If you’re like 900 million other people in the world, chances are you’re active on Facebook. As an active Facebook user you’ve probably seen your fair share of company fanpages. You’ve seen the plain boring ones, and you’ve seen the incredible looking custom Facebook Fanpages with all kinds of added features, a great looking landing page, and a lot more. What you may not have seen until now is how you can get one of those awesome pages for your fanpage – without having the marketing budget of Converse, Nike, or Apple. That’s where WP4FB comes in.
In short, WP4FB 2.0 is a quick and easy way to supercharge your Facebook Fanpage. You don’t need any coding, design, or graphic skills to get started. You just need to be able to follow along with the WP4FB startup guide, which includes a great series of how-to videos for each section. Below I’m going to show you what it was like when I installed the plugin and used the quick-start guide to supercharge my website’s Facebook Fanpage. Please be sure to read all the way to the end where I give my summary and final review of the product.
Once you make your purchase, which you can do above, you’ll have access to the membership area of the WP4FB site where there is a section titled Downloads. The most up-to-date version of the plugin will be available for download there. Once you’ve downloaded the zipped file, it’s time to install it. Go to your WordPress Admin > Plugins > Add New > Upload and installed the zipped file you downloaded from the members section of WP4FB.com.
Upon activation you will notice a new sidebar menu in your WordPress Admin.
When you click on that new menu, titled WP4FB, you’ll be immediately directed to the Quick Start guide which we will walk through together below.
Step 1: Creating A WP4FB Page
The way that this plugin works is that it creates an app that lives on Facebook, which is then populated with a page you create within your WordPress site. So in this first step what we’re going to do is create a WP4FB page in WordPress so that we can link it up to the app we’ll create in Facebook later.
I know that it can sound a little like inception: a page within a site within an app within a page. But I promise it all works out and makes sense as you walk through it. If you’re unsure of what exactly you want to do with you custom page right away and just want to play around, I suggest following their quick start guide to the “T” and name the page you’re about to create (by clicking on the link provided) Home.
In my case, I already knew what I wanted to accomplish with my custom page(s) and so I decided to give them more appropriate names: “Pre-Like TAP eZine 001 Sweepstake”, “Post-Like TAP eZine 001 Sweepstake” and “Thanks For Participating”. You’ll see where I’m going with that when we get down to step 6. For now though, all you need to do is create the page or pages you want and we will customize them later.
Once you’ve successfully created the page or pages you desire, head back to the quick start guide and continue on with step 2. Again, you won’t need to mess with any page settings until later.
Step 2: Create A Facebook Application
In step 2 you’ll be creating a Facebook app to populate with your page or pages from step 1. The quick start guide is extremely well documented so I will not belabor each and every step like I normally would. As you can see in the image below it will walk you through each necessary step. All you have to do is click on the facebook developer’s link provided and follow along.
In my case, I wanted to encourage people to like my facebook page so that they can enter into a sweepstake to win a free issue of my site’s new eZine. So naturally I titled it “Win TAP eZine 001″ and filled in the rest of the appropriate spaces as directed above. I was also sure to add an image under the Page Tab section so that when the app appeared on my page it looked attractive and interesting to potential contestants.
Step 3: Create The Application Inside WP4B
Ok, so this step is basically creating a “mirror app” inside the WP4FB plugin that links to the one you just created on Facebook. So when you click on the link provided in step 3 of the quick start guide you will be taken to the Apps page.
At this new page, as seen below, you will have to at least enter in your App Title, Facebook Application ID, and Facebook Secret. All of which are easily located within the app creation page (developers.facebook.com) you just used. When this is done, go ahead and click Save Changes and proceed to step 4.
Step 4: Add The Application To Your Fan Page
Now it’s time to Add the Application To Your Fan Page by going to the Apps section of WP4FB – which you can do by clicking the link in the quick start guide, and clicking the Add To Page button as seen below. It will then give you the option to select the page you’d like to add your app to and click Add Page Tab.
Step 5: Finalize WP4FB Settings
Like the other steps, this is pretty easy but it’s possible some might be a little confused so allow me to expand just a bit more than the quick guide does. In step 5 you’re supposed to go to your Facebook fan page, click on the new app you’ve added, and then copy the url from the browser’s url bar. Once you’ve copied that link you’ll want to go back to the applications page within the WP4FB section of WordPress and paste it into the field titled “Facebook Fan Page URL” and click save.
