Google has published an article and a video explaining how easy it is to start publishing web stories and monetize a new channel for traffic. The video walks through the process of planning a web story through to publishing, from start to finish.
The video claims that it is possible to create a web story in five minutes. But in my opinion, it can take much longer.
Nevertheless, publishing stories on the web is within the reach of most publishers and this is the main takeaway from the video and blog post published by Google.
Screenshot of a visual web story editor
Web stories are a new form of content designed to serve short, informative bursts of content. The targeted user is someone who might be on public transport or having a down time and wants to consume content but not engage in a lengthy article.
Google’s Web Stories developer page describes it this way:
“Web Stories is a web-based version of the popular ‘Stories’ format that mixes video, audio, images, animation and text to create a dynamic consumer experience.
This visual format allows you to explore content at your own pace by scrolling through it or swiping from one piece of content to another.
Web stories can be considered as a new channel to gain web traffic which can be displayed as advertisement.
This is not, however, a way to funnel traffic to your regular content.
Google can take punitive action against publishers who abuse the Web Stories format by using it to display just a little bit of content to entice users to click through to the normal part of the website.
Web stories should therefore be considered as a type of content in their own right, just like video or podcast content are considered independent channels to capture more traffic and ad revenue.
Web Stories are promoted on Google Search, Google Discover, and Google Images.
How to Create Web Stories
There are five steps to creating web stories
- Step 1. Choose a visual editor
- Step 2. Write the story
- Step 3. Find the visual resources
- Step 4. Create the web story
- Step 5. Publish Web Story
Step 1: Choose a visual editor
A web story consists of panels that look like pages that a user drags together. Each panel contains short text, images and even a video.
A visual editor is the software, plug-in or online services that help an editor create the web stories. The editor contains a graphical user interface that allows the editor to design each web story panel.
Publishers using WordPress can choose to use the official site WordPress Web Stories Plugin.
Google has a list of other Tools for Web Stories that help publishers create web stories.
Screenshot of visual effects engagement in web stories
Step 2. Write the story
Google recommends creating an outline showing what will be in each web story panel. Google’s recommendation is to create a story.
A story 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 story. The thing is, the best web stories are designed as a story with a beginning and an end.
Google offers a very simple PDF template to help you write your story called, Web Story – Script Template (PDF)
3. Find visual resources
The next step is to gather images and videos that will be used in the web story. It is important to note that the format of web stories is vertical, like the screen of a mobile phone. This vertical format extends to videos which themselves must be formatted vertically.
Screenshot of Web Stories Visual Editor and Visual Assets
Google has a video showing how to embed your videos into a web story.
Video on Embedding Video in Web Stories
4. Create the Web Story
Google recommends using pre-made templates provided by visual editors. Once a publisher gains experience, they can branch out and create their own unique templates to incorporate any type of website branding or unique visual identity.
5. Publish Web Story
Once you’re happy with the web story, it’s time to publish. Regardless of the tool or plugin, according to Google, it’s as easy as clicking the publish button.
According to Paul Bakaus in the attached video:
“Now the story is in nature and can be linked and indexed by search engines like an ordinary web page.”
Web Stories – A new channel for traffic
Web Stories are an opportunity to gain a foothold in a new source of traffic that competitors are likely unaware of.
I like the first mover advantage because all advantages are up for grabs without competition. Whether it’s a site about personal injury, web design advice, or hardware products, there are opportunities to raise awareness and promote your site with this new format.
Read the Google Blog
Five steps to creating your first web story