This is a guest post by Dax MacGregor
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 article Facebook-friendly?
I'm assuming that you already have some buttons or links at the bottom of the article that readers can click to share your post on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
I'm talking about what happens when interested readers try to share.
First of all, there's no image. Images make a huge difference on Facebook — and really dresses 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.
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 contains an interesting, related image.
The image gives the post some pizzazz which is a big improvement. But unless the title is really strong, a reader might still choose not to share it.
Here is an example of a post that is truly Facebook friendly. The image is eye-catching and relates to the subject, plus the article's description gives enough detail to invite the reader to click-through.
Adding an image was simple. Providing a good description is a bit more difficult.
The best way to do this is to attach a meta description to each post that contains the content you want to appear here. The way you accomplish this will vary depending on your blogging platform.
If you use WordPress on a self-hosted server, as I do, then I recommend you install a plugin named WordPress SEO by Yoast. This plugin makes it simple to compose a meta description when you write your article. Here is a screenshot of as I edit a post.
The red box highlights the place where you enter your meta description.
If your blog is hosted on WordPress.com or Blogger.com, your options are more limited.
Most of the time, these sites will pass the first several lines of your article to Facebook, which may not be optimal, but should be satisfactory.
But if you are getting the same blurb passed on every post, then you have a fixed meta description configured for your site. This is most likely part of the theme you installed. Fixing this will require that you locate the offending entry in your theme and remove it.
In WordPress, you will need to find a line like this in your header.php file.
[box]<meta name='description' content='Newbie Author shares lessons learned while writing his first novel.'/> [/box]
If you are going to edit this file, be sure to save a copy as a backup. That way if you mess up, you can recover using your backup copy. Then simply delete the entire entry starting with the “<” and ending with the “>” and save the file.
By making your posts Facebook friendly, you will increase your chances of having your posts shared.
If you have questions, please ask. I can help in many cases. If I can't answer your questions, I'll see if I can find someone who can.
About this post's author:
Dax MacGregor is working to complete his first novel. He shares lessons learned and writing tips on his First Manuscript blog where he writes as Newbie Author. You can connect with Dax on Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads or LinkedIn.