Why Your Facebook Shares Look Wrong and How To Fix Them
Have you ever shared your blog post or website on Facebook and noticed that either no preview image popped up, or it only gave you the option to choose between three super random images from the website sidebar? Or maybe the image was fine but the description wasn't at all what you wanted?
If not then this article probably isn't for you, I release you to go enjoy the rest of your day. But if you've ever run into this common sharing snafu, stick around for a few hacks to make your shares clickable.
>> No time to finish this article? Download the uber handy PDF version and keep it as a quick reference!
First off, make sure you've added a featured image to your post. Facebook finds those share images using something called Open Graph data. It should technically find your image whether you have it set as a featured image or not (as long as it's in the post), but that doesn't always work, because technology's fun. So if you're having issues with images not showing up try setting a featured image first.
Note: Make sure the image is the right size. Facebook is a picky bugger. If your image is too small or too large it's like getting Goldilocks to eat leftover porridge. You'll want the dimensions to be at least 600 x 315 pixels, but preferably 1200 x 630.
If your site is built on WordPress you'll need to open the post editor page and scroll down until you see "Featured Image", then either choose a photo from your Media Library or upload a new one.
If your site is on Squarespace you'll set a thumbnail image instead by clicking Options at the top of the post editor. Here you can upload a thumbnail image as well as copy and paste a paragraph for your post excerpt. This will also show up on the blog page of a lot of the Squarespace templates, so I highly recommend setting the Thumbnail image and Excerpt here no matter what.
Save your post and run the link through the Facebook Debugger now to update the information Facebook sees when you share. If it worked you'll see your new share image and description towards the bottom of the page in the Facebook preview. By the way, this debugger is a wonderful tool if you think you've done everything right but your shares still look wonky. Sometimes just having Facebook fetch new scrape data is enough to take care of the problem.
Still not seeing the right image? Sometimes these things are finicky. On WordPress I highly advise using a plugin like Yoast SEO which allows you to explicitly set images and descriptions straight from each page and post. Install the plugin and it automatically adds some fields to each page/post on your site, as well as a slew of site wide settings.
You don't need to worry about learning all of these, but navigating to SEO -> Social -> Facebook will give you options to set a default image that applies to any page on your site that doesn't have a good shareable image. One trick I like to use is taking a nice looking screenshot of the front page of the website and using that as the default share image. You can also set an image for a specific blog post or page by using the Yoast options below the editor for that page.
Still having issues? Get in touch and I'll be happy to see what I can do to help. Happy Sharing!