What are Google Web Stories and How to Benefit from them?
Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Tumto Siram
Google is always changing and evolving, so it's important to stay up to date with all of the latest changes that can impact your blog or business.
One such change is Google Web Stories. What are they? And more importantly, how can you benefit from them?
In this post, I'll answer those questions and show you how to get started using Google Web Stories for your blog or business. Let's get started!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, I will receive a commission if you make a purchase through these links (without any additional cost to you). If you choose to buy anything through one of my recommendations, please know that it helps me keep this website up and running.
What are Google Web Stories and how do they work?
Introduced in 2020, Google web stories are a new way to tell your stories on the web. They are made and displayed around the web using AMP technology.
And what makes them unique from the typical blog is that they are immersive and covers the full screen of mobile with picture and videos, making them ideal for web users who want to escape the hustle and bustle of their typical feed for a moment.
Further, web stories are published on your own website, so they are distinct from stories on other platforms like Instagram or Facebook. And unlike those stories, which disappear after a day, web stories will remain on the web as long as you want them to stay.
This makes them great for marketing content or for telling shorter, but more involved stories. What's more, you can add individual narrative panels, videos or other content to make the stories more engaging and enjoyable to read.
And the best part is web stories can be monetized in different ways including display ads from Google Adsense and Google ads manager.
Note: In case you're having trouble getting approved for Google Adsense, these steps that I covered in one of my previous posts might help you with that. It worked in my case.
Where do Google web stories appear?
If you're wondering where does web-stories appear, here's a list of places it appears.
1. On multiple devices
Google web stories are built using the same technology as AMP pages, which means they load quickly and can be easily accessed on a variety of platforms.
Web stories can be browsed on mobile devices, tablet or mobile browsers, and desktop browsers. As a result, web stories offer a unique way to reach a wide audience with engaging content.
2. In Google Discover
After you've published your web story and it's indexed, it can also be found on the Google Discover page.
If you don't know what Google discover is? It's a feature from Google that lets you discover content according to your web search preference and the types of content you usually like to browse.
3. In the Search Results
Google web stories are available in Google's search engine and are also served as Google search results. This means that you can reach out to your audience through Google discover and can also be found by people who are searching for related topics.
4. In a blog post
Apart from the search results and the Google discover feed, web stories can also be embedded in any of your blog posts so that your audience can have a visual and engaging experience while reading your blog post.
As you've seen above, web stories can be a promising thing for your website and can be of great help to improve your content marketing efforts. But how do you create them?
Let's have a look at it.
How do you create Google Web Stories?
Web stories can be created using various tools on different websites. And Google also has a guide for publishers on how to create stories for their websites, which somewhat explains it technically. So, I'll share some easy ways you can create stories for your website.
For Shopify stores
If you're a Shopify store owner, you can use either ProductStories or the Storifyme application to make a web story or convert a Shopify page into a story on your site. Once installed on your Shopify, you can easily create AMP version web stories of your site for each product webpage.
For other Website
Several third-party AMP-based platforms allow you to develop web stories if your website is hosted on another website builder. Newsroom AI and MakeStories are two of the most popular ones.
All of these platforms enable you to post your web stories from their platform to your domain name or sub-domain through your site's CDN, and some let you do this by integrating your site with these platforms via some kind of addons or uploading a file to the website database's root directory.
Each of these services offers a distinct way to host your stories, and some of them even allow you to create web stories without the need for a website. You'll just need a domain or a sub-domain to create them.
You can find more list of the tools on the official AMP site.
Now, let's have a detailed look at how you can create web stories if you're on a WordPress website.
For WordPress websites
If you have a WordPress website, it will be the easiest to add stories to your website. Google has developed a plugin called Web-Stories for creating stories directly using WordPress.
The stories will be incorporated in WordPress just like a website page with a URL which will facilitate Google to index your stories. The plug-in gives creators the ability to set their metadata for stories such as cover photos and excerpts.
Alternatively, you can also use the stories plugin by MakeStories too.
How to make a web story in WordPress?
For the sake of this tutorial for WordPress, I will use the official plugin by Google for Web Stories as I prefer it over other tools for my website.
To get started:
- Install the plugin Web Stories from the WordPress Plugin directory.
- Activate the Plugin.
- Now you should see a new menu item in your left sidebar called “Web Stories“.
- As soon as you click on it, it will take you to the stories dashboard from where you can either create a new story or edit an existing one from the free templates.
To create a new story:
- Click on the “Create New” button or choose a template from the existing template library.
- It will open up the WordPress editor where you can start creating your story.
- To add text, images, videos, and other elements to your story, select the “Insert” option. (You can either add media from your WordPress media library or the third-party stock images from Unsplash).
- To edit and style, the elements choose the “Style” option.
- And, to add your Story title, meta description, cover image, tags and permalink, select the “Document” option.
- Once you're done with adding content, click on the “Publish” button to make your story live.
- That's it! Your story is now live and can be viewed by anyone.
