This week on WPwatercooler we’re discussing the ways in which Google is really wanting you to add Stories to your WordPress website using Web Stories.
- Web Stories – WordPress plugin | WordPress.org
- Google Web Storie Showcase
- Using the Web Stories for WordPress Plugin? You Better Play By Google’s Rules – WordPress Tavern
- AMP Stories Builder, Tools & Editor-MakeStories
- Jumprope-Create helpful how to’s
Jason Tucker @jasontucker
Steve Zehngut @zengy
Sé Reed @sereedmedia
Jason Cosper @jasoncosper
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Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of episodes are created with a mix of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain some grammatical errors or slight deviations from the audio.
Jason Tucker 0:09
This is episode number 374 of water cooler Google’s push to add stories to your WordPress website. Brought to you by ServerPress. makers of DesktopServer. They make local WordPress development easy. Check them out at ServerPress.com.
Hey, how’s it going everyone?
Sé Reed 0:30
I get to say my name again.
Jason Tucker 0:32
You, you could say your name…?
Sé Reed 0:35
because I really miss WordPress I enjoy saying that it gives me pleasure.
Jason Tucker 0:41
You’re always allowed to
Sé Reed 0:44
Steve Zehngut 0:45
Why don’t you? Why don’t you just talk about yourself in the third person the whole show?
Sé Reed 0:50
Say thanks for improv challenges.
Steve Zehngut 0:57
I Like it isn’t annoying at all.
Jason Tucker 1:01
No, not at all.
Sé Reed 1:03
Say it’s totally meant to be able to keep this up.
Steve Zehngut 1:06
Oh, boy. Oh,
Sé Reed 1:07
yeah. What did you do?
What did Steve do? Because what did you do is third person. So what did Steve do? What did I do? Oh, no, this is terrible. Sorry, everyone.
Jason Tucker 1:21
Oh, my goodness. Today,
Steve Zehngut 1:22
do we have a topic?
Jason Tucker 1:24
Yeah. So today, we’re gonna be talking about web stories.
Sé Reed 1:27
Like you’re gonna view like, do you tell your story from our first person? See, that was planned? You didn’t even know? Well,
Jason Tucker 1:36
I think I think this is a pretty good, I think it was pretty good topic. Because, you know, Cosper was saying this in the pre show. But the the idea that like every single social media network, has somehow put in stories, including LinkedIn, like, everyone now has a way of putting in a story. I mean, Steve, you’ve been updating your LinkedIn?
Steve Zehngut 1:58
once a year,
Jason Tucker 2:00
once a year, right, with the annual blog post, just add them all together?
Steve Zehngut 2:04
Yeah, I think stories are stupid. But anyway, people like,
Sé Reed 2:07
well, I love Instagram stories. But I have a lot to say on all of these things. Lots. So let’s talk about what we’re talking about. Okay. So basically, Google has recently, the past month or so or something, launched a plug two months, whatever, launched a plugin called Google Web stories for WordPress. And it essentially allows you to post stories which by the way, that’s not copyrighted is what the big like, so it’s stories no matter what platform you’re on, because I guess stories is too universal, the concept known as able to copyright it, you know, right. Clicking and favoriting and all those things, no one tried to differentiate, they’re all it’s just stories. It’s what everyone’s calling it.
Steve Zehngut 2:54
Essentially, it’s your your own self hosted Instagram.
Sé Reed 2:59
Which is great. Um, in general, I think that’s awesome. Because anything that gets us a little bit away from the Zuck is a great plan. And I have a lot of thoughts about how this translates to the platform. Yeah, you can see it happening there. Here’s the thing about Instagram stories, it’s really easy. And it’s super fun. And this looks, it looks more like Canva across between, like Canva and Photoshop, which, you know, not terrible, but it’s not fun, and simple and easy. And you’re not just like, you know, not nearly
Jason Tucker 3:37
so to say,
Sé Reed 3:38
I wanted about this, and you know, like, it’s, it’s it looks like a lot of work, like it’s, it’s great. And you could do the graphics and whatever. And so that’s cool. I’ve actually wished there was something like this for so long. But it’s like, not the whole the whole thing about stories, which I think all of the developers Miss. And I think this is the key problem is they probably don’t use them. They’re just like, look at people are using these, let’s make more of them. But the whole point that they’re missing is it’s so easy to use, and it’s fun. And you can just go for rip, you know, finger. No, know it’s boring. And you have to like, you know, it’s not as much fun people want to use their fingers.
