The following post is a guest contribution by Lisa Roberts with WP Full Care, the author’s views may not be the same as our own.
There are many reasons why content creators, digital marketers, entrepreneurs, and people from all walks of life may take an interest in web stories. These bite-sized, concise pieces of content were traditionally limited to social media platforms, but that doesn’t need to be the case.
Formerly known as AMP Stories, Google’s Web Stories plugin can now bring this magazine-style visual content to your WordPress website. Of course, its uses are endless, for content marketing and otherwise, so you may wish to explore it in some depth. Thus, we’ve gathered all you need to know about Google’s new Web Story plugin for WordPress in this article for your reading convenience.
What is WordPress?
To start with the basics, let us briefly explore WordPress itself. While there’s a good chance it powers your website, should you have one, we should be thorough.
WordPress is currently the single largest content management system (CMS). It started as a blog-publishing system in 2003. But the need to support various web content pushed it to evolve into the CMS it is in 2020.
Today it’s a free, open-source platform that often comes with website hosting packages. However, its popularity doesn’t stem only from its availability – it’s flexible, user-friendly, and provides a plugin architecture. The latter lets it support a variety of free and paid third-party plugins, like the Web Story plugin we’re discussing today.
WordPress currently powers roughly 30% of all websites across the globe, and it powered over 30% of the top 10 million websites as of 2019. It’s constantly updated for security and functionality, and interesting updates that happened recently ensure that it continues to thrive.
What is the Web Story plugin for WordPress?
Having established this prominent CMS’s affinity for plugins, let us explore Google’s new Web Story plugin for WordPress.
Previously known as AMP Stories, Google launched this format in early 2018. It was then rebranded as Web Stories in early 2020, and a beta version of its WordPress plugin soon became available at Github. At the time of writing this article, it’s now available as a full, free release at the WordPress plugin repository.
Web Stories allows you to create visually captivating, bite-sized stories that appear on your website and across the web. Google describes it as a “visual storytelling format for the web [that enables] you to easily create visual narratives with engaging animations and tappable interactions”.
As such, it features a user-friendly drag and drop interface, as well as a plethora of free templates and visual content. Lastly, Google is forging partnerships with stock image and video providers such as Unsplash and Coverr to ensure further ease of use and more variety of content.
Installing the Web Story plugin for WordPress
The installation process is equally simple. From within your WordPress dashboard, follow the steps below:
- Navigate to Plugins and select Add New
- Search for Google’s Web Stories in the plugin repository
- Follow the on-screen instructions to install and activate the Web Stories plugin
For a manual installation, the process is slightly different:
- Download Google’s Web Stories from the plugin repository
- Find the “web-stories” folder on your computer, and upload it with all its contents to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
- Navigate to Plugins on your WordPress dashboard
- Find the Web Stories plugin and activate it
Using the Web Story plugin for WordPress
As highlighted above, Web Stories features a very user-friendly interface that should let you get started right away. Through ‘Create New Story’, you can access the editor and all the available visual tools.
There, you’ll find the page creator in the middle, where you can edit and eventually publish your story.
On the left, you’ll find a content library that features available templates, image and video content, as well as the option to upload your own. Should you be looking for something specific, the library naturally includes a search function.
Finally, on the right, you’ll find many designs, documents, and media editing tools. These include the following, among others:
- Image masking tools
- Gradient editing tools
- Saved colors and styles
Naturally, you won’t need to use all these tools from the beginning. Using the most straightforward tools in an intuitive way can let you create powerful stories to enhance your digital marketing tactics. However, mastering such tools can help you refine your craft as you progress.
Web Stories: visibility and effectiveness
Finally, having touched on how you can use the Web Story plugin for WordPress, let us delve into how, and why, you should use it.
While stories can enrich your website, their other key function is that they can serve as traffic sources. Stories can appear in Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs), where users can see a preview of their content. If a user is interested, they can access them for the full story, which can then include buttons of your choice.
Notably, outside of Google Search, stories can appear elsewhere in the Google ecosystem as well, including:
- Google Discover
- Google Images
- The Google App
You can thus use it effectively to attract leads and customers, as long as you craft your content alluringly enough.
Lastly, the successful implementation of stories on social media should attest to their effectiveness. Readers respond very well to visually stimulating content, and the changing internet demographics favor this approach. However, there are many best practices to keep in mind when creating stories for maximum effectiveness. As cursory examples, consider the following:
- Use full-screen, high-resolution images, and crop with care
- Shoot video at 480p, and use bleed to help the reader focus
- Use a readable font of at least size 24, and contrast it with the background
- Make sure to use less than 200 characters per story page
- Use animations and effects where appropriate
- Always use captions and keep them at the bottom
These and other best practices will ensure your content resonates with your audiences as effectively as possible.
In conclusion, you should now know all you need to know about Google’s new Web Story plugin for WordPress. Remember to craft your stories meticulously, embed them strategically, and always keep your target audience in mind.
About the author: Lisa Roberts is a freelance journalist. She writes on various topics and has a keen interest in SEO and its intricacies. An avid movie-goer, she enjoys a good night out as much as a quiet afternoon of writing.