Is Your WordPress Blog Facebook Friendly?

A few weeks back, I helped one of my clients roll out a new theme for their popular WordPress blog. The new theme was 1000x better than their 2-year old design, and their readers were really receptive to the new look.

Then today, I get a frantic e-mail, saying there’s a problem sharing their content on Facebook. And sure enough, when I tried to share one of their posts on Facebook, it was trying to include unrelated photos (from the related posts section) into the FB post.

I still don’t know why Facebook won’t pick up the large images at the top of the post, but regardless, there’s only one way to address the problem, and that’s by force-feeding Facebook the correct image to use, courtesy of Open Graph Image meta tags.

I shot off a quick e-mail to the theme author, asking about Open Graph support in their theme. He responded that they don’t include OG support in the theme, and that we’d be better off using a third-party plugin to accomplish this. While I don’t exactly agree with the theme author’s stance on that, there are plenty of plugins that will do what’s needed, so I got to work.

Ironically, this would have been a non-issue if they were using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin, but when they tried setting it up a few months back, they had some issues that they couldn’t get past. Rather than burn a whole day trying to figure it out, they decided to stick with their existing SEO plugin (if it’s not broke, why fix it?), and that was that.

Rather than muck with Yoast’s plugin, we instead opted for the WP Facebook Open Graph protocol plugin, which “adds well executed and accurate Facebook Open Graph Meta tag information to your site.”

It was fairly painless to install, and we were back up and running in less than 15 minutes. So far, everything looks to be working with Facebook.

The moral of the store? If you’re having trouble with Facebook picking up the correct thumbnail image when posting a link, make sure you’ve got Open Graph info tagged into your posts!

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