How to share a WordPress post and its featured image
Learn how to share a WordPress post and its featured image on social networks
2020-12-121. Get an image URL
The first thing we will do is to get the URL of an image from the Internet. This image will be the featured image of our post. I always prefer to create a new image from other images and, for that, I use Vampixel. Vampixel gives you the option to store the image created on the Internet, returning its URL.
2. Create a new post
Access your WordPress site now. In the left side menu click on "Posts". On the right, some new information and the "Add New" button will be displayed. Click on "Add New" to start creating your new post.
3. Add title, content and image URL
I added the title "How to share a WordPress post and its featured image" and also the brief content "We are going to share this post on social networks...". But most importantly, I added the image URL in the second box "Featured image". Our image will be an external featured image, that is, it will not be saved in our media library. If your editor does not display the field for external featured images, you will need to install the Featured Image from URL (FIFU) plugin.
By clicking on the "Preview" button in the "Featured image" box, our image is displayed. The post is ready to be published, right? Perhaps. It is recommended to review the post one last time before publication, to make sure everything is correct. Because once published, the post will be able to be shared by anyone on the Internet and, even if you correct some information on your website, the correction will only take effect for posts shared later. Posts shared before the correction will remain forever wrong on social media.
5. Check the post
Post published successfully. It's on the Internet now. The next step is to share this post on social networks and you can do it via a share button or even by pasting the post link on your social network. However in both cases you will need social meta tags in your post. Meta tags exist so that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks know exactly what is the title of your post and what is the featured image (or video) among other information. For example, imagine that our website had a logo and also a commercial banner, several other images in the content, the author's photo, etc. How could the social network know what our featured image is? This is what meta tags are for.
6. Enable social meta tags
To enable the meta tag of our external featured image, we must access the settings of the Featured Image from URL plugin and then the "Social" tab. In "Social Tags" you will find two toggles. The first one will add the meta tag for the image, but also for the title and description of the post. If you do not want FIFU to add meta tags for title and description (you may be using some other plugin for this), also enable the second toggle.
7. Share the post link
Now that our post has the defined meta tags (they are internal attributes visible only in the source code of the website), we can share it on social networks, making sure that the social network will find all the information it needs, that is, title, description and image. In WordPress you will find several plugins capable of adding share buttons to your post, although it is not essential. In the example, I just copied the post link and pasted it on Twitter. As you can see, the tweet was constructed correctly.
A. Twitter Card Validator
The largest social networks have a system that validates the content being shared. So you can see what a new post would look like before its publication. Your site’s meta tags will be checked and if there’s a problem, you’ll be informed. In addition to verification, the validator can be used to clear the cache. Due to the social media cache, if a post on your site is shared and then you change the featured image on the site, the old image will continue to be used even if you share the post again. The only way to solve this problem is to clear the cache. For Twitter use the Card Validator.
B. Facebook Sharing Debugger
Similar to Twitter Card Validator we have the Facebook Sharing Debugger. It also serves to validate meta tags and clean the cache. It is important to say that if the image shown by Facebook Sharing Debugger is not the featured image of your post, it is very likely that you have some other component on your website (theme or plugin) by inserting image meta tags. Then you will need to configure these components correctly, because Facebook will always display as the featured image the first image meta tag found.