Google Web Stories are the new shiny object every blogger is talking about! Learn more about what they are, how to create them, plus tips and tricks to get you started.
I've been talking about Web Stories for nearly 2 years now, and I love them just as much now as I did back then.
They boosted my blog's pageviews through the roof and allowed me to qualify for a new ad network. Beyond that, I was able to reach a new audience and drive them to my blog posts.
Everything You Need To Know About Google Web Stories
In this episode, Jenna shares how to utilize Google Web Stories to drive traffic to your blog. She covers tips to help get you started and best practices to set you up for success!
You’ll learn what a Google Web Story is, where to find them, how to create them, plus strategies Jenna uses to make them as efficient and sustainable as possible.
- Create Web Stories using the free WordPress Plugin.
- Make stories for top, trending, and seasonal content.
- Include links to your blog posts.
- Track progress using a separate Google Analytics ID.
If you haven't already, check out my Blogger's Guide to Google Web Stories! It's a comprehensive step-by-step tutorial blog posts that walks you through everything you need to know.
Welcome to The Bloggerbytes Podcast. I'm your host, Jenna Urben. This is a podcast for bloggers, influencers, and content creators. Here I'll share transparent advice plus emerging tools and platforms to empower you to establish your brand, serve your audience, and monetize your influence. I'm so happy you're here.
In today’s episode we’re chatting all things Google Web Stories! I’m answering questions such as what are google web stories and where do you find them? What are the benefits of web stories for bloggers? How to create web stories quickly and easily. Plus best practices I’ve learned along the way that ultimately resulted in boosting my blog’s monthly sessions over 50,000, so I was able to apply and join the ad network, Mediavine. Now, I want to break down my strategy to hopefully encourage you to give web stories a shot!
As a reminder, if you’ve been enjoying these episodes I’d love to ask you to please leave a review. It takes just a couple seconds but makes a huge difference and means a ton to me personally!
Also, I just have to say, I’ve been loving having conversations about the episodes. So don’t hesitate to reach out and say hi or let me know if you have a question about a topic I covered!
Alright friends, google web stories. You either love them, hate them, or have never heard of them. There’s no in between or middle ground. Personally, I love web stories. No surprise there! But I can understand why some bloggers may not enjoy them or if you haven’t decided to look into them quite yet.
Let’s first answer what are google web stories and where do you find them? Google actually launched web stories back in 2018 and they were then known as AMP stories. In September 2020 however, the Web Stories for WordPress plugin was released. And that’s when they first started gaining the attention of some creators.
If you know me, then you’ll already know that around this time is when I dove in head first, as I do with new and emerging tools and platforms.
There wasn’t an abundance of information about them out there, but the Google for Creators team provided videos on YouTube and supplemental articles. That was good enough for me to get going, so I recommend checking out those YouTube videos before you get started!
Web stories are highly visual, fast loading, full screen tappable pages that tell a full story through images, video, and text. Think Instagram Story or Pinterest Idea Pin, but Web Stories are evergreen and live forever.
Speaking of, where do they live? When you install and activate the Web Stories by Google WordPress plugin, a landing page for all of your created stories will live there.
But the more valuable places web stories can show up are either on Google Discover or in Google Search Results! This is where you’ll see those exciting numbers and explosive traffic.
Before diving into how to create these immersive, bite-sized stories, I’d love to hit on the top 3 benefits for you to keep in mind about why you’re making them in the first place. So as I go over these, ask yourself if web stories make sense for you to add to your content creation checklist!
The first benefit of google web stories is the ability to reach a new, large audience. Like I mentioned, web stories can be shown on Google Discover and in Google Search Results. From there a user can tap on your web story then click through to your actual blog post!
That takes me right into the second benefit: Web stories can drive some serious traffic to your blog. You can and should include links throughout your stories with compelling call to actions to make the user actually tap that button.
It’s important to remember that google web stories are standalone pieces of content that tell a full story, they shouldn’t be teasers!
The third and final benefit is that you can actually monetize them. Yep, you can make money from your web stories! You can do this by linking affiliate links, partnering with a brand to create a sponsored story, or even enabling ads through Adsense, Mediavine, or AdThrive.
Are you interested in working with brands on sponsored content? There’s money to be made regardless of your niche or follower size. If you’re unsure where to start or need a new strategy, I’d love to introduce you to the ultimate guide to pitching brands. This guide is a comprehensive roadmap to help bloggers and influencers pitch and partner with brands. I’ve broken down each step of my pitching strategy so you feel confident when reaching out to brands. The guide includes where to find correct contact information, what to include in your media kit, how to set yourself apart from other creators, how to calculate competitive rates, influencer marketing terms defined, and tips to keep in mind before, during, and after a campaign. If you’re interested in learning more, tap the link in the show notes, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Ready to create some web stories? There are several tools you can use to make a google web story but today I’m focusing on the free web stories wordpress plugin!
