Have you ever clicked on a link on a cellphone or tablet only to click on the back button in frustration because the page took too long to load? According to Google, “53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load”! That is why it is important to consider mobile loading speed when designing and managing a blog.
This is a serious concern for bloggers and it is a problem that Facebook Instant Articles aim to solve. Instant Articles are mobile versions of webpages that load fast because they are hosted on Facebook and use the same technology used by the Facebook mobile app to quickly load images and videos. According to Facebook, Instant Articles load up to 10 times faster than regular mobile articles. This performance boost can increase readership by 20 percent, reduce bounce rates by 70 percent and increase sharing by 30 percent.
For Blogger (Blogspot) users, here are the steps that you need to follow to start publishing Facebook Instant Articles.
How to apply for Instant Articles
- First of all, your blog must have a Facebook page. If it doesn't have one yet, you can create one in just a few minutes.
- Go to instantarticles.fb.com to sign up for Instant Articles and select your blog's Facebook page to start the process, after which you will be taken to the Instant Articles configuration section of the page.
- Connect your blog to Instant Articles. This is done by logging in to Blogger to insert a provided meta tag into the head section of your blog's HTML and then clicking on "Claim URL".
- Submit at least 10 sample articles (production articles). You can create the sample articles either manually by using the provided examples as templates or automatically by connecting your blog's RSS feed (yourblog.blogspot.com/rss.xml) to Instant Articles. Note that you cannot create standalone Instant Articles. An Instant Article is a streamlined copy of an existing blog post and is indexed with the blog post's canonical URL.
- Submit a logo. After creating the sample articles, you only need one more step to submit your application and that is to submit a logo. To do this, simply go to Configuration > Styles > Default and upload your blog's logo, which must be a transparent PNG file with a width of least 690 pixels and a height of at least 132 pixels.
- Click on "Submit for Review" and wait 1 to 3 business days for approval (mine was approved within 24 hours).
Once approved, you can start publishing live Instant Articles. Later on, if you want to earn from your Instant Articles, you can do so by signing up for the Facebook Audience Network.