-hosted WordPress site, which provides the social media share button that float on the left. It’s not free, but it provides the features I want. Blogging Wizard has an article, 12 Best Social Sharing Plugins For WordPress, that reviews other plugins offering Facebook (and other social media) Share buttons.

WordPress.com Blogs

If your blog is hosted by WordPress.com, use the Sharing Buttons found on the Social Settings page (Dashboard > Settings > Social) to enable a Facebook Share button.

Blogger

If your site is hosted on Blogger, follow the steps described here to add a Facebook Share button.

Other

If you use a different platform to host your blog, Facebook provides code here to create Share and Like Buttons. You’ll need to use a search engine to find assistance on how and where to insert the code.

The Problem

Here is an example of the a post that is not Facebook Friendly.

Share Link that is not Facebook Friendly

Facebook Share Link with No Image and Poor Description

What’s wrong?

First of all, there’s no image. Images make a huge difference on Facebook — and they really dress up your blog as well.

But even more importantly, the description sucks. It’s a generic description applied to every post on the blog. It doesn’t tell you anything about this article.

If an article that I planned to share looked like this, I’d change my mind. I wouldn’t bore my friends. After all, there’s nothing engaging about this article when viewed from Facebook.

Better Facebook Share

Adding images to your articles is easy. I don’t know of any modern blogging platform that doesn’t make it simple to insert images.

Here is a different post that has an interesting, related image.

Better Facebook Friendly Share Link

Facebook Share Link with Small Image and Long Title

The image gives the post some pizzazz, which is a big improvement, but the title is too long and the description isn’t compelling. To get Facebook users to click-through and read the full article, you need more.

Best Facebook Share

Here is an example of a post that is truly Facebook friendly. The title is limited to one line. The image is eye-catching and relates to the subject. And the description gives just enough detail to invite the reader to click-through to read more.

Best Facebook Friendly Share Link with Good Image and Description

Facebook Share Link with Wide Image, Title that Fits and Good Description

 

How To Make Your Post Facebook Friendly

Use the tips below to maximize your blog post’s Facebook Friendliness.

Pictures

Pictures are instrumental in getting attention on Facebook. Take time to find a picture that is eye-catching. Be sure that it relates to the subject of your blog post. If you use pictures downloaded from the web, be sure they are properly licensed for use on your blog.

To get Facebook to display a large image, you need to have a wide image. If the image you provide isn’t wide enough, you’ll get a small, square image displayed to the left of your title and description (like the previous example). How wide? Facebook recommends 1200 x 630 pixels, but says the minimum is 600 x 315.

Title

It’s not good when the title wraps to a second line when someone shares it on Facebook. Long titles are less alluring. Be succinct.

Description

If you don’t provide something specific, Facebook usually picks up the first couple of lines and uses them as a description. If it fails, then the description is left blank. But a fragment of the opening paragraph is not what you want. Your description needs to compel Facebook friends to click to see more.

WordPress (both WordPress.com and self-hosted) provides a place to enter an excerpt which it will use as your post’s description on Facebook shares. Sometimes the Excerpt Box gets hidden. If you don’t see it, check your Screen Options (top right corner of Edit Post page).

Most other blogging platforms don’t have an excerpt field, so you’ll need to craft the opening lines of your content with Facebook sharing in mind.

Blogger often provides the same description for all pages to Facebook. If you have this problem, this article describes how to fix your site.

Advanced Features For Self-Hosted WordPress Blogs

There are times when users click on the Facebook Share button where the picture displayed isn’t the one I want used. Also, WordPress uses the same excerpt for social media shares. Sometimes, I need to tailor a slightly different message for Facebook. And sometimes, my post’s title wraps on Facebook, but I don’t want to change the title on my blog.

The WordPress SEO by Yoast offers solutions for these problems, by providing a means for you to specify the title, description and picture to be used on Facebook Shares.

WordPress SEO by Yoast Social Tab showing Advanced Facebook Friendly Features

WordPress SEO by Yoast Social Tab

Summary

By making your posts Facebook Friendly, you will increase the effectiveness of your Facebook shares. Not only will your posts get shared more often, but you’ll also get more visits when others click-through to read more.

If you have questions, please ask. If I can’t answer your questions, I’ll help find someone who can.

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