I have been struggling for hours to get a thumbnail image to show on the link that I’m going to share on Facebook. The Facebook thumbnails didn’t show, no matter what I did. So, this is just one of those posts that I really felt a strong urge to write. It was that important to me, and it still is, although I now have the solution to my problems.
I’m not that active on Facebook. I use it, first and foremost in order to keep building strong relations, but also to bring traffic to my blog. And, Facebook is a (free) traffic magnet (not as huge as google, but not far behind).
Facebook Thumbnails and Why We Need Them
I have been doing some testing. It might not be shocking news to you, but I’ve discovered that there’s a huge difference if you add links on Facebook with or without thumbnails. I don’t have any stats to show you, but according to my experience, it’s very important that we add Facebook thumbnails on every status update that includes a link.
The reason why I have received a lot more clicks on links with thumbnails, is probably related to attention. It’s so much easier to grab attention with an image than just text.
Facebook Thumbnails and How You Add Them
So, after struggling for hours, I have discovered that there are at least four things you need to understand when it comes to adding Facebook thumbnails.
- You can manually add some code, or
- You can install a plugin
- You need to use the featured image settings
- You should Force Facebook to refresh its cache
Let me explain.
The Code for Facebook Thumbnails
Facebook Thumbnails can be added by using some code. If you have 100% control, unlike me, you can add some code. Just copy and paste it; Avoid No Facebook Thumbnails (you’ll get the code for WordPress and for non-wordpress sites). I don’t recommend this unless you know what you’re doing. I’m not saying that you’re going to mess up. But, I don’t like adding code (because I really don’t have any idea what I’m doing).
The point is, that when you add this piece of code, you’ll be using the featured image of the posts as the thumbnail in Facebook. But, what I recommend that you do (if you’re anything like me) is to install the plugin.
The Plugin for Facebook Thumbnails
There’s a plugin you can install in order to add the code to your wordpress blog. This plugin will set your Facebook thumbnails for you, and it’s the same as with the code, it will use the featured image.
The plugin is Add Facebook Share Thumbnail + Meta
In order to use Facebook thumbnails, you need to set a featured image on your post. You’ll find it in the right sidebar, just below where you add tags to your post.
The Facebook thumbnails will be the images you add for each post using featured image.
Force Facebook to refresh its cache
But, I was still struggling.
I didn’t understand why nothing seemed to happen. I had installed the plugin (I even tried to add the code). According to what I’ve read, I did everything right, but nothing happened.
The thing is, in order to get your Facebook thumbnails to work, you need to force Facebook to refresh its cache. If Facebook have already crawled your site/post, it stores it in its cache, and it might take 24 hours to get any new updates to show. So, that’s why you need to force Facebook to refresh its cache by adding the url to the post you want to share.
As soon as I forced Facebook to refresh its cache, everything worked out ok for me.