Jason Tucker 4:19
And it’s like, like, is there is there like, SEO merit to this like is someone going to be able to go and find this and when they do that they go to your website. Now it looks like something totally different than your normal website.
Sé Reed 4:35
This is actually something that Morton ran. Hendrickson has been kind of ranting about for some time in terms of like, how all of the text of the internet including like tweets, or Facebook posts or web blog posts are getting basically image defied kind of like those email that those people got on that thing that I feel like I’m just spreading, but I just they’re bad. Oh, Nora Point is, the images, the texts are being taking something off of the web, which is in indexable. And putting it into a format that is not indexable because it’s an image. So this is the main problem.
Jason Cosper 5:16
Yeah, well, fortunately that I mean, you are actually making indexable content. This is a effectively putting a fresh coat of paint on Google amp. And as we all know, default Google amp stories are kind of Loki ugly.
Sé Reed 5:37
But so you can index x that you put on there like Google, like, because it’s Google, they’re basically keeping that text indexable.
Jason Cosper 5:44
Yes. indexable. Jason, if you can try it and select it. I mean, see it
Jason Tucker 5:51
right here. And it kept sliding. So it doesn’t let me know. The real collectible, collectible text. Yeah, Rachel’s collectible tags.
Jason Cosper 6:00
So but like, if you’ve used
Sé Reed 6:02
Snapchat difference, it’s a huge difference.
Jason Cosper 6:05
Right? If you use Snapchat, if you browse down, like when you’re looking at your friends stories, they also have like, stories from content partners, like so you can see what vice has to say about the last presidential debate or whatever. But they all look like this that Jason’s showing off right now. They all kind of have this, you know, video or slow zoom picture background with a little bit of text over it. It looks interesting, however. I mean, it’s like I said, it’s just pretty app. And as Jason’s scrolling through this example story, it reminds me of those. I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I find this personally annoying, those slideshow stories where it’s like, the top 10 this or whatever, and you have to click through on
Steve Zehngut 7:06
Jason Cosper 7:07
yeah, yeah, this is,
Sé Reed 7:10
I love the the story format, that’s really been, I would like to say that it’s been expanding, but like, I feel like everyone wants it to expand, but it’s like, just this niche. And I don’t mean stories like this, you know, particular format. I mean, this, you know, telling stories, like I’ve seen some really beautifully done, web articles done with CSS, you know, in in a beautiful scrolling format that changes you, you know, go along, and really well done. But honestly, I think it’s just the cost of producing that, because of the time that it takes to produce it makes that prohibitive, especially for you know, your average person, certainly not the cat blog, this kind of brings that capability into a more accessible format. And I’m all for making amp prettier, and the web prettier. And, you know, people are, you know, even websites, they’re, you know, they look dated a lot of the time compared to stories or something that’s much more fluid. So, I mean, I, I like half love this and half hate it. I love it, because I love the direction that’s going in. I hate it because it’s clunky. And the whole point is that stories isn’t clunky.
Jason Tucker 8:25
It’s awkward when you’re doing this on me, I’m on a computer doing this. It’s writing for awkward doing this on a computer, because it’s like the whole page loads up. I don’t know if you guys have been on Facebook recently, but like Facebook’s interfaces, like if you’re on a 4k monitor, which is what I’m on. And then the thing is like this big in the middle, yes. Well, on the phone, I can see this. But I could also see using stories if you needed to, to have the story actually show up. In a like, if you’re on a phone or a mobile device, like you’re on an iPhone, or if you’re on a phone or if you’re on a tablet, having that content, maybe show up as like a web view in your app or something like that. I could see where maybe this might be a way of being able to pull in the story idea into your, into your own something that you own, but it just just seems like a funky way of doing it if you’re if you’re just on a website, like if I went and clicked on you know, clicked on some ad or clicked on some link or something. And I ended up on something like what you’re showing right now. I just go like why what is this? Like? Am I looking at slideshows now like I thought this was a website? What what what the heck’s happening here? I don’t understand it.
