Web stories are visual mobile-first experiences, that offers bite-sized information in a format similar to social media stories. What is different from social media is that, unlike Instagram stories that are connected to a specific account, web stories float free on the open web in the form of a web page. When creating one, you’ll have an option to share it everywhere (ie. in an email, SMS, place it as a landing page…) while social media stories can only be seen inside their closed ecosystems.
Google published an article and a video that instructs on how easy it is to begin publishing Web Stories and monetizing a new channel for traffic. The video walks through the process of planning a web story to publishing it, from beginning to end.
The video claims it’s possible to create a web story in five minutes. But in my opinion it may take significantly more time.
Nevertheless, publishing web stories is within reach for most publishers and that’s the major takeaway from the video and blog post that Google published.
Why to create web stories?
Elements of a Web Story
To craft a story that will be worth placing in Google’s top results or sharing, you must satisfy Google standards and also create content that will provoke people’s interest.
To help you succeed in it, we’ve divided Web stories creation process into three major parts:
Take a look at each and follow best practices to get the maximum out of your visual experiences on the web.
- Keep web story 6-10 slides length
- Keep text on each slide under 200 characters
- Place the most important content in the center
- Headings should be bold
- Place images and videos in full screen as a background
- Avoid the same slide design twice in a row
- Place text as a separate element, not part of the image
- Avoid placing elements near the edges
- Add animation effects to make it more interesting
- Use quizzes and polls to enforce communication
People are lacking patience for long-form articles and want snackable information that except storytelling, provide a visual and also an interactive experience. Extensive blog posts are hard and expensive to produce, and the market is saturated with too much content of that kind.
Besides, Web Stories are positioned at the top of the search result page in Google, under the section called “Visual stories”. Inside the official Google Chrome app, you can now find a dedicated section for web stories.
Yes, they are the new go-to type of content for boosting organic traffic and perfect SEO score.
Click to check out some of the amazing Web stories examples
How to Create Web Stories
There are s five steps for creating web stories
- Step 1. Choose a visual editor
- Step 2. Draft the story
- Step 3. Find the visual assets
- Step 4. Create the Web Story
- Step 5. Publish the Web Story
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Step 1: Choosing a Visual Editor
A web story consists of panels that are like pages that a user swipes one to the next. Each panel contains short text, images and even video.
A visual editor is the software, plugin or online services that helps a publisher create the web stories. The editor contains a graphic user interface that allows the publisher to design each panel of the web story.
Publishers using WordPress may opt to use the official Web Stories WordPress plugin.
Google has a list of other Web Stories tools that help publishers create webs stories.
Screenshot of Engaging Visual Effects in Web Stories
Step 2. Draft the Story
Google recommends creating an outline showing what will be in each panel of the web story. Google’s recommendation is to create a narrative.
A narrative is like a story. A story has a beginning, middle, and end (often a resolution) and maybe even an epilogue to give a summary to wrap up the narrative. The point is that the best web stories are crafted like a story with a beginning and an end.
Google offers a very simple PDF template to help with crafting your narrative that is called, Web Story – Script Template (PDF)
3. Find the Visual Assets
The next step involves gathering images and videos that will be used within the web story. Important to note that the web stories format is vertical, like the screen on a mobile phone. This vertical format extends to the videos which themselves must be vertically formatted.
Screenshot of Web Stories Visual Editor and Visual Assets
4. Create the Web Story
Google recommends using pre-made templates that are provided by the visual editors. Once a publisher’s gained experience they can branch out and create their own unique templates to incorporate any kind of website branding or unique visual identity.
5. Publish the Web Story
Once you’re satisfied with the web story it’s time to publish. Regardless of tool or plugin, according to Google it’s as easy as clicking the publishing button.
According to Paul Bakaus in the accompanying video:
“Now, the story is in the wild and can be linked to and indexed by search engines just like a regular web page.”
Web Stories – A New Channel for Traffic
Web stories are an opportunity for gaining a foothold on a new source of traffic that quite likely competitors may not be aware of.
I like first mover advantage because all the benefits are up for grabs without competition. Whether a site is about personal injury, web design tips or hardware products, there are opportunities for building awareness and promoting your site with this new format.