How Facebook Linter or DeBugger Tool Can Help Your Blog Post Display Correctly.
Most of us use Facebook for communication and social media and just plain old hanging out with people.
But everyone also knows more and more people are using it for business and particularly, Facebook is being used by bloggers to promote their blogs and develop relationships.
But many of us don’t know that FB has developer tools that can be quite helpful. I found out about such a tool the other day.
Many of you in my Blogging group on Facebook may be aware that I kept having trouble posting my recent posts in our group.
When we post a link in Facebook, you usually get the post with an image and the link to the post along with some text noting what the post is about. Well, for my last 3 posts, I’ve gotten error messages when I posted my link. I got a 404 Error.
The weird thing is that some people if they clicked on the link would be taken to my post. Others got the 404 error and couldn’t get to the post. I tried a number of things.
At first I thought it was because I had just updated WordPress to its next version. That’s when I started having the trouble. But no one else I spoke to seem to have that problem.
I checked my permalinks too and saw something a little weird there too (but that’s another upcoming article.) This whole thing was extremely annoying to me because people get frustrated really quickly and then don’t want to go to your blog anymore.
Well, after trying everything I could think of, I finally called my friend and buddy, Ben Wehde, who I call the WordPress Guru!
The first thing he did was send me to a Facebook Developer page. Now, I knew that Facebook had Developer stuff but never looked into it.
I had enough of development when I was in school, but I found out there is a very interesting and totally awesome tool there and I want to share it with you.
In particular, I’ve known other people who have posted the blogs, but their images didn’t display or some other weird thing happened when we posted our links and I think this will be useful to them as well. So here’s what I found out.
Facebook Has a DeBugger Tool
I never thought about the inner workings of what happens when I post a link to Facebook so this was extremely interesting to me.
So listen up ‘cause you may need this at some point in time if you are using Facebook regularly to post your links. Facebook debugger tool can fix these problems and probably many more but these are the two I’ll focus on.
- Getting a 404 error when you post your link on Facebook?
- Picture or images not displaying when you post your link on Facebook?
There’s a simple one-time fix for this problem. Go to https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug When you get there, you’ll see a text box where you can place the URL that is giving you the problem. Enter your trouble URL into the box.
What Does This Do?
What I found out is that Facebook caches our links! Just like sometimes we have to go and clear our cache on our computer to correct some weird stuff, we may have to clear our cache on Facebook. Weird uh?
But as soon as Ben directed me to the Facebook Developer page where this is located, I plopped the link that was throwing a 404 error in my Facebook Blogging group and hit the DeBug button.
Then I came back into my Facebook Blogger group and posted my link again and refreshed the page by hitting F5 and Waaa-la! (Ben Wehde – you are awwwwesummm!)
Trouble was all gone! Instantly! My link showed up, my image and my description and all was right with the world again after 3-4 weeks of very frustrating ‘head spinning!’ OMG was I relieved!
How Does It Work?
So what happens (summarized version) is that Facebook updated the cached information for the URL you post. Bottom line is that this makes Facebook display your updated content for that URL.
Try It, You’ll Like It!
If you are having trouble displaying info or something weird is going on, go to Facebook Linter or FB Debugger. Put your URL in. It then grabs the content from your page and displays the parsed meta tags and fixes the problem.
Now I won’t go into too much detail on what that is ‘cause if you’re not a developer, it can make your brain go wonky! But bottom line is we can control the content of what is displayed and shared on Facebook.
When you post your link to your blog on Facebook and it displays the Title, Image and description from your blog and you ‘change’ it to say what you want it to say, it’s because of the Open Graph meta tags.
For our purposes however, you don’t have to worry about that right now, but I thought it’s a nice little tidbit for you to know.
So I’ve bookmarked that URL for the future, in case I need to use it again or someone else has that nasty little ‘displaying an image or content from their blog on Facebook.’
If you’re having trouble getting some particular page to work in the way you’re expecting, try the debugger tool on the URL first and see if that clears it up.
For additional information on how it works, read the Debugging URLs with the Facebook URL Linter Hope this helps. Have you ever had these weird problems on Facebook? Do you know of anyone else who might have. You can now share and help them as well.
Take care for now,