Sé Reed 9:42
Yeah, I think this is also this is the WordPress interface that it takes over. So it’s like, it’s really interesting because this is like half WordPress interface you’ve got over here, you’ve still got all your little buttons, but then it like totally takes over the admin. It still has the little like a nod to kind of over here to the WordPress editor, the current WordPress editor, but like, Oh, what a drag all this is right? Like, I don’t really want all this stuff. I just want to click some buttons like that’s the beauty of Instagram at least on this though you can I guess you can your equivalent of swipe up is included for everybody.
Steve Zehngut 10:16
It’s designed tools. It’s like It’s like if you’re using Elementor. Beaver Builder, yeah or Canva. But you’ve got a platform within a platform.
Sé Reed 10:24
Yeah, I it, it is, Oh, I didn’t kick him out. Right. Okay, good. It’s, it’s a it’s, it’s like, that’s the point, right? So you can do it. And I obviously this is like the first iteration. So we just have to be patient to wait to the next as this gets more developed. But really, the beauty of Instagram Stories is that, you know, you just click a couple different types of text, right? You’re not sitting there and be like, which Google Font do you want? Like, there’s something to be said, for having too many choices. Like, you know, like, you’re like, do you want the neon script? Do you want the plain script? You want the typewriter script? Just, you know what I mean? Like,
Steve Zehngut 11:03
ultimately, where they should get is, is to have themes, right? So So
editor, I’m not talking about WordPress themes, I’m just talking about styles, right? So if a designer should go in and say, You know what, these fonts kind of go together. And these colors go together. It’s schemes right? Or skins skins is the rate is what I’m looking for.
Sé Reed 11:25
Because basically rebuilding WordPress editor using this, they’re just gonna put, why wouldn’t you put all your content into this,
Steve Zehngut 11:32
but if you give people this many design choices, they’re going to make a design mistake.
Sé Reed 11:37
Well, let’s be clear. There are plenty of design mistakes on Instagram stories, but there’s also creative fun uses of it. I haven’t found the gift
Steve Zehngut 11:46
yet. Or called to get it. But you know, if there’s design mistakes, which just don’t look good, there’s also design mistakes, which cause Ada issues.
Sé Reed 11:56
Well, that’s a whole other scenario, but I don’t think, at least to my current, my current limited exploration of this is I don’t see gifts, and let’s be real, the gifts are like the whole entire point of mostly everything. So, you know, I don’t know how they’re gonna, maybe it’s a plugin for the plugin, and you can add a giffy. Like that. I don’t know. But that’s it’s a big part of it. This is, it’s, you know, honestly, this is the same thing as even like, tick tock, right. So you at some point, are we going to just be able to record snippets of video into there, like, and then it’s like, we’re just taking all the social media tools and putting them on a website, which, that’s also great.
Jason Cosper 12:41
Yeah, I mean, it’s from owning your content standpoint. If that’s wonderful, right. I, I hate I hate having to. I mean, I don’t have to. But the fact that it seems like really our only choice right now is to stick our stuff in the Facebook silo in the Instagram silo in the LinkedIn silo.
Jason Tucker 13:03
Sé Reed 13:05
It’s, it’s, uh, you definitely too much. I just want to stick any of my things into my portfolio anymore. You know what I mean? Like, that’s, I’m done. And I do because we don’t have much of a better choice. But here comes an interesting question, right? A lot of the big point of, of Instagram is you’re sharing your stories with your followers, and there’s that instant comments. I’m assuming these don’t disappear after 24 hours. But are we going to go back to the time in the web, where there were all of those like network rings, like at the bottom of the website? Yeah, the web rings where you’d put like a footer at the bottom and you belong to like, the ring of fire or whatever. like you’d like click through and you’d be like going to other people’s websites, which was like, you know, the original weird
Jason Cosper 13:54
network surfing. I’m Miss Webb rings I totally Miss Webroot. It was a fun thing man. And now I just look at the same handful of sites that I look at like all day long and I mean honestly I’d like to have a way to have some some kind of weird introduced into my day
Sé Reed 14:18
Yeah, I am what would there was a there was a an app or a service that was kind of a was I can’t remember what it’s called because it killed itself I’m sad slippery a bit it was like a thing that would like show you different stuff and you just go through a random pages no one knows what I’m talking about. I will probably remember this like in about an hour but
Jason Cosper 14:43
it’s it was stumbled upon
Sé Reed 14:44
stumble upon. I knew it started with an S. Yeah, stumble upon was kind of like wet, rainy, and you know, so you’d like go through, but then it was just serving up random content. from page to page. I actually really enjoyed that random Goodness. But anyway,
Jason Tucker 15:05
one of the things I’m worried about is the fact that like, this has been done. But this is done by Google. And a lot of Google’s rules and restrictions are in play to this. And
Sé Reed 15:15
it’s in the plugin repository. So it’s open source. It’s made by Google. It’s controlled by Google.
