Facebook announced a free WordPress plugin that will make creating Instant Articles a breeze for publishers. The social networking giant had earlier announced it would open up its Instant Articles feature to all publishers anywhere in the world and irrespective of their size.
The formal announcement to this effect is expected at the upcoming Facebook F8 conference scheduled on April 12 in San Francisco.
Facebook is keen to make its Instant Articles feature popular within publishers, and the launch of the WordPress plugin can be considered a significant step in that direction in that nearly 25% of all websites are powered by the popular open-source publishing platform.
Chris Ackermann, partner engineering at Facebook said they have worked closely with Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com VIP to develop the free plugin for Instant Articles.
Facebook stated the plugin should work fine with standard WordPress templates although sites with heavy customizations might need extra support for availing of the Instant Articles feature.
Facebook sources further added the plugin ‘also supports native autoplay video as well as social and interactive graphic embeds’, which in turn will add to the appeal of the articles.
The availability of the plugin will be a boon for newbie publishers who might lack the required technical knowledge base to make the most of the Instant Articles feature.
Automattic though stated any publisher keen to join the Instant Articles bandwagon will have to sign up for a mandatory review by Facebook to make sure their pages and content are ‘properly formatted and adhere to their community standards and content policies before you’ll be able to start pushing content to the platform’.
Facebook had earlier launched Instant Articles on a limited scale as a means to allow publishers to host their articles directly on the social network. This, Facebook said will ensure faster page load times especially when viewed on mobiles compared to when publishers upload articles on their own site while posting only a link to it at Facebook, as is the current practice now.
Facebook also stated they have made enough changes to Instant Articles based on the feedback received so far to ensure publishers are able to generate ad revenue that is comparable to or even better than when the articles are posted on their standalone sites.
The Instant Articles is also somewhat comparable to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages that lists the most relevant articles based on the search keyword in a separate holder that is placed at the top of the results page. This makes for more productive search via a mobile device.