Step 6: Edit Your Pages & Add More
Step 6 is all about adding the extra pages you need in order to get the desired effect. The only link here is to the WP4FB website in which there are several very well documented and helpful video tutorials on what exactly can be accomplished with this plugin once set up properly.
So yes, steps 1-5 are the ground work and step 6 is where things really start to take off. In this step I decided to use WP4FB to create a contest (they call it a sweepstake) in which I would offer up the first issue of an ezine as a way of enticing people to like my fan page. In order to do this I had to go watch some of the videos provided by WP4FB and follow along to create a few new pages and add some finishing touches. You can check out how it turned out for me below.
As I mentioned above, upon doing some research before walking through the quick start guide, I already knew what I wanted to do with WP4FB. I wanted to create a contest/sweepstake in which liking my page was required to enter and in which sharing my page gave participants a better chance of winning. To do this I needed to create three pages total within the WP4FB Pages section.
1. A Pre-Like Page
2. A Post-Like Page
3. A Thank You Page
This is where the Live Edit section of the plugin comes into play. You can find it by going to the WP4FB sidebar menu and clicking Live Edit.
So this is how you determine what the pages you create in the WP4FB Pages section actually look like. You can choose from three basic layouts or from several templates as seen clearly at the bottom of the photo above.
When you click through you’ll see something similar to the image below. Each of these sections can be dragged and dropped as well as edited individually to create the desired effect. If you’re not comfortable with this very basic level of “web design” you may want to stick to the templates provided.
When you get a page layout looking the way you want it to then you simply click Save this Layout on the right hand side and begin again on another page.
Here are what mine ended up looking like in the order I listed above.
My next step was going back to the pages I created earlier in the WP4FB Pages section and applying the correct page layout template to the corresponding page.
I then created my sweepstake by going to the sweepstakes section of the WP4FB sidebar menu and filling in the required information under Add New Sweepstake – making sure to link my Thank You for Participating page to the Success Page – and then clicking Submit.
With the sweepstake created, the correct pages designed and linked up correctly through the apps I created, and my fan page live – hers is how it was all supposed to work:
A visitor to my fan page would see my new app.
They would click on it and if there were not a fan they would see this page, informing them to “like” in order to qualify.
If they were already a fan, or they just became one by liking my page, they would then see this page.
After entering the contest they would see this page.
And then I would be able to track everyone’s progress and the spread of my sweepstake on a page like this one.
That was how it was SUPPOSED to work. Unfortunately due to some SSL issues, I was stopped in my tracks and unable to fully launch my sweepstake. Which brings us to the next section, what I believe to be a very important note on SSL, something you should definitely know before buying this plugin.
An Important Note on SSL
If you, your fans, or potential fans are using secure browsing (green https links as opposed to just http) then you will have significant trouble seeing and (as an obvious result) using any of the pages you just created. Everyone will be able to see your app on Facebook, but when they click it – if they are using secured browsing – nothing will appear where your WP4FB page(s) should be.
To be fair to WP4FB, they do provide a very clear PDF guide on how to acquire an SSL Certificate through your hosting/domain provider. And in their example case it is free, which is nice. But when I followed along with the guide I did not find that to be the case for me. In fact, when I followed their instructions and was unable to secure a free SSL Certificate I was told by my domain provider that it would cost me at least $150.
While this may not be the case for everyone out there, I figured anyone who buys this plugin through us and then is told that they will have to spend an additional $150 just to make it work properly would appreciate a heads up. So here is your heads up everyone. Check with your domain provider, see what it takes to secure an SSL Certificate for the domain your are using to host your WordPress website on and make sure it’s something you’re ok with paying for before you buy this plugin.
Summary & Review
In conclusion, I was both impressed and disappointed with this plugin. I was incredibly impressed with its functionality, easy installation and configuration, and I loved seeing an app I created live on my Facebook fan page. As stated in my note above, I was very disappointed with the SSL issues I ran into. So in light of everything my recommendation is two-fold: Firstly, I think the WP4FB plugin is well worth a purchase and I think it’s the best plugin you will find for the purpose of linking your WordPress website to Facebook like we did above. Secondly, you will need to factor in the potential cost of an SSL Certificate if like me, you were not able to get one for free. This is not a weakness in the WP4FB product, but it is an issue for some users that I didn’t feel was made clear until well after the initial purchase would have been made.
So again, I love this plugin and we here at WPHub recommend it highly. If you want the ability to run extremely successful contests/sweepstakes on your Facebook fan page as well as make all kinds of other fun and effective applications/pages that supercharge fan interaction – then you should get this plugin. Just don’t forget to factor in all the possible expenses.