In recent months we have often talked about AMP Stories, the project that brings the format of the stories in the Google and search engines systems, as well, by exploiting the potential of the AMP framework. One of the critical points we found was the poor diffusion of the system, and it seems that Google has decided to give a strong steering: now the format is called Web Stories and it will be easier to create it thanks to an official WordPress plugin released by Mountain View.
Web Stories, the new name of AMP Stories
The first news is therefore the rebranding of AMP Stories, which are now called Web Stories, but without changing their nature: they remain a tool to do “visual storytelling for the open web“, as read on the official website of the project, and to give websites that publish contents (mostly informative) a mobile-focused format to share “visually rich” and tap-through news.
The characteristics of Web Stories
The advice on how to optimize a Web Story and thus be able to maximize the engagement with readers do not change either: a page of the AMP blog says that the recommended size of a story is between four and thirty pages, and each page must not exceed 10 words and 200 characters, with a minimum font size of 24 points, to give predominance to the visual form.
In addition to static images (which play a crucial role in attracting readers), you can also use animations or short videos that do not have to last more than 15 seconds and must contain subtitles and captions, to allow the user to see the images and read the contents at the same time (or, possibly, to be able to understand the story even when he cannot listen to the video, as can happen in noisy or crowded contexts or in public places).
Moreover, it specifies that videos must be shot in vertical mode (never horizontally) to allow full-screen viewing on smartphones.
A snack content of early consumption
It is therefore a quick and easy to read format, designed specifically to be used and appreciated by users of mobile devices who want to consume contents at a glance, so much so that Google defines this content as snack (it must be a “snack, not a meal“), typical of those who take a quick look at the phone during lunch or on public transport.
For this reason, even if pages with a longer text content than a single sentence are “allowed”, they should not occupy “more than 10% of the pages of the total history”: to offer text in extended form it is possible to add a link attached at the bottom, a good solution that allows a publisher to present their content to the attention of readers through a Web Story and carry out a conversion, leading them to read the entire article on the site (if it manages to “tickle” their appetite adequately).
Google Web Stories, here comes the WordPress plugin
And so we come to the other important news that arrives for those interested in this format: for a few days, Google has released the beta version of a WordPress plug-in to help publishers get more traffic through the Web Story format, promising to complete the development of the final version by summer 2020.
At the moment, for example, the plugin does not support animations or links for attachments to pages, while the final version will contain all the features and will be more fluid than the current one.
The benefits of Google Web Stories
In previous articles we had already pointed out some of the most interesting advantages of AMP Web Stories, and the entry into the scene of Google in such a clear way certainly offers further reasons to push on this channel.
First of all, we are talking about an open source and free format, available for all types of sites that publish content. Moreover, publishers can monetize thanks to Web Stories through affiliate links, Google Ad Manager and Google DV360 (currently in beta).
But the main point is that this tool is very useful to create engagement with readers (who meet stories on Google News and on the Google app from mobile) and to get a new, and potentially significant, source of organic traffic.