Facebook recently (within the past few weeks) released a new feature that allows for "Liking" practically anything on the web. This is pretty damn powerful, and apparently in less than a week of its availability, 50,000 websites thought so too.
Have you seen these new Facebook Like buttons at the bottom of some blog posts? Here's what they look like:
Initially, I glossed over them assuming they were the same thing as the "Become a Fan" buttons (which are now, confusingly, also "Like" buttons). However, these individual Like buttons are specifically for liking the blog post itself.
When you click on the Like button at the bottom of a blog post, an entry gets added to your Facebook timeline stating that you liked the post (assuming you're logged into Facebook). For example, here you can see that I "Liked" one of my blog posts, The Pursuit of Knowledge:
6 Reasons why all bloggers need to add this button to their posts
If the potential of this Like button isn't already obvious, let me give you 6 reasons why you should be adding it to your own blog posts right now:
- Facebook has over 425 million users; chances are that many of your readers use the network. If you're already using a Retweet button for Twitter, there's no reason you shouldn't be using the Facebook Like button.
- The Like button is familiar to Facebook users. They already know what it does and they've probably used it several times on Facebook. This familiarity brings comfort and increases the chances they will use it.
- Liking a post is a seamless operation for readers already logged into Facebook; one click and it's done!
- By liking a post, the reader tells all his or her Facebook friends about your blog post, greatly amplifying your blog's exposure.
- If other Facebook friends have already Liked the post, their names will be displayed next to the button. This creates a sense of trust and community and increases the chances your reader will also Like the post (creating even more exposure).
- You can configure the Like button to show not only the names of the friends, but also their profile pictures! This further amplifies the comfort level of your reader and encourages them to share your blog post.
One other thing to note as a blogger is that the Like button isn't tied to your Facebook account or Fan page. When a reader likes your blog post, the message that shows up on the readers Facebook timeline links directly back to your blog. This is great because the potential for exposure is huge -- a reader doesn't need to be your Fan or friend on Facebook to share your content!
How to integrate the Facebook Like button on a WordPress blog
For WordPress blogs, I prefer adding the Like button using a WordPress plugin like this one. However if you just want to add the Like button to your theme manually, you can drop this snippet of code in your theme's single.php file, just after the line that includes the
[html wraplines="true"]<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=<?php echo urlencode(get_permalink($post->ID)); ?>&layout=standard&show_faces=false&width=450&action=like&colorscheme=light" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px; height:60px;"></iframe>[/html]
For more information, including extra parameters for modifying the behavior of the button, check out the Facebook Developers Documentation page.