i’ve become more than a little agitated lately with how well (or not well) Facebook handles shared posts from the LAP blog. it all started a couple of weeks ago when a new wedding we posted wouldn’t pull up the correct, designated featured image. instead, Facebook was pulling random things (like nuts & bolts part of the blog that had nothing to do with the entry). i thought little of it and moved on to the next week’s… and it happened again.
running the link through Facebook’s debugger, i got “multiple og:url” error, which (surprise!) doesn’t really help all that much to the guy who isn’t code/technically minded. Google started pointing me in the right direction, noting that the error typically crops up when more than Facebook plug-in is running. ok, great. so with the help of my friend Katie (hi!), we began to winnow down what was running, she looking through source code, me flipping switches on & off. ultimately, it became an issue of ProPhoto’s own baked-in Facebook coding that was causing the issue- with all plug-ins off, Facebook functionality was still available (as evidenced through source code hunting). unfortunately, there’s no super easy to turn it off without installing ProPhoto’s “Tweak” plug-in, which still isn’t quite working which actually worked after i updated my ProPhoto theme. apparently i had auto-updates turned off and the Tweak plug-in only works with the most recent version of PP. i don’t want to use ProPhoto’s Facebook stuff, as it doesn’t allow me to use the App i created and gives me no moderation controls.
anywho. that’s not really what this is about. i’ve digressed horribly.
yesterday, i started noticing stories popping up that looked real fancy! big “cover photo” with a clickable link, taking up good real estate on my newsfeed. great! except… it wasn’t playing nice with the blog (of course).
instead of a fancy big photo, i was getting the standard square thumbnail with some text. and as a photography blog, i really really want that big fancy photo because it just pops so nicely and grabs more attention. so i started digging around, doing more switching on & off off plug-ins, trying to figure if it was something going awry with competing Open Graph instructions, yada yada yada. i believed, at one point, that this would just be something relegated to proper website usage, not blogs; how Facebook figured the difference, i had no idea, but it seemed logical at the time.
turns out, Facebook demands some fairly specific things to be in place for the cover photo to pop up (at least for a WordPress blog).
- if your blog entry is mostly/all photos, don’t use a Featured Photo. it will pull a couple of photos from the article/entry itself and you can choose between those. great, except you have no control of how it’s cropped. as the “cover photo” is an odd size, it can make for some awkward cropping, and Facebook defaults to the center of the image.
- if you want more control, upload your own Featured Photo! easy enough. i sussed out the size of the cover photo in the newsfeed, got the original photo i wanted to use, cropped and resized exactly to the specification. blam. easy enough, right? ehhhh…
- apparently, Facebook doesn’t want you to use the exact size for your featured photo. rather, it wants to use something a little bit larger so it can have some leeway for its own compression and resizing. if you do your featured photo at the exact size, you get the square thumbnail and text. lame.
- so, make your featured photo a little bit larger!
i initially uploaded this for the featured image.
that’s the exact size (398×207) Facebook displays across all devices: iPhone, iPad, desktop, other mobile devices, etc. (at least i think- i cannot imagine it’s any larger than that depending on screen size). so then i uploaded this.
this made Facebook happy! and finally, i could get my blog post to show up with a big fancy featured photo photo. the size on this, by the way, is 828×431.
so there’s your new trick, people who use WordPress and Facebook in conjunction with one another. hopefully this was helpful. i’m certain Facebook will move the goalposts yet again when they see fit, and you can rest assured, i’ll tear my hair out over it, figuring up a new solution that takes way too many steps.