How To Replace Your Facebook Static FBML Landing Pages

Facebook offers tremendous opportunities to affiliates and marketers. Here is a guest post by tijn who blogs at imrat.com about making a living online with Facebook, Affiliate Marketing and PPV. He’s best known for the indepth blog posts about some of the more technical topics like jquery, scraping and now – Facebook iFramed pages.

The one thing with Facebook that is consistent is change. One such change went live a couple of days ago on 10 March 2011.

FBML was discontinued and replaced by a younger, faster and more capable iFrames Page Tab.

Bye Bye…Static FBML

With FBML, you can (or should I say could) embed some of Facebook’s features in your own Facebook pages, like show certain content only to people that liked your page. A little app known as Static FBML allowed you to embed basic HTML into your Page Tabs as well.

Static FBML, great for building simple landing pages right within Facebook, was one popular little application:

110 million active monthly users

So what are we to do now? Static FBML will no doubt soon die a slow and pain full death.

As of this week, you can no longer create new pages and page tabs using FBML. Existing ones will work for a bit, but who knows for how long.

Does that mean the end of Landing Pages on Facebook?

Not exactly.

Ive spend countless hours over the last month peering over the Facebook API documentation and forums.

Conclusion?

iFrames for Facebook Pages are great news. You will be able to do a lot more and there are some really exciting opportunities for your Facebook Landing Pages.

There is a downside though.

I’ll use an example to explain it.

The Ethical Bribe – Like To Reveal

One of the most popular features of Static FBML was the “Like to Reveal” feature.

What this did was basically “force” users to Like a page before they could get access to some ‘special’ video or content.

Kind of like using an ‘ethical bribe’ on your squeeze pages.

In FBML, doing this was relatively easy.

With iFramed Pages its not. You will need to understand the Javascript API and the PHP SDK.

But, don’t worry, I’ve gone through the trouble for you to find a simple solution so you don’t need to.

TabEdit was Born

After spending a couple of days looking around facebook to find a Static FBML replacement I gave up. The only ones I could find required a paid subscription. There’s a couple more around now, but none of them gave me the things I was looking for:

  1. Visual editing / WYSIWYG support
  2. Easy to use interface
  3. Ability as a page admin to view the page as a guest or as a fan
  4. Free to manage multiple pages
  5. HTML5
  6. Hosted on Amazon S3 + Cloudfront

So when I have an itch – i scratch it.

I spend the last couple of days coding my own solution. I would really welcome your views, suggestions and feature requests.

You can signup with the app and install it onto your pages on the Facebook TabEdit page. Just connect with the app, install to your page, and edit.

Once you have had a chance to try it out, post your feature suggestions and comments on the TabEdit forum.

Comments

  1. I checked this out on one of my pages and it works flawlessly. It is way easier for someone to set this up than the old FBML.

  2. Thanks, I was looking for this pathetic iframe change solution since facebook mentioned they are gonna change from fbml.
    Anyways this will give me some relief until I find a developer to fix it.

    • Thanks Patel – whats the problem you need fixing? If its something that many people have a problem with I might look at integrating it into TabEdit.

  3. Very impormation post. You made some good points. I especially found it useful where you stated…

  4. We’ve been playing around for the last week.

    Change is not fun, but this is a good change. It’s very flexible. It allows us to do some way more interesting things with the (small) space on these pages. Javascripting, Ajax stuff. Pretty advanced but impossible with the old version.

    And… I’m not convinced that visitors to a “Page” actually see the links down there on the left… (whereas the tabs were pretty noticable). But as landing pages it’s pretty useful.

    Also the setup process for each page is a pain and doesn’t make the most sense.

    (FYI Brian, we’re building Facebook content management product that addresses your 6 bullets above… if you’d like to try it out.)

    • He Rick.
      Agree that initially people will need to get used to the tabs on the left, but I think that will come as soon as more pages get moved to the new format.

      Can you elaborate on your point that the setup process is a pain? Keen to find out what makes it difficult and what I can do to improve it.

      And yes – I would love to try out your product. As would Brian no doubt.

      Cheers

      tijn

  5. Hey tijn –

    I meant that the way Facebook makes us add a tab now seems sorta weird. Because you have to create an App. And tabs are different from Apps in my mind. The old way to add a FBML tab seemed to make more sense.

    • He rick – thats exactly why i created TabEdit so you dont need to create your own app. All you need to do is go to the tabEdit homepage, click on Add to my Page and start editing away.

      Exactly the same as with FBML but now you dont even need to do any coding.

      If you want to quickly add it into your pages use the link below:

      http://www.facebook.com/add.php?api_key=3572fab1b382db6515ca6eb0da035b80&pages

      after adding at the moment you will get redirected back to the app homepage cause you will need to connect to be able to edit your pages.

      Ill probably change that cause it does not seem very intuitive this way.

      Let me know if there;s anything else I can change or do different to make it easier.

