When you are thinking about promoting your website and integrating it with social networks, the first thing that should come into your mind is Facebook.
I believe that there’s a decent amount of people who no longer imagine their lives without Facebook. There are thousands of them. It has even become popular to say that “if you are not on Facebook, you do not exist!”. Well, it’s getting tricky to find someone whom to say this, because more and more people are already there.
So if you want to be successful with your online business, integrate your website with Facebook right away. You may ask yourself, which WordPress Facebook Plugin should I use? Luckily, I have some tips for you.
There are some really great plugins available in WordPress plugin directory. All together, they allow you to add a highly desirable Facebook functionality to your own website.
In my opinion, the most essential features would be those letting you to synchronize content and comments between Facebook and your website:
An ability to automatically/manually post on your personal Facebook wall, or on your website’s fan page. So your friends and fans wouldn’t miss the newest posts.
Facebook comment integration – mirroring Facebook comments to your website and vice versa. So you wouldn’t miss any comments made about your post.
Facebook like button. So you would know what people like. What’s popular and what’s not.
In this post, I will review several WordPress Facebook plugins, according to the above-mentioned features. They are all up-to-date, constantly revised and improved to meet customer needs and wishes. One of them is entirely fresh and the code haven’t been finished yet. However, that’s just a matter of time. It looks very promising and it is worth mentioning.
Plugins are based on Facebook applications, which you are aloud to create yourself. So, choose the one WordPress Facebook plugin you like and improve your website!
Note: these plugins have many features, but only those related to synchronization (like automatic post publishing to Facebook, Facebook comments and likes) are discussed in this post.
Add link to Facebook (version 1.112) is a WordPress Facebook plugin that automatically adds links to your website’s posts or pages that are being published to your personal Facebook wall or to a page/group wall of your choice.
It uses an excerpt or part of the post text if there is none for the description of the link. You can choose a specific image for your link or you can let Facebook to select one automatically. Also, there is an option to set a default image (by default it is a WordPress logo) in case you choose to display a featured image and simply forget to add it to your post.
You can exclude individual post links from being added to Facebook simply by ticking a check box just above the publish button in WordPress. If you choose to add links to your Facebook page, it is possible to do this as page owner, instead of with your personal account. This is especially useful if you have a fan page for your website. In such way your links will be distinguished from the links added by your fans.
The best feature of the add link to Facebook plugin is comments integration. It copies Facebook comments to WordPress and in turn posts WordPress comments back to Facebook. In result, none of them are lost: you can see all the comments to your post either under a Facebook link or under the original post in your website.
Furthermore, comments from Facebook will be stored in the WordPress database, allowing moderation and notification depending on the WordPress discussion settings. Also, another great thing about the comment integration feature is that you can always know whether a person made a comment visiting your original post in the website or commented on the Facebook link.
Add link to Facebook plugin allows you to add a like button to your website. You can configure the appearance of it (for example, you can choose to display standard button, button with count or box with count) and the desirable area (above or below the post text). This plugin also integrates likes from Facebook and allows displaying names of “likers” below or above the post text (depending where you choose to display the like button).
However, there are some minor issues with this great plugin. First of all, the count of likes may not be always accurate. Although the plugin will display the names of all “likers”, it may not take in to the count those, who liked the post on Facebook instead of clicking the like button on original post in your website. Therefore, you may want to use a standard Facebook like button instead of a button/box with count. Second, as the plugin is treating Facebook likes as pingbacks, the count of comments may as well be inaccurate.
Simple Facebook connect plugin (version 1.1) is a framework and series of sub-systems that let you add almost any sort of Facebook functionality you like to a WordPress blog. However, I look only at such features as an automatic or manual new posts publishing to Facebook, comment integration and the functionality of the Facebook like button.
This WordPress Facebook plugin allows you to publish posts to Facebook profile, a fan page or your application both manually and automatic. The plugin automatically choose images from your content if they are available, but you can also set a default image to be used if there is none in your published post.
The same rules apply to the post description – the plugin automatically creates descriptions for single post pages based on the excerpts of the content. For other pages you can set a default description using the plugin settings.
Simple Facebook connect plugin integrates comments made on Facebook back into your own site. However, it cannot mirror the comments made on your website to the Facebook link. Some may say that this could increase traffic to your website, as your Facebook fans will have to visit the original website in order to see all of the comments made to the post. Yet, I see this as a rather disappointing issue. If you want to reply to the comment made on Facebook, you will have to do that there. Otherwise, you are never sure that the particular person will see your reply.
Also, there are some issues with comment counting – depending on the theme you are using, the count may not always be accurate. Furthermore, simple Facebook connect plugin does not distinguish Facebook comments when it mirrors them in your website. See the picture below: the first comment by John Tester was made on Facebook and the other one by testeris was made under the original post in the website. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s good or bad.
Nonetheless, the functionality of the Facebook like button is much higher than in a previously discussed plugin. Not only that you can choose the button position before/after or before and after the content of your post. You can also add the button to your theme or posts manually using a shortcode. And of course, you can choose to display a standard like button, a button with counter or a box with counter.
There is another WordPress Facebook plugin which has all of the desired features that were discussed in this post. Wordbooker plugin allows you to cross-post your blog posts to your Facebook wall, fan page wall or group wall. You can post as an extract, a status update or even as a note. Similarly as add link to Facebook, this plugin is designed to pull/push comments to and from Facebook (complete comment integration). However, the code is not finished and comment handling is not working yet.
Now, it’s time for your verdict. What do you prefer more: add link to Facebook or simple Facebook connect plugin? Or would you like to wait and see what Wordbooker plugin has to offer?