You’ll want to go ahead and down the plugin, activate it, then navigate to the dashboard on your wordpress sidebar. From there, fill out the basic settings including your logo and google analytics tracking ID.
A quick note on google analytics for web stories, you definitely don’t want to skip this step! It’s important to track your web story insights separately from your blog’s analytics. In your main blog’s google analytics you will see direct traffic that comes from Google Discover, but having them broken into two separate properties keeps everything in order and easy to track.
To set up a separate property for web stories, head to google analytics, pop over to admin then property. Create a property, and you’ll want to click show advanced options then click create a universal analytics property.
From there, enter your web stories URL and create your property. Fill out your business info, then grab the UA number and paste it into the web stories settings.
If you have questions about getting that set up, there are a handful of articles from Google that go even deeper to provide additional insights!
So once all of that is setup, I encourage you to explore the pre-loaded templates they have available for you to use. You could also pull up Google Discover and see what’s currently trending and being shown. I’ve used a variety of different templates, so just choose one and get going!
When you open the web stories plugin for the first time and get into the editor, there’s a bunch of different options and buttons. Try not to get overwhelmed, I promise you’ll get a hang of it after a few tries!
To me, it looks a lot like Canva. With your media library loaded on one side and the slide you’re working on on the other.
You’ll want to build your web story right in the plugin, as all your media is already uploaded and there. If you don’t have a specific image or video, you also have access to third-party media!
If you’re just getting started, I suggest making a list of your top 10 best performing blog posts.
I’m a visual person and I know imagining something this visual can sometimes be hard to do, so I’d like to share the anatomy of my web stories for my food blog, The Urben Life.
For my food blog, I most often create web stories that are a step by step format to making a recipe. Page 1 is my title page with a big, eye-catching image along with the title of what the recipe is. Page 2 is typically an overview of the meal or a short blurb about the recipe. On page 3 I like to include reader feedback, when possible. Page 4, I’ll explain why you’ll love this recipe in a few short sentences. Page 5, I list the ingredients. Sometimes with the measurements, sometimes without. Remember it’s your web story, so it’s up to you! And you can also go back in and edit.
Also, as a quick note, if you notice your stories aren’t getting picked up in Discover, try tweaking your template or format.
Alright, page 6-9 are generally the recipe instruction steps. Then the final pages include a call to action to save the recipe for later or an author bio that encourages users to join my subscriber list for more recipes.
If you’re not in the food or recipe niche, I don’t want you to get discouraged! I’ve seen plenty of travel bloggers and beauty bloggers have success with these too.
Now as you’re creating stories, keep these best practices in mind! Keep web stories to a minimum of 8-10 slides. Include a link to encourage users to click through to your blog. If you don’t have video clips, don’t get discouraged! You can use images and even add animation to them to create some movement. Animations can be fun but too many are distracting, so be mindful of that. Make sure to use a large and legible font throughout! The plugin actually has a checklist of reminders including quick tips that will help guide you. Consider creating web stories for trending content you see online or on social media. And lastly, remember these stories should be a “user first” style of content. So give the users as much information as possible, while keeping text to a minimum and encouraging that click through.
One of the most common questions I receive about google web stories is how many should we be creating? The answer to that is ultimately up to you, based on how much time you want to invest into stories.
I can tell you that when I consistently post web stories, they all seem to perform better than if I post a one-off story every now and then. So to answer that question, it could be once a day or three times per week, but I really do believe that consistency is key.
In one of the recent plugin updates, you’re now able to schedule out web stories. This is a major win for us as creators, since we can batch create a handful at once and rather than push them all out at once, we can drip stories out once a day or at whichever frequency you determine.
I’m so enthusiastic about google web stories due in large part to the success I had with them! It took several months for me to find a rhythm with them and create content consistently, but once I identified that, it was like I found the missing piece to a puzzle.
I went from posting sporadically with no real strategy to dedicating about 30 minutes a day to identify seasonal or trending content and create a web story that linked back to that corresponding blog post.
I watched my web story grow from around 2,000 views to over 22,000 views in just one month. The following month, they saw a 71% increase. That alone is great but what’s most impactful is that those web story views converted to 15,000 website sessions and boosted me over 50,000 monthly sessions, which is what’s required to qualify for the ad network Mediavine.
I hope hearing my experience with web stories along with their benefits and best practices encourages you to give them a try or not give up on them if you’ve been at them for a while.
If you found value in this week’s episode, I would really appreciate you leaving me some feedback through ratings and reviews. And if you have any topics you’d like for me to cover, send me an email or DM on Instagram. I’d love to connect and chat with you!
If you’d like to learn more about google web stories, I’m leaving links to the show notes, my written blogger’s guide to google web stories blog post, and additional resources I’ve found valuable.
Thanks so much for joining me, Jenna Urben, in this episode of Bloggerbytes.