Saturday, February 1, 2014

I Knew There Had to Be a Way

I've been trying for years to figure out how to make my website into a tab for my Facebook page. One of the challenges of a online retailing - maybe THE challenge - is to get people to come to the page in the first place. Etsy and Zibbet and their ilk are not much help with this; sure, millions of people go to Etsy every day, but that doesn't help you at all if they don't come to your particular shop, so you're in the same boat with the private website owner.

Etsy does help in that people know and by extension trust the name, at least a little; without that umbrella, an individual website is just some rando, maybe a serial killer for all you know. Even if you don't like Etsy (ahem) this is true. Who would you be more likely to give a lift to on the highway, your least favorite co-worker or a perfect stranger? Same situation. Well, sort of.

ANYWAY! I digress. Again. I always figured a way to get a little bit of that familiarity to rub off, not to mention increase visibility, would be to have the online shop embedded into Fine Mess Pottery's Facebook page.That's been possible with an Etsy page for long time, and I knew there had to be a way to do it with a regular website, but damned if I could figure out how.

Luckily I didn't have to figure it out myself, or we'd be waiting a long time. Like, bring-a-book-and-a-snack-and-your-sleeping-bag long, and then some. Someone - Woobox, to be specific - invented an app called Static iFrame, which exists for exactly this purpose.It's pretty straightforward:
  1. At the link, click "Install Page Tab." You'll be offered a choice of which of your pages you'd like to install a tab on, then asked to authorize the page application. 
  2. There are a couple of authorizations you have to give; I was hesitant, because I don't want some clown bombing my page with Viagra links (or whatever) but the developers promise not to post without specific direction to do so. I went ahead, and so far no surprises. technology, unlike pottery, is a realm in which surprises are rarely good. 
  3. You'll get to a page requesting Tab Settings. the easiest thing here, if you are tabbing to an existing website, is to choose the URL radio button, and just paste in your page's address (comlete with the http:// part.)
  4. There's a bunch of stuff obout restricting who can see the tab content; I just left all those gates wide open, because obvs. That's the whole point. 
  5. You'll probably want to upload your own image, instead of the boilerplate. this is a little fiddly, as the image has to be EXACLY 111 pixels by 74 pixels. Well alrighty then! Save yourself some aggravation by having the image already sized. 
  6. The default name of the Tab will be "Welcome." That's all fine, but I wanted my tab to be named "Shop Now." Not exactly sure what I did wrong, or, eventually, right, but I had to try changing the name several times before it took.
It remains to be seen how much, or if, this will increase my web traffic, but it can't hurt. Yeah, I've read all the same things you have about how Facebook will be dead in five years, and yeah, sure, it won't be around forever, though I doubt the timeline. But so what? It's alive now, and this tab only takes five minutes.
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