Posted by: Will Strohl
1/6/2012 11:22 PM
Many of you are not even aware that the Open Graph Protocol even exists. However, it has been the backbone of inter-connected websites ever since social sharing of content and web pages has existed. This is the standard that Facebook, Google+, and others have adopted to properly connect, share, and display content from site to site when a visitor decides to share it. Of course, like any other standard, every site varies on how well they adopt this particular standard.
Why Open Graph?
If you take the initiative to be in control of this standard on your own website, you can not only have a deeper insight and control over where and how visitors share your content, but you can make it look better on those other sites as well! You can define what and how your shared content appears on various social sites, such as the thumbnail image, link title, and description. Marketers and branding specialist, take note!
What happens if you don’t define your Open Graph Protocol tags? Some might think nothing. In fact, that cannot be further from the truth. Each site will first ping your site to see which tags exist and use that information to the best of its ability. If your site is missing these tags, the site that your content is shared to will take whatever content it can find and try to put together the information itself.
Notice how this shared content does nothing to catch the eye. There wasn’t any engagement with this content over the past 24 hours. Imagine yourself seeing that content on your social network page, listed with literally a long list of much more engaging content that was shared. They could all have thumbnails, images, videos, and more.
Unfortunately, the only site that does a decent job of figuring out how to display your content on its own is Facebook. Notice how the post below have all of the information you want. Even though the previous example had been out there for weeks, this post that was there for little more than half an hour already had been noticed by someone. It created engagement with the content that was shared.
That is, IF your site and content are well-thought out and put together. Let’s be honest. Most sites out there do not fit into this category – especially if you have more than one content contributor.
Wouldn’t it be better if YOU could control how this worked from your site in an easy to manage way? Wouldn’t it be great to see and manage how the Open Graph Protocol is impacting your brand on a site like Facebook?
Jess Coburn, CEO at Applied Innovations, does an incredibly great job of identifying to you the power of Open Graph Protocol, so I will let you read his post on this for the rest of the details. Go ahead and read it real quick. This post isn’t going anywhere.
That was an excellent post, right?
Open Graph Protocol Module for DotNetNuke
This announcement is coming to you very late. I had originally created and released this module with the intention of giving this to the DotNetNuke community as a New Year’s Eve present. I even kind of soft launched it with a twitter announcement. Thank goodness I did, because Robb Bryn did me such a huge favor by thoroughly putting it through its paces in and out of a production site – over, and over again.
The world-famous 2011 DotNetNuke SUPER Fan, Jonathan Sheely, also did some beta testing for me. His feedback was critical to have the best performance and security that is in this release. His spot-on analysis also nailed some critical bugs before anyone saw them!
The final issue that kept this module from being able to be released was finally solved by Mitchel Sellers. (Thanks for joining me on GTM at such short notice!) It’s always amusing (in a frustrating way) when an undocumented but very simple fix can be applied to such a huge problem. He literally took about 5 minutes – if that – to see and suggest the fix that is applied in this release.
Huge thanks to all of these guys. Without their testing, suggestions, and ongoing feedback, and bug fixes, this module wouldn’t be anywhere near as great as I think it is today.
I ended up spending about three times as much time building version 01.01.00 of this module than on both of the previous releases put together – a process that included a complete rewrite of most of the module – so these guys were instrumental in helping to iron out the kinks that resulted.
This process took 3 releases total to get to a point where I was comfortable announcing that this module exists to the world. Now is the time that I am very pleased to announce to you the existence of the Open Graph Protocol Module for DotNetNuke!
What Does it Do For You?
The Open Graph Protocol Module allows you to define on a page by page basis the most common Open Graph Protocol attributes, including your Facebook Application Id and Admin Id’s. It will take those values, and literally inject them into the HTML of your DotNetNuke web pages for you.
You don’t need to know a single thing about HTML to use it.
Those of you that actively manage your page titles and descriptions in DNN will be happy to know that you don’t have to duplicate your work with this module. The default setting is to re-use that information.
This module not only aims at being incredibly easy to use, but also tries to help you save time. It knows that some values should be site-wide and it remembers that across your entire site.
It also doesn’t dictate to you how deeply you choose to adopt the protocol. That’s up to you. It will, however, give you a couple of suggestions if you miss information that may be useful.
Why not try it out? It’s open sourced and freely available to you in the DNN Forge, like the rest of my modules. :)
Download the Open Graph Module now!
This blog entry is cross-posted from my personal blog site.