Jason Cosper 15:23
And it appears in Google searches in particular way until they decide why Google Plus or like, I rest in peace, Google Reader, rest in power.
Jason Tucker 15:35
Oh, my gosh,
Jason Cosper 15:36
Google. Yeah. That was a good one. also decide that they don’t want to support it anymore. All right.
Sé Reed 15:44
Sweet. Did we just know and you just like, skip on by G Suite dying and turning into Google workspace? Sorry.
Jason Tucker 15:51
The whole like, the whole idea of like copyrighted content and these like, very vague things like lack of narrative
Unknown Speaker 15:59
Unknown Speaker 16:01
what does that even look like? I don’t
Sé Reed 16:03
Jason Tucker 16:05
overlay. You know, like I was telling you, I work at a church. And we put out a lot of a lot of music content, and we play our own songs, like live on YouTube. And we sometimes get copyright strikes, because our own music is copy written. But it’s also something that we’re playing ourselves. And maybe there’s like a backing track, that’s a consistent thing, or something. And he picks it up and goes like this is, you know, a copyrighted material. It’s like, yeah, we own it.
Sé Reed 16:32
Jason Tucker 16:33
I can see where the the john Lennon’s of this era could essentially have the same problem where they’re trying to put out their content, or if the movie or something like there’s just there’s a whole bunch of issues that could
Sé Reed 16:46
it seems like Google is trying to get again. Oh, brother, it seems that Google is yet again, trying to get into the social media space, like it kind of did, you know, dipped with the Google, Google Plus. But instead of making it its own social thing, it is actually instead just putting those on websites, because that’s Google’s bread and butter, right? indexable websites, web stuff, like that’s where Google’s is. So it’s basically cutting into or maybe it’s hoping strategically to cut into the social media pie and bring stuff back to the web, which again, I agree with on a generic, like, philosophical level, but I have suspicions about their intentions and how that’s gonna work out. Also, I’m really upset about overly commercial, does that mean small businesses can’t use this? Like, you can’t put like, why would that be? Why I don’t understand how that’s even something that you can regulate, or,
Jason Cosper 17:51
well, they can use it, it just won’t show up in Google search results. So at that point, by even bother,
Sé Reed 17:59
yeah, what are you even doing then? I guess it’s just if someone comes to the website, they’ll click on it. But then you’re not using it for attracting anyone to your site just once they go there.
Jason Tucker 18:10
So in our, in our private chat Cosper brought this one up. What have you looked at with this? Cosper?
Jason Cosper 18:17
Oh, yeah, no, I think it’s interesting that the official Google plugin actually has competition from third party, make stories as basically made a way to, I mean, sense. amp and web stories are open, they have made a way for folks to, to actually, you know, not have to use the Google tools. And it’s, it’s an alternate interface. So it’s basically like saying, you know, instead of using Gutenberg, I’m going to use Beaver Builder, or Divi or whatever, these these are all, you know, different ways of doing the same thing. I just think that it’s interesting enough that people think, Oh, look, say did you see in the video there? Yeah,
Sé Reed 19:14
I guess I was like, Oh, they when they’ve got gifts. I hate these interfaces, though. This is I’m still upset about it, like they’re missing them. And because it’s not like the thing about Instagram Stories is it’s not the entire platform, right? So the devs were there don’t spend their entire time trying to like, throw stuff into it. But for both this and for the Google plugin, it’s like the whole thing, right? So all the devs are like let’s cram every feature that we possibly can into it. And again, it’s that complexity that takes the fun away from it. Now you’re just having to work at another format and put your content in yet another format. Also fun question does if you make web stories can you use the new WordPress to Twitter roles To break up your web stories, of course, multiple Twitter posts, this is why
Jason Tucker 20:06
none of these things ever work together. That’s why that’s why you get it.
