Many businesses, music artists, television shows, celebrities and even creative types now have Facebook fan pages. The problem? Not many of them are customized and look like any other Facebook profile. It’s time to stand apart from the crowd and make your Facebook fan page look like a big deal. People think that customizing a fan page is really difficult. Some poor saps are even willing to fork over hundreds of well-earned dollars to companies who will customize your page for you. Well, save your money and do it yourself! Yes, customizing your Facebook fan page is no harder than creating a simple HTML page and in fact, I’m going to make it even easier for you by leading you through the process. So are you ready to pimp out your Facebook Fan page? Let’s get started.
What You’ll Need:
1. A Facebook Fan Page (Different from a basic profile, but still free)
2. Elementary HTML knowledge
3. Photo Editing/Creating Program (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc.)
What we’re going to set out to do is create a new landing splash page. This simple addition to your fan page will easily set it apart from all the other simple fan pages out there. To begin, you’ll want to create an image that’s no larger than 520 pixels wide. How long it is really isn’t important but remember the old school rule of thumb of web design: 800 x 600. You’ll want to keep the height of the image somewhat short – you don’t want those users still using small monitors to have to scroll forever to view all of the image and content. Get creative with your image – it’s going to serve as the “cover” to your page. If you’re a media personality, go ahead and put up your best head shot, modeling photo, contact info, etc. If your page is for a business, put up an image of your product or basically create a miniaturized ad that’ll sell your product and image. This is going to be the first image someone will see when coming to your page on Facebook so make that first impression count.
Setting up FBML
Now that you’ve gotten your image that’s no wider than 520 pixels created, it’s time to get technical. Go to Facebook and in the search bar input “Static FBML” or just click here. Once you’ve located it, click “Add to My Page” underneath the (usually) missing profile image at the top of the page. A box will come up and you should see your fan page come up. Click the “Add to Page” box next to the fan page you want to customize.
Creating a New Welcome/Landing Page Using FBML
Remember that image (no wider than 520 pixels) you created earlier? Have up on your website or on a photo sharing/hosting service (I use PhotoBucket but you can use whatever strikes your fancy). Now, venture over to your actual fan page on Facebook and click the “Edit Page” tab underneath your profile picture.
This will take you to your page’s settings. Scroll down until you locate the FBML application. Click on “edit” within this box.
Clicking on “edit” will bring up a new box with two input areas: one will be “Box Title” and the other will be “FBML”.
“Box Title” is the name you want for your this new tab you will be adding to your fan page. I recommend keeping it short and simple such as “Welcome” or maybe the name of your business/product. “FBML” is where the HTML codes will come in. If you have a website, you’ll probably want to link your image to your site so people can easily navigate from your Facebook fan page to your actual website (this is just good marketing practice). In the “FBML” box input the following code:
Code explained: The “a href” address is your website’s address (if you have one). This is the address that if the Facebook user clicks on the image you will want them directed to. The “img src” address is the location of the host of your photo. If you’re hosting the photo on your own site, it’ll be your website’s address. If you’re hosting it elsewhere such as on PhotoBucket, it’ll be that address. You should also include this exact code because it will automatically size your image to fit the space. If you don’t specify your image’s size it could come out looking too large. This code will take care of that issue for you. Your image needs to be 520 in width but the height will vary; input whatever your image’s height is and be sure to name your photo after the “alt” tag at the end – that’s just standard and good Web design practice.
If you aren’t linking your image to another site and just want a plain, static image, use this code in the “FBML” box:
<img src=”http://www.photohostingsite.com/yourimage.jpg” width=”520″ height=”X” border=”0″ alt=”Image Title” />
Once you’ve put in the necessary HTML codes and have made the needed changes to it, click “save changes”.
Final Touches and the Big Reveal
Believe it or not, the hard work is really over. You should have saved your changes to the FBML edits in the last step if not, click “save changes” now. When ready, navigate back to your fan page and look amongst the tabs at the top. You should see that you now have a new tab and it should be named whatever you entered into “Box Title” in the last step. The next step is to make this new tab the first thing visitors to your page see. Why? Otherwise, they will automatically land on your fan page’s wall and your work to customize and create an exciting, beautiful new welcome and splash page would have been wasted.
Go back and click on “Edit Page” again (the tab right under the profile image. Scroll down to “Wall Settings”. In this section you will see “View Settings” and in those options you’ll see “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else.” Click on that and in the pull down menu, choose the new welcome/splash page you just created. Click save and from here on, new visitors to your Facebook page will see the creative new page you’ve just created. In just a few minutes, you’ve set your fan page apart from many others on the crowded Facebook block.
Don’t Stop There …
This little FBML app allows you to do so much more than just create a snazzy landing page. Do you blog or have a newsletter? Get more subscribers by creating a new FBML tab/page and imputing the right HTML to create an easy “subscribe” tab right on your Facebook fan page. Do you sell things? FBML will allow you to sell your product via your Facebook fan page. Are you a Flash designer or want to add more dynamic content to your Facebook fan page so that it really looks professionally done and stands out? FBML and HTML will allow your page to support Flash files. Really, the list is endless and here are just a few sources of inspiration for you to look into: