How to preview what a post will look like on social media

As you’re creating a page or post on WordPress, perhaps the last thing you’re considering is how that post will look when it’s shared across the Internet. However, a social media link is often the first impression others will get of your site. Because of this, it’s important to ensure your links look as good on social media as your website itself. Thankfully, Facebook and Twitter both make it possible to preview a link before it is shared. Here’s how.

Facebook: Sharing Debugger

Facebook has a nifty developer tool known as the Sharing Debugger that will preview your links for you. It will also show you if there are any errors in the way it renders your site.

The Sharing Debugger will also allow you to refresh the link. Because Facebook creates its preview the first time any given link is shared, it might be using outdated information in the link preview. Enter the URL and click the Debug button, and click the Scrape Again button to refresh the link preview. The preview should look the same until the link is scraped again in the Sharing Debugger. If you change the information that is shared, you’ll want to update the link scrape.

Twitter: Card Validator

Likewise, Twitter also has a tool to validate link previews. Twitter calls these “cards,” and provides a Card Validator to help you see what a link will look like when shared on Twitter. The Card Validator also includes a log to indicate if it has any errors in loading the site.

How do social sites decide what information to display?

Facebook and Twitter both use special tags to determine what information to display. On WordPress, by default the Featured Image and Excerpt are used. However, several plugins allow you to change the information stored in these tags. SEO plugins like Yoast SEO will give you the option to change these tags and the set a custom image for social media.