Sé Reed 20:11
And put it in your Instagram, your web story or your web story. Can you put your web story on Instagram? And you put your story? Say, this, like the why I feel like we’re in some like, weird like,
Jason Tucker 20:27
well, over over on our other. Our other show that we do, which is a smart Marketing Show, we did earlier, we were talking about accessibility. And one of the things that we brought up was accessibility within stories, and how it using using like Instagram to make a story or using Facebook to make a story, the text that’s actually on that stuff is no longer accessible. Where if you were to use this, it definitely wouldn’t be accessible.
Sé Reed 20:53
I mean, a lot of the problem with the accessibility of Instagram is people just design have no idea about that. Like, my mom is always complaining about that, because I can’t read what
Steve Zehngut 21:05
we lose, say.
Jason Cosper 21:07
And now we can’t hear what she’s saying. Because her connection, let’s finish.
Steve Zehngut 21:10
Let’s finish her sentence for her. I can’t remember what you posted. So could you change the color contrast? I’m sorry,
Jason Cosper 21:19
I can’t read we posted
Steve Zehngut 21:23
a terrible same pressure this time.
Jason Cosper 21:29
So I do think it’s interesting. With the make stories plugin, unlike being locked in to just doing this, specifically through Google app, it will let you do a an actual export. And you can publish via FTP. So you don’t even need to integrate into WordPress or amp, you can actually own this content yourself. So if at some point, Google decides to kill web stories, and you’re like, well, what am I going to do with all this work? At the very least you have an actual backed up export an archival copy that you can do something with, I feel I automatically feel bad for Jason Scott and the folks over at the Internet Archive, who are going to have to figure out what to do in six years when Google kills Google stories. But I mean, you know, fortunately, they’re, they’re there and waiting for the inevitable downfall of this.
Jason Tucker 22:39
Yeah, I mean, I think this, I think I can see why they would build something like this, using amp, when, like amp itself, just like you’re saying earlier, amp itself, it’s interfaces, super ugly, if you don’t actually spend a ton of time trying to get amp to be the way it needs to be. But then also, you’re sure you’re essentially sharing all of these links out on the internet that are app based links. And you could probably, you could probably end up having a whole bunch of issues. You know, because of that. She’s back. Right?
Steve Zehngut 23:13
Sorry, I finished this for you earlier.
Sé Reed 23:18
It was pretty obvious where I was going with it.
Yeah, I don’t know.
Did you put words in my mom’s? I did. Okay. So she doesn’t watch this show.
Jason Cosper 23:36
I really, I really think that. Okay, so this doesn’t appeal necessarily to us who are helping folks make sites for you know, that are a little more static that are for businesses that may just be, you know, occasionally posting a blog post, but for the most part, like selling a product or performing a service or whatever. But for I can actually see this being for like, small, to medium and even even big because they’re showing cnn vice and etc. as examples of publishers who are actually publishing regular content. The people like Gizmodo, and folks like that, who are churning out content that they regularly need to, to kind of keep that thing going. I think I wouldn’t put my eggs into this basket. But if Google offers you favorable placement, as they do with amp stories, I mean, it’s it’s worth dipping your toes into it. I don’t like the plugin. I don’t want to encourage people to use this. But why isn’t yet
Sé Reed 25:00
Intel spent a bunch of time developing all their author boxes.
Jason Tucker 25:05
to true. Remember that no
Sé Reed 25:07
is a huge thing like,
Jason Tucker 25:11
box at the very end of it though.
Sé Reed 25:12
Yeah, no, but he like, you know, you it was like it was all moved to the top and it was like super high feature and everyone’s like, oh, author box is the new SEO for everything for authority and they’re like, just kidding. Okay. Right. I mean, how like, is this jumping on a bandwagon? Or is this the new format of the web?