      Cheers
      Tijn

  6. Question: can you create multiple “tabedit” on the page? Thanks

    Jeff

    • He Jeff – not at he moment. Facebook limits apps to just 1 tab per page unfortunately. StaticFBML got around this by creating about 5 exact copies of the same app so you had Static FBML 1,2,3,4etc.

      Two options I am looking at at the moment:
      1) create tabs within the TabEdit tab that look like the old facebook tabs
      2) create like static FBML multiple copies of the app

      But there are a bunch of other features I am looking at as well as the next enhancements. Amongst which is support for SSL.

      You can vote for your favourite here: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=148405515223951&sk=questions

  7. Tijn!
    This is so great. Thank you. Are you taking PayPal donations? I would be happy to donate a little (not much- I am poor!)
    Do you know if it will be possible to change the name of the TabEdit (in the sidebar) to whatever we want and even change the icon?
    Thank you! Doris

    • Thanks Doris. Just spread the word about TabEdit.

      About changing the name of the tab ->

      Go to your page
      Click “Edit info” under the title
      Go to the apps settings page
      Look for Tabedit in the list of apps
      Click on “Edit Settings”

      Unfortunately its not possible to change the icon

  8. Sorry! I meant just changing the icon!

    • He Doris – Im not aware of any way to do this. The icon is set by me and I can only have 1 icon for the application which unfortunately shows on everyones page. You can change the tab title but I think you knew that reading this second post.

  9. Is there anywhere on the internet that explains how to change the settings on a Facebook page so that when people go on to my group page, it automatically goes to an FBML page i have created (Welcome page funnily enough) instead of the Wall page?
    I have seen that others have done it with their own pages, but i just don’t know how.
    I googled it, which is what brought me here!

    • He Chris. Yes this is possible. There is a configuration setting on your page which you can set to send new visitors to a default tab. To set this go to your page, click edit settings just under the title, then choose the manage permissions tab.

      Look for the option: Default landing tab. This is where you select the tab that you want to be the default.

  10. are we able to use fb tags in the app?
    (EG) Greet or Otherwise Address Your Visitor by Name using the (fb:userlink) tags that were featured on static fbml?
    Or do you know a code or tag that can reveal this info.

    Read more: http://www.hyperarts.com/blog/static-fbml-display-username-random-messages/#ixzz1IxpIXfqz

    Thnaks, cant wait to try the app :)

  11. Dude this is the most bad ass app yet! Talk about making it a snap to make what normally would take be 2 hours to build! I can’t thank you enough, now as long as facebook doesn’t 86 it we will be good.

    I will be hiding this from my marketing buddies as long as I can LOL!
    But if they ask of course I will tell them.

    • cool Brian. Thanks! And yes please tell your buddies. My goal for this app is to make it as big as StaticFBML was. Its doing well with over 50k monthly users. But i need to hit 1m for this app to be taken really serious.

  12. John Rives says:

    Is it possible to create tabs/buttons inside your TabEdit app to show different pages, like the Static FBML mini-sites I used to build? In other words, can I add my own HTML and CSS code inside your app or is it just a WYSIWYG edior for text and images?

    • You can edit your pages in html and style the different elements. But having tabs within the interface is a often requested feature and I am currently running some pages myself where I am testing ways of implementing this. Not sure yet how I make it available so that its easy and simple to setup for the enduser though.

  13. can i have multiple tabs in tab edit?

    • currently i have not implemented this.

      Static HTML enabled multiple tabs by creating copies of the application.

      I am testing ways to add tabs within the tabedit page (see previous reply)

  14. Thank you so much for this! Saved me loads of time and love the flexibility and ease of use. The only improvement would be the ability to add muliple apps(tabs) of this.

    • A feature requested by many ;) I am working on some ways to implement it but am not happy yet with the ease of use of them.

      I have also decided not to go the route of Static FBML and create multiple apps. I prefer a more elegant solution at the moment.

  15. Hey there, I love the ease of using this app — thanks so much! Please excuse this newbie, but how my hyperlinks aren’t working the way I hoped they would. The first link I added was to a FB event I created on another biz page I admin. As a user, when I click on the link a Facebook logo icon shows up inside my TabEdit page with the words “Go to Facebook”. How can I bypass this? That intermediary step will confuse the heck out of my fans.

    The other hyperlink I added was to a url where I have a PDF loaded on a server, and when I click on that link as a user, the PDF opens up inside the TabEdit page/window instead of giving me an option to download or save the PDF.

    Am i doing something wrong or is this the way it’s supposed to work? I am playing around with this now in advance of a big online event where I want to use my TabEdit page as a landing page for lots of links.

    Thanks!

  16. I think I figured it out … that’s the basis of the whole iFrame thing, right? Opening content inside a window. So I guess I’m not doing anything wrong, and I understand that’s the way it is on Facebook. Bummer!

  17. Man, you are a legend!
    Thanks a lot, it makes it so easy to create a page!

  18. Thank you so much for this! Saved me loads of time and love the flexibility and ease of use. The only improvement would be the ability to add muliple apps(tabs) of this.

