I love blogging. The writing, the community, the technical ins and outs, the hours of frustration whilst mucking about with CSS and whatnot. Today we interrupt our usual stream of millennial angst to talk about a very practical part of blogging. Regular programming will resume next week or whatever.
So you wrote a blog post.
You threw a few hundred good words on your screen, crafted a perfect title, chose a beautiful image to accompany it.
And then when you posted the link on Facebook, it looked boring.
No title. No image. No preview text.
Now you’re frustrated, because nobody will click on a boring-looking link.
How do you fix this?
First, simply try refreshing Facebook and then pasting the link again.
If that worked, yay! You can get on with your life. If not, keep reading…
Here’s what’s going on:
When you post a new link onto Facebook, Facebook is supposed to scrape your website and get all that pretty stuff to display along with the link. But sometimes Facebook drops the ball on this.
We need to manually force Facebook to re-scrape your website so that it will realize all the goodness there waiting to be seen.
To do this, we’re going to use the Facebook Debugger tool:
When you visit the Debugger, you’ll see this:
Post the link you’re wanting to manually scrape. In this case, it’s the link to your brand new blog post – the one that’s not showing up right on Facebook. Then click “Debug”.
Now you’ll see this:
Click “Fetch New Scrape Information”.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you’ll see a preview of what Facebook has just learned about your link. The first time I clicked it, I got this:
No luck so far. Don’t worry. This is normal. Just click “Fetch New Scrape Information” again.
We’re making progress. Now the preview at the bottom is showing the title and excerpt, but the picture isn’t showing up yet.
Just click “Fetch New Scrape Information” one more time. Now scroll to the bottom of the page and check the link preview:
I don’t know why Facebook makes me click “Fetch New Scrape Information” three times, but hey – whatever works, right?
Now you’re ready to go to your Facebook page and paste the link there. This time, Facebook knows all about the pretty link, and will display it for you.
The good news is that once you’ve reminded Facebook about the link information, it will remember it for everyone who shares your link on Facebook.
This is why it’s always a good practice to run your blog post links through the Debugger as soon as you publish them, just in case. This way you can safely assume that they’ll look good no matter who shares them.
If you ever change the blog post title or update the featured image, just run the link through the Debugger again to notify Facebook of the changes.
Here’s a quick recap of the process:
1. Go to the Facebook Debugger
2. Paste the link to your blog post
3. Click “Debug”
4. Click “Fetch New Scrape Information” three (or four or five) times.
5. Paste your new shiny link on Facebook.
6. High-five yourself and go microwave your coffee
It seems overwhelming, but once you’ve done it a few times it only takes a minute or two. Good luck!
If this was helpful, check out the Clumsy Bloggers’ Workshop, where I’ll teach you everything I know about blogging in seven fun, easy-to-understand lessons.
published January 27, 2015
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