In this article, we're going to be discussing the new Google Web Stories for WordPress plugin. We'll be taking a look at what web stories are, why they may be a good idea to integrate into your WordPress website, and the new beta version of the plugin that allows you to do that.
As defined by Google, “Web Stories are tappable, engaging visual stories brought to the web.”
If you've ever scrolled through Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, you've definitely watched somebody's personal story. A story is a collection of videos or slides depicting information or scenes from their everyday life. What Google has done is taken this format that everybody knows and loves and created a way for creators and developers to publish content online in a similar format.
Content that can be used on the web story includes videos, text, images, GIFs, audio, drawings, and more. Like Instagram, your users can also interact with the individual slides of a story. For example, you can display your social media network links which your user can tap on And load your profile.
The main purpose is to be visual and not confined:
Easily create visual narratives, with engaging animations and tappable interactions […] They can be shared and embedded across the web without being confined to a closed ecosystem or platform.Amp.Dev
So, while this article is discussing the WordPress plugin that allows you to create web stories, this format of content is not confined to the platform. Instead, you're probably going see a pop up from multiple different content management systems and blogging networks.
Web stories are a succession to the short lived AMP Stories project. The utilize Googles AMP framework, and are published by the team over at amp.dev. Because they’re on AMP, there fast to load, can integrate Google Analytics, are fully immersive and compatible with Google.
The primary use case we see for this format of Internet content is news. News companies already publish stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. With the web story format, they can do this on Google as well.
If you publish news that could benefit from this format (visual, tappable), then web stories could be a good integration for your WordPress website. There's also an easy way for your visitors and viewers to share the web story by tapping on a button and copying a link.
This format is definitely oriented towards publishers, as there's native integration for advertising (Similar to what the major social media networks are doing with their stories). You can also easily incorporate affiliate links.
Depending on the adoption of this technology, getting in now could give you an edge over competition. Also, Google may favor this format over traditional articles as they have recently been ranking images and videos above standard content. From a SEO standpoint, it's worth experimenting with this new content type, especially because the WordPress plugin is free and well designed.
Here's how the web stores will display on the front end of Google. That's a lot of real estate, and could drive a lot of clicks to your WordPress website. Definitely something to check out.
The plugin, succinctly titled "Google Web Stories For WordPress" gives publishers and content creators a well designed editor that they can use to create web stories directly from the WordPress admin.
Similar to Elementor, Gutenberg, or Oxygen Builder, this plugin offers a WYSIWYG which you can use to easily create web stories and publish them online. The web stories for WordPress plugin is currently in its beta version, and undergoing public testing.
Grab it here: https://google.github.io/web-stories-wp/beta
Learn more here: https://github.com/google/web-stories-wp#readme
The public version of web stories for WordPress will be released later this summer, according to Google.
Hopefully by now you should have a good understanding of what web stories are, and the fact that Google has created a plugin specifically for WordPress. We wanted to check out what the plugin had to offer, and the design behind it, so we downloaded the first version of the public beta and took some screenshots for you.
This next section of the article will take an in depth look at the web stories editor for word press.
To get the plugin, you need to download the beta version from their GitHub repository. You can do that by heading to their landing page here and clicking the Big Blue download button.
The interface of editing a story is extremely simple, and well designed. It's basically a drag and drop editor that you can use to add photos, videos, text, and more. You can manage your layers, and access fairly advanced settings for each content type.
The workflow is fairly simple. All you need to do is add your content, finalize the slide, and create a new one. You continue doing this until you have your entire story generated. You can then preview it, and finally publish it. Once published, it's like any other content type on WordPress.
The default front end link follows this structure: https://yourwordpresssite.com/stories/your-title
From the dashboard, you can view all of the stories that you have published.
There are also several premade web story templates for WordPress, which you can use to easily create content in this format. As this is the very beginning of the plugin, we expect to see a lot more templates when the public version of web stories for WordPress is released later this summer.
The new Web Stories for WordPress plugin is a well designed way to add this new content type that Google is pushing. It integrates natively with WordPress and is easy to use. If you're looking for a way to create web stories directly from your WordPress website and publish it under your domain, this is your best bet. Check out the first version of the public beta here and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Is this going to become the next form of content, or die like AMP stories did?