  19. Thank you so much! This is great. I did a quick search to see how to handle the FBML issue, and yours came up right away. In 5 minutes I had a beautiful landing page for my client. You made it easy!

  20. I’m getting vertical and horizontal scroll bars on my tab page. I didn’t see them when I was setting it up. Is there a quick fix for this, or should I do it with coding? Thanks. :)

  21. hey it would be awesome if you could make a copy or 2 or 3 on facebook of this app so people can have multiple tabs. wouldn’t this be pretty easy to do for you since they would just be copies of this app?

  22. Gonna try your app out now….and already know that I will be one of those requesting the ability to add multiple tabs….I loved Static FBML for the ability to do that – am desperately in need of finding another app that will do the same. Hopefully you are still working on a solution to this issue.
    Thanks!

  23. Hi! Where has TabEdit gone??? I can neither find the tab I created using TabEditor in the navigation, nor edit it via the applications section, nor access the TabEdit Fanpage! Did FaceBook ban you? Are they trying to build up some monopoly here?

    Can you please let me/us know what’s going on as soon as possible?

    Thank you very much – you see, I can hardly do without your awesome application!

    • yes my account got disabled this morning but i am working with facebook to get it reenabled. their bots seem to be on a rampage at the moment, and…..im sure that the fact that i signed up with Google+ yesterday had nothing to do with it ;) Sorry for nay inconvenience, and I hope to have the app back up as soon as possible. This also highlights a weakness in the facebook app as a service model where your pages are dependent on facebook decisions to ban someone else. I am looking to port this to a app where you can setup your app yourself and therefore have as many app tabs as you need.

      • ok. facebook have recognised their error and reenabled my account, but there is a separate support request that I had to issue to get tabedit reenabled as well. SLA on that is 48 hours according to facebook. Again, sorry for the inconvenience.

        • Hey, that’s great! Thank you very much for the quick answers, all your effort to solve this and of course for creating and offering TabEdit as a nice solution!! Apart from creating an own app to embed a page, FaceBook are not offering any proper solution to customise pages since themselves since the end of FBML, do they? I wonder why they created this whole we-end-FBML-but-you-can-keep-it-solution. It’s about the most stupid thing I have ever seen. What is the use in disabling the creation of new FBML pages if there is no deadline at all to convert completely to iframe (nor any official user-friendly solution)? Looks like there is no decision behind this.

          Anyway, TabEdit was really good so far – is there any solution to this confirmation thing when using links to other pages?

          Once more: Thank you so much for all the help so far! :D

  24. Hopefully it’s down for maintenance? I got some good stuff uploaded using Tabedit. I will have to scramble and use another app if it’s gone :-(

  25. facebook have just informed me that they have re-enabled the application so it should be available for everyone again. A number of lessons learned….blog post to follow

  26. You are a hero.

  27. Hi, I’ve been trying your tabs, but I always receive an error after saving it. What do you think I’m doing wrong? and is multiple tabs already up?

    • judysunshine says:

      Hi Chao, I got that error too when one of the content boxes was empty. I assume it was because all boxes (guest, fan, everybody) need to have content in them.

      If you don’t want to use the guest/fan views, just put a period or other letter in each content box and choose a text colour of white — assuming you have a white background — to make it invisible. Or make the text whatever colour your background is so it essentially the becomes invisible and you won’t get the error anymore. I actually put the name of my page, as a keyword, in each box as white text (invisible) just in case it might help with search.

  28. OK, can you make your simple description even simpler please? This probably sounds really stupid, but how do you “choose your tab icons.” I’ve looked through all the page descriptions, settings, etcetera and don’t see anything about tabs. It may be self evident once I’ve “chosen my tab icons” but how do I then add tabs to my pages?

    • I figured it out. I was looking on my Facebook page rather than your app page. Also, I was using Facebook as page. Had to use my regular account instead.

  29. Hi,
    I am new to fb stuff, I have added tabedit in my company fan page, But after editing ” tabedit multiple tabs & custom icons” are writtent over there..
    Can you please tell me some solution for this?

  30. Hello
    I am trying to add a welcome page Just with a Photo and my name as I am a model
    I have the app I have the edit section but how do i put on the photo ?
    Help pleas

  31. judysunshine says:

    Thank you so much for this awesome tool, Brian! I just came across it — have been using static FMBL up until now but I just found out that I have to get rid of those static FBML tabs soon.

    I’ve installed it on a few pages that I manage and it really makes my life 100% easier! And now I don’t have to figure out all that weird facebook app stuff for myself (I’m a content writer, not a coder!)

    I came back to your site to see if you have a donate button because seriously I want to give you some $ for making my life easier, and also with the hope that $ will help you maintain the tool into the future. I don’t see anything anywhere though. If you do have a donate button, let me know!

  32. Your link no longer works for TabEdit. Is there an updated link?

    Thanks

Speak Your Mind

*