As you’ve seen, visitors can use the Facebook button to share and “Like” your posts.
But you might prefer to let Facebookers show their appreciation for your site as a
whole, using the sort of Like box.
There are two good reasons to create a site-wide Like box:
• It advertises your whole site on Facebook, not just one post. As a result, it’s
more likely to get people interested in your content.
• It centralizes voting in one place. If your site doesn’t attract huge amounts of
traffic, your posts may accumulate only a few Likes. But if you include a single
Like button for your entire site, your Like count will probably reach a larger,
more respectable-looking number.
There’s one extra hassle with the Like button: To let people “Like” your site, you
need to create a Facebook Page for it.
A Facebook Page is a public meeting spot you create on Facebook. You use it to
promote something—say, a company, a cause, a product, a television show, or a
band. You might already have a Facebook Page to promote your business or yourself
(for example, musicians, comedians, and journalists often do). Any Facebook
member can create one.
A Facebook Page is similar to a personal Facebook profile, but it’s better suited to
promotion. That’s because anyone can visit a Facebook Page and read its content,
even if they aren’t Facebook friends with the page owner, or don’t even have a Facebook
account. Those who do have accounts can do the usual Facebook things—click
Like to follow the page, post on the page’s timeline, and join in any of its discussions.
Generally, a personal Facebook profile is better suited to keeping up with friends
or networking with business contacts, while a Facebook Page offers a better way
to promote yourself, your business, or your cause to masses of people you don’t
know. If you don’t have a Facebook Page and you aren’t sure how to create one,
see the box on page 421.
Once you create a Facebook Page, it’s easy to add a Facebook Like box to your site.
Once again, your site needs to run on WordPress.com, or you need the Jetpack
plug-in. If it meets either of these requirements, follow these steps:
1. Choose AppearanceÆWidgets.
The familiar Widgets page opens.
2. Drag the Facebook Like box into one of the widget areas.
Ideally, you should add the widget to your home page (with its list of posts),
and to your single-post pages. Some themes (like Twenty Eleven) don’t include
a sidebar on the single-post page. That means you need to put the Like box
somewhere else, such as in the footer area.
3. Type in the Facebook Page web address.
The easiest way to do that is to visit your page through Facebook and then copy
the address from your browser’s address bar.
4. Optionally, configure the other settings for the Facebook Like box.
Like any widget, you can give the Facebook Like box a title, but that’s really
not necessary. You can also set its width, change its color scheme, and choose
whether you want to display your fans’ faces (as in Figure 12-6), the latest posts
from your page’s news stream, or the latest posts from its timeline. If you opt
out of all these options, you get a very compact box that includes a Like button,
the number of Likes you’ve received, and a tiny thumbnail of the profile picture
from your Facebook Page.
5. Click Save.
This adds the Like box widget to your page.
Yet Another Ratings System
If you use WordPress.com, you can be forgiven for getting confused
by the panoply of rating options available. You already
know how to integrate Facebook sharing and WordPress.com
Likes. In addition to those options, you can use the Polldaddy
rating system on WordPress.com sites. (Self-hosters can get
a plug-in that offers the same features at http://tinyurl.com/
wp-polls. However, it’s a bit finicky, and it forces you to sign
up for a free Polldaddy account.)
Initially, WordPress has Polldaddy ratings turned off. To add
them to posts, pages, or comments, go to the Ratings→All
Ratings section of the dashboard. There you can position the
ratings section above or below your content. When you apply
the ratings to posts and pages, readers can rate a post from
one star (very poor) to five stars (excellent). When you add
the rating system to comments, visitors choose from simple
thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons. Self-hosters who use
the Polldaddy widget get a rating system called Top Rated;
it lets guests link to your top posts, pages, or comments,
depending on the options you pick.
It doesn’t really make sense to use both WordPress.com Likes
and Polldaddy ratings. There’s only so much feedback you can
request before your readers get tapped out. Both systems have
advantages. WordPress.com Likes requires guests to sign in
but provide extra features—namely, it lets people log in to
the WordPress.com home page and see all the posts they’ve
“Liked.” But Polldaddy ratings are more inclusive, because they
let everyone participate, no login required. They also include
a reporting feature that lets web authors review their most
popular posts (to see it, choose Feedback→Ratings). You may
need to play with both systems before you decide which one
better suits your site.
Finally, it’s worth noting that even if you choose WordPress.com
Likes for your posts, you might still decide to use Polldaddy to
let readers rate comments (page 259), because you can’t add
WordPress.com Likes to the comments section.