best practices + transparent advice for content creators

Blogger’s Guide to Google Web Stories

Learn how to increase organic traffic to your blog by creating viral Google Web Stories! This tutorial will explain Web Story best practices, how to make your own, and incorporate them into content creation checklist.

Google launched Web Stories (then known as AMP Stories) in 2018. In September 2020, the Web Stories for WordPress plugin was released.

I was lucky enough to play around with the plugin around this time and receive feedback from the team! Y’all know me, I love to dive in head first to new and promising platforms.

Over the past several months, I’ve kept up with the resources the Web Creators team has put out, created my own Web Story templates, and incorporated them into my blog strategy.

Now I want to share everything I’ve learned about Web Stories. so you can explode your blog page views and increase site traffic too!

What are Google Web Stories?

Web Stories are fast-loading full-screen tappable pages. Check out my latest web stories here!

They tell a full story through video, images, animation, and text.

A Google Web Story differs from an Instagram Story or Snapchat because it can be shared and embedded anywhere! It also doesn’t disappear after a certain time duration.

Web Stories are evergreen and live forever!

Benefits of Web Stories for Bloggers

In the last few years, stories have become very popular across almost all social media platforms. Why? Because they are short, immersive, and snackable.

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider adding Google Web Stories to your blog:

  • Reach a new audience

Popular Web Stories can be found on Google Discover in a carousel or in Google Search results.

  • Create valuable engaging content

Publish trending blog posts in a new format and create supplemental resources to link to for additional context. Web Stories are standalone pieces of content that tell a full story.

  • Link to blog posts

On Instagram, you’re required to have a minimum of 10K followers to have access to the swipe up feature. Everyone has access to include links when creating Google Web Stories!

  • Monetize

Yes, you read that correctly! You can make money from your Web Stories with Adsense, partnering with a brand to create a sponsored story, or including affiliate links.

Alright, y’all ready to make Web Stories for your blog? Let’s do it!

How to Create a Web Story

There are several tools you can use to make a web story. You can use a 3rd party tool like News Room AI or MakeStories, install the WordPress Plugin, publish on Jumprope, or even develop your own!

In this blog post, I’m going to break down the best practices for creating Web Stories by using the free Google Web Stories WordPress plugin.

Web Stories for WordPress

Step 1: Download the Google Stories plugin

Activate the free plugin and navigate to the dashboard on your wordpress sidebar.

Step 2: Fill out Settings information

Navigate to Web Story Settings and input your Google Analytics ID, logo, and monetization options.

Step 3: Explore templates

There are currently 8 preloaded templates, ready for you to edit and optimize! You can also create your own templates from scratch. Once you have a template you love, simply duplicate it and open the editor to keep creating!

Step 4: Create your first Web Story

Keep scrolling for the step-by-step tutorial…

Step 5: Publish and promote

Once you click publish, share your Web Story!

WordPress Web Story Plugin Tutorial

So you’re ready to start writing web stories for your blog. Here’s are the basics!

Storyboard

Before you start, it’s a good idea to plan out what type of Web Stories you want to build. Keep these best practices in mind:

  • Make Web Stories that are 8-10 pages long!
  • Compile a list of your top 10 best performing blog posts. Start making Web Stories from those or to compliment that content.
  • Make your Web Stories simple and easy to follow. Animations can be fun but too many are distracting.
  • Use a clear, large, and legible font throughout.
  • Incorporate your brand colors where it makes sense.

Create a New Story

Login to your WordPress website and open the plugin. Click “add new story” and let’s do this!

Fill out key SEO Data & Document Preferences

I like filling out the key info under the Document tab on the right-hand side of the browser first.

For example, add your poster image, ensure your publisher logo is correct, fill out a 200 character story description, give your story a title, and check the permalink.

Types of Content

Whether you’re using a premade template or starting from scratch, there are 4 main types of content to insert into your Web Story.

    • WordPress Media: These are the images and videos you have uploaded to your WP media library.
    • Third-Party Media: This enables you to pull images, videos, and GIFs from Unsplash, Coverr, and Tenor.
    • Text: Add titles, paragraphs, captions, and more to your story slides.
    • Shapes: You can choose from a variety of different shapes to make your story interesting.

Tip: If you’re a food blogger, chances are you have a ton of process photos from blog posts. When starting out, identify those posts, especially if they’re already popular among your audience.

Add Photos or Videos

Using images from your media library or a 3rd party source, begin creating your story by dragging and dropping photos or videos into each story slide.

Remember, these stories should be a “user first” style of content. Give the users as much information as possible, while keeping text to a minimum.

Add Text

Highlight the headlines and give context to the background image or video.

You want to provide enough valuable information, while still encouraging a click through.

Include a Page Attachment

If you’re showing how to create a recipe, this is an excellent way to drive traffic back to a recipe blog post.

Not every page will require a link, but this is where you have to option to add your swipe up link!

3 SEO Tips

1. Avoid “Burned-In” Text

You know those beautiful Pinterest pins you created with a photo or two plus some text? Those saved pin images now have burned in text, meaning the text is part of the actual image or video. It’s best to add text or captions as a new layer!

2. Add Metadata

In addition to the metadata you add to in the document tab, be mindful of adding assistive text under the accessibility drop-down for each image and video.

3. Optimize your Media

Use optimized images and crop to only the visible portion of your photo.

For videos, trim to the exact length you need! Try to keep video files under 4MB and under 10 seconds long.

Tips for Making the Best Web Stories

  • Just dive in and start experimenting! Your first Web Story doesn’t have to be perfect. You’ll learn a lot as you create them and can tweak as you go. You can also go back and edit previously posted stories.
  • Ensure you’re following Web Story best practices throughout!
  • Follow the latest accessibility practices, such as adding video captions and alt text for images.
  • End stories will a final card that includes a strong call to action. Link out to external content, such as a blog post, video, other story, etc.
  • Submit your Web Story XML sitemap to Google
  • Run an AMP Test to ensure your Web Story is valid.

Google Web Stories Examples

If you’re a blogger, influencer, or content creator, I highly recommend checking out these highly interactive stories on google!

I hope this guide was helpful and you’re inspired to create your own web stories. Below are a few of my popular story posts from my food blog:

Thought-Starters for Stories

Have fun and let me know once you hit publish on your first web story!

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