Over the past couple years it has been impressive to see Facebook craftily grow its influence beyond the Facebook.com domain and expanding all throughout the internet. For example, it seems just about every major website now allows you to login using Facebook. With Facebook’s growing influence over the internet it isn’t surprising many WordPress developers have really stepped up, providing a number of great free and premium WordPress plugins to help improve WordPress and Facebook integration.
Once of my most recent Facebook plugin discoveries came from the developers at Premium Coding, a website which builds quite a few things, including a series of premium WordPress plugins. The plugin I want to talk about today is called Facebook Page Themes, and the title pretty much sums up what this plugin does. With this premium WordPress plugin users can generate a custom designed theme for your Facebook page, giving your business a professional look that promotes your product or service.
So, why would a website or business want a custom Facebook page? To reach the average customer, having a Facebook page is just about a requirement these days, and they are completely free with a Facebook account. The problem is they all look the same. In order to stand out, many major corporations have decided to build custom web pages to help their product stand out. But what about your average blogger? Using the leverage of this WordPress plugin, you can easily create a plugin which helps promote your product or service directly to these (potential) customers.
After working with the designers of this plugin, I’m happy to report that I was able to give Facebook Page Themes a try and see exactly how easy it is to create your own custom WordPress theme. First, here is the feature list for this plugin:
- Easy to install like any other WordPress plugin.
- Currently there are five pre-made templates available (black, grey, brown, blue, and red), but this number will continue to grow over time with new templates promised each month.
- Built using HTML/CSS making them relatively easy to customize.
- Make updates to their page directly from the WordPress dashboard.
- Plugin uses the popular Nivo Slideshow image rotator (for front pages) and Lightbox (for image presentations).
- Support for multiple templates, allowing you to use different templates for different website pages, or use one for your product and the other for your personal Facebook page.
Once you get your copy of the Facebook Page Themes plugin, you can simply unzip the file and upload to your website just like you would any standard WordPress plugin. Once activated, this plugin has its own spot in the navigation menu called “FB Themes.” From here you can build your own custom page through a series of menus that gives you control over how your page displays. Options available include a traditional blog-like page (the default setup for Facebook pages currently), a home/splash page, and of course a portfolio page.
While my time with the Facebook Page Themes plugin was an overall good experience, one downside that I discovered was not actually the plugin’s fault, but instead a problem with the secure browsing Facebook uses (https). After checking into why things weren’t displaying properly, I discovered that Facebook made changes to the HTTPS protocol on October 1st, 2011, so Facebook users with secure browsing turned on will not be able to view your page properly unless your website has an SSL certificate. Fortunately Premium Coding has provided a free workaround to this issue using Social Server which they’ve detailed here.
Overall I have to say I was very happy with my time trying this plugin and can recommend it to anyone who would like to clean up and improve their default Facebook page. If you’d like to learn more about the Facebook Page Themes plugin, you can get additional information here.