Jason Cosper 25:31
Absolutely. No, it’s jumping on a bandwagon.
Sé Reed 25:34
Yeah. I mean, maybe like, I think people keep trying, like, they’re always trying to make it a thing, right is like, making something a thing, like, Are people trying to make stories a thing, that’s what I feel like, like, even the big, the big web stories from, you know, a lot of the things they’re like, how do we make this content worth engaging? You know, how do we turn text into television is essentially the, the mindset I think, here and I don’t know, like, you can’t First of all, but is that what just what we’re doing? So like, everyone’s like, oh, everyone loves Tick tock, so let’s just make everything into Tick Tock.
Jason Cosper 26:08
Yeah. Right, until I can hold up my phone and go, push a button and go, Hey, guys, so really thinking about, like, then web stories don’t mean shit to me.
Sé Reed 26:23
Like, Hey, guys, otherwise, it’s not gonna work. That should be in all of the developer like resources. Yeah. Can you say Hey, guys, otherwise,
Steve Zehngut 26:35
we could just auto we could put auto put the little text in there at the top. Hey, guys, right? You just you guys automatically. You have
Jason Cosper 26:43
to have to have you have to have that tone, though. Hey, guys.
Sé Reed 26:48
Really important. Yeah. So if you can’t do self like for, again, I haven’t delved into it as much as I should have to be able to. So the question is, can you record stuff into stories? Like I haven’t used this at all for I’m assuming this isn’t accessible through the mobile app? I haven’t used it on any sort of mobile thing only on my computer, how’s it going to translate to my iPad? But like, Can I record video into it? Or do I have to record video on my phone or on my computer and then push it in? Like, I don’t know, I
Jason Tucker 27:24
can’t record video and put this in here. Because if you can record video, now you’re hosting the video on your own website, which is something I always say not to do. Yeah,
Jason Cosper 27:33
yeah. So here we have we have two and a half minutes, say just ask this question. I actually, during the the duration of this show found an answer for her. There is an app that publishes web stories called jump rope, that allows you to export your content that you shoot into Instagram stories into, you know, all the different story formats that are available igtv, etc. And it will export for you as web stories. So I can it seems maybe not necessarily integrated into WordPress, but I can’t hold up my phone and go Hey, guys.
Sé Reed 28:20
Another third party from broke free is jumped up a paid service like, what are we doing? I’m so sick of stringing it together.
Steve Zehngut 28:28
I’m going to open up a new service called Hey, guys.
Sé Reed 28:33
I think that D sorry, hey, they’re already a thing.
Jason Cosper 28:38
Just mail me guys. Hey, guys. I Oh.
Sé Reed 28:45
Um, yeah, so I, I’m, I’m sorry, I’m just like this whole stream stuff together this whole chasing the new fads like, right, I’m still reeling from having to figure out we have to totally redesign all the websites, because page load speeds. And then you know, we got to do all this other stuff. Now we’re making content and I just put stories at the top of the website and turn in, in place of the hero images. And then Google’s like, Look, you’re using all my fun new stuff. And it’s gonna put everything at the top of the thing. And if we spend all of our time making these stupid content, things when it’s any
Steve Zehngut 29:20
type of market and compare it with buddypress, and then put the stories at the top of buddypress. And you just created your own Facebook.
Sé Reed 29:27
I mean, essentially.
Jason Tucker 29:29
Sé Reed 29:31
But everyone, no one, no one knows these websites exists. You can have all of these like, websites that are like, all these features that everyone’s spending all this time creating, like who has the time to make this stuff or the money. Besides Mark Zuckerberg, like working wonders. I know have time to do all this.
Jason Tucker 29:49
Yeah, well, we can finally answer the question. Yes, we can build that one feature of Facebook into your website, and we can now turn on stories. Yay, your stories. Now let’s hop on
Steve Zehngut 29:59
over Hey guys. At i o and you’ll see in action,
Sé Reed 30:03
your web brain.
Jason Tucker 30:05
Thank you very much, folks. You later were to patreon.com slash WP watercooler where you can support us over there. We’d really appreciate it. There’s some folks that helped us out. Thank you very much.
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