What do Instagram stories, Facebook stories, Snapchat stories and Twitter fleets have in common? They are all so-called. Social media implementations of the same story idea. A story is a series of images or other types of content that belong together and thus tell a story. Visual storytelling is huge, and now there is an open form of story online as well. Launched in 2018, AMP Stories Google Stories is now available in WordPress.
What are Web Stories?
Online stories are sweeping, rich visual storytelling that can be used on mobile devices. Online stories provide a full-screen experience that can include any kind of imaginable content. Unlike closed formats such as Instagram stories, web stories are open and freely distributable. You can make and publish them on your own website. You own your story.
Plus, web stories get their place in Google search results – right at the top. And that’s not all, because stories can also appear in Google Images, Find, and the Google app. All very prominently.
Online stories give you much better control over what you publish and how you do it. Feel free to decide the format, where you will publish it, and how long you want the story to live. These stories are lightning fast and provide you with fast and easily digestible type of content.
Keep in mind that while Web Stories is for mobile devices, each story also automatically gets a simple desktop viewer. This means that your mobile content is truly accessible to everyone.
Goodbye AMP stories, hey web stories
In early 2018, Google introduced the AMP Stories app to quickly build visual stories online using open technology. In May 2020, AMP Stories became Web Stories, and by October 2020, they were launched on the world’s leading platform: WordPress. Web Stories plugin for WordPress has made it easier to build stories on a platform you own: your website.
Google continues to improve web stories while working to implement them. Tools like Rich Results Testing Tools and Search Console can now recognize web stories as they are. In the WordPress plug-in settings, you can set up a tracking ID for Analytics. This will help you get an idea of how your stories work.
Examples of online stories
You can use web stories for many things, and we’ve seen many big media brands do it. While they seem to fit best in bite-sized content, you can go pretty deep into your stories. If you can build a fascinating story, people might gather in it. This is just something that might make the content viral.
Here is a great example of web stories (and the predecessor AMP stories):
These are fairly high-level web stories, and of course you don’t have to use the same journalistic approach to creating them – make sure your stories are high quality and valuable to you and the reader.
How to create web stories with the WordPress plugin
Getting started with web stories is easy if you have a WordPress site. Install the official Google Web Stories plugin – don’t forget to read the Google documentation to get your story ready for the search engine. The plug-in was developed by a great team of Google developers and is a work of art. It has now been officially launched so that everyone can get building stories.
After installing the plug-in, go to the Editor settings and fill in the requested information. Then you’re good to go! If you don’t have inspiration or want to get an idea of what a web story can be, check out the template section. Do you see what you want? Click Apply Template and the editor will open with the template. Now you can use different tools to customize the story to your liking.
Of course, you are free to build web stories from scratch. Let’s see how it goes.
- Open the Web Stories plugin
After installing the plug-in, click Create New Story in the Web Story Dashboard to start a new story. You can also start a new story by hovering over the WordPress menu> Stories> Add New.
- Introducing the Web Stories interface
If you made a new story, the interface will open with a blank template. On the left is a resource manager with uploaded images and material that you can use in your story. The T icon opens the text tab and triangle shapes.
- Add an image to explore the right edge
Click the blue Upload button and select an image to upload. Double-click the image to add it to the canvas. You will notice that the settings on the right change. Here you will find the properties and design options for each item. These vary from type to type, so text has different options than images.
- Accustomed to the interface
If you’ve ever used any kind of design tool, you’ll feel right at home in the Web Stories WordPress plugin interface. You can align things, rotate, smooth, change text types, colors, just about anything you ever need is here. You can work with images, drawings, text, video and so on.
- Now try to build a simple online story
We are building a quick case as an example. Open a new story and upload a picture to get started. I chose one of our drawings when I want to do a mailing about opening a store. Click on the image and you will notice blue lines around it; this allows you to scale, rotate and zoom the image. Double-click the image to see the full image and how it fits now. Make the image fit so that it looks good.
- Add text to your web story
Click the T button in the left corner to go to the text tab. Here you can see different sizes. These are based on regular HTML headings, so the largest (heading 1) is h1 and the paragraph gets a p. Use these correctly in your web story. Give your title h1 and subheadings h2 or something else. Use your song in your song. This way, your online content follows all the regular guidelines.
- Colors, fillings and alignment
If your image has a busy background like mine, you may need to give your text a color stand out or even a background fill color. Fortunately, you can. Click Title 1 to add a title to the image. Drag and drop it to the desired location.
- A new page in your story
To add a new page to the story, click the big + button on the screen button. To copy the current page because you want to use it as a template for the next screen, click Copy Page. Fill in your story with all the pages you need.
- Link to your site
One of the coolest web stories is that you are free to link to your own content. Click the element and add a link. Don’t overdo it. Keep the number of links limited.
- Fill in the metadata and publish
When you’re done with your web story, click Preview to test it. Before you click Publish, you need to fill in the metadata to improve the story. You need this to have a valid web story according to Google. Click Document and fill in the publisher’s logo, cover image, excerpt, and choose a good permanent link. Ready? Publish your story! The Web Stories plugin asks if you want to post a new message to this story. If you do, click the button and a new message will open embedded in your story.
And here’s a quick video of what it looks like!
This is just an incredibly simple story designed solely to help you find the interface. Think of all the great things you can do!
Keep in mind
Web stories are a great new addition to your content arsenal. It is a completely different tool for a completely different goal. Of course, not everyone finds use for these stories, but look at the possibilities. Getting started is easy, but it is effective!
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure the URLs for your stories are available XML Sitemap (Yoast SEO does this for you)
- Add Chart structured data to make it easier for Google to understand your stories (Yoast SEO does this for you)
- Link to your stories from other (relevant) parts of your site
- Make sure your stories are valuable and high quality
- You can add ads, but don’t overdo it
- Don’t add too many links to external sources, which will distract readers
- Keep the story short and cheeky (Google says 5-30 pages, a sweet place between 10-20)
- Keep the title short
- Don’t use too much text on the pages
- Add alternate text to describe images for accessibility
- Stories are ideal for videos, but keep them short
And as Google wrote them SEO for Web Stories:
Do all the SEO things you would do for other pages on your website. If it helps to categorize your non-story page, it will likely help stories as well.
One word will jump for you as you read the list above: short. A good story is short, but still valuable and insightful. Try it. Find out what your audience wants to see and in what format. This is still new, so there are no so-called “rules”. Fortunately, the Google Web Stories plugin for WordPress is a pleasure to build these stories!
do not forget test your web story with the AMP test tool to see if your stories are included in search results.
This is how you build web stories in WordPress
You’ve just read a short introduction to Web Stories in WordPress. These short forms of content are very pleasant to consume on mobile phones, but even on the desktop they work well. Google has worked hard to get the stories in shape for success, and acceptance is sure to grow – especially as these stories get their place in Google search results.
Give it a try and let us know, we’d love to see what you come up with!
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