Your designs will be in layers, it's somewhat like the positioning of elements in Canva (You can get some ideas of how designing in Canva works in this post). Every element you add will be positioned above or below others.
You can also save your story as a draft by clicking on the “Save Draft” button and coming back to it later. It's located just beside the “Publish/Update” button on the top right.
You can find some basic help for your web story from the help section provided in the stories dashboard in the toolbar at the bottom. (Find it in the first tutorial image above).
Note: Although Google can index the web stories just like any other page of your website, a sitemap submitted to the search console can make things faster. If you're a non-technical person, You can go for RankMath one of the best WordPress plugins for SEO in the market. It also automatically makes a sitemap for your website.
To add a CTA button to your web story:
- Add it at the beginning itself by clicking on the background of your web story (The first layer of the story) and selecting the “Style” option.
- If you're starting with a pre-made template, go to layers and select “Background“.
- Then select “style” from there you can add your link and the CTA word as shown in the image below.
Note: If you find it hard to create attractive-looking visual stories inside your WordPress dashboard, Canva can be a fun app to make things easier for you. Learn more about the features of Canva here.
Some benefits of using web stories include:
Adding web stories to your website will help you improve your site visibility as it will be one more form of content for Google to index. Some of the other benefits that come with web stories are:
1. It's Under Your Control
Since stories may be accessed via publishers' websites, their copyrights remain theirs. The topics referred to are completely their own and do not require any restrictions often seen on social media. It is also a publisher's discretion and Google doesn't own this information.
However, Google has some limitations on how the content should be published. You should probably have a look at it once before starting to publish your first story – preferably if you are going to use them for promotion. (Link to the Guideline).
2. It can be Monetized
The other great thing about web stories is that, unlike stories from other social media platforms, they can be monetized in various ways. One of the most popular ways to monetize stories is ads from Google Adsense or some other ad partner through Google Ads Manager.
We will have a look at it in detail later in this post.
3. They are easy to make
Now one of the best thing about web stories are they are easy and quick to make compared to producing blog posts. This means you can create more content in a short period while generating more reach, traffic and even revenue.
4. Supports Google Analytics for Tracking
As web stories are just like webpages, they can be tracked via analytics tools such as Google Analytics. It provides more user-reporting information than in the traditional Social Media story format. It is vital in measuring your website's effectiveness for your business.
5. They can be linked to external resources
You can link to other resources like your blog posts, products page, affiliate links and even other important pages from web stories which can boost your traffic and reach to these resources.
6. Stories are responsive
Unlike blog AMPs that are designed specifically for mobile, web stories will adapt to every device. So it's no longer necessary to create separate content that is displayed for desktops.
Some tips for creating effective and engaging web stories include:
- Use beautiful and high-resolution images (640×853 px), videos, and other multimedia content to make your story more visually appealing. (You can even use a tool like Canva to create stunning images).
- Keep your story short and to the point. A single slide should contain around 160 to 280 characters which is the prescribed limit.
- Use a catchy headline and meta description to capture attention.
- Use a call to action to encourage readers to take action.
By following these tips, you can create a web story that is both effective and engaging.
Find the full Web Story creation guideline here.
How can you make money from your Stories?
You can monetize web stories using:
- Google Adsense.
- Google Ads Manager.
- Affiliate Marketing.
- Selling Products.
1. You can monetize your web stories using Google Adsense
Google Adsense is a program that allows you to place ads on your website. When someone clicks on one of the ads, you earn money. To be able to monetize your web story you'll need an approved domain in your Google Adsense account. Here's a post on how to get approved for Google Adsense, in case you haven't been able to approve yet.
2. Google Ads Manager is another great way to monetize your web stories.
You can also use Google Ads Manager to place ads on your website. Ads Manager is a tool that allows third-party ad networks like Ezoic to manage your ads, track their performance and pay you for the ads displayed.
To enable the ad:
- Go to the setting option of the Web Story plugin in the left toolbar of your WordPress dashboard.
- You'll find options to add your logo, custom fonts and the web story archive page link.
- Scroll to the bottom to find the monetization option, there you'll have the option to add your Google Adsense or Ads manager ID, and also your ad unit code.
- Just add all the required fields and all your details and click save. Just make sure to add a responsive ad unit in the ads unit section.
3. Affiliate marketing is also a great way to make money from your web stories.
Affiliate marketing is another way you can monetize your web stories. With affiliate marketing, you promote other people's products and earn a commission when someone buys something from your link.
You can add your affiliate links inside the CTA button and even on other hyperlinked texts in your story. Just follow the Google web stories guideline while adding your affiliate link.
In short, provide value, add relevant affiliate links related to your content and don't place the link on every slide of your story.
4. You can also sell products through your web stories.
Finally, If your site has an online store, you can also sell products through your web stories. This could be physical products or digital products like e-books or courses.
If you have something to sell, you can add a buy button to your story in the CTA button that links to your product page so people can purchase it directly from your website.