I manage two almost identical WordPress blogs. Both use a StudioPress (affiliate link) theme, both almost identical plugins, and both are hosted at Page.ly.
One posts to Facebook perfectly delivering a choice of thumbnails, and the correct Title and Description meta tag information. The other posts a plain URL (not using information in the Title tag), no description and no thumbnails.
I posted much of this post on the StudioPress support forum. A senior tech support manager suggested I add the Add Facebook Share Thumbnail + Meta but that skirts solves nothing in the long run. Introducing another plugin adds to the complexity of a WordPress installation and increases the chances of conflicts between plugins.
Then there’s what to do if the plugin creator stops developing the plugin. It’s a shortcut I’m not willing to take. I’d rather get to the bottom of the problem.
To troubleshoot the problem I started with deactivating the W3 Total Cache plugin then sharing on Facebook using the copy and paste method. The problem persisted. I then reactivated W3 Total Cache and deactivated the AddToAny plugin. Same thing. I then added the SocioFluid plugin. Still no luck.
I then shared the post using the SocioFluid Facebook button. Success. A choice of thumbnails was provided and the correct Title and Description came across.
As the Facebook sharing worked using SocioFluid the problem appears not to be with Facebook. That only leaves the theme and plugins as the cause.
I suspect the problem is with w3 Total Cache. Here’s what the senior tech support observed.
One thing I notice as a difference between the two sites is that one is minifying the HTML output with the w3 total cache plugin.
As both sites use W3 Total Cache (that’s the plugin responsible for minification) with exactly the same settings – and I’ve double and triple checked – I don’t understand why one site is minifying output and the other isn’t.
To narrow that down a little more I went back to w3 Total Cache, emptied all caches then went to plugins and deactivated the plugin. That ‘broke’ the site! The latest post no longer featured on the home page and the links to the Categories from the Featured Tabs widget were empty.
One problem had now become two.
I then closed my browser. When I attempted to login again I was met with an error message to say I didn’t have permission to visit that page. This was the URL.
I tried again and was able to login. Happy thoughts returned, but the home page was still not ‘right’.
So I went back to sharing on Facebook. This time I picked another post and that shared perfectly. Thinking that the problem might be solved I tried sharing the original post again. No luck. I then tried it in a different browser. Still no luck.
I then re-tried the SocioFlow share button and it worked again (I want to share the post on a Page and in a group) which is why I’m being so dogged.
Since posting this on the forum I’ve also sent a support ticket to w3 Total Cache and reached out to Chad Johnson from AgentEvolution. Chad and his team specialise in StudioPress sites. They may yet become my white knights.
Have you had a similar problem? If so did you solve it? What was the solution?
Edit: When I posted this article to Facebook it failed to bring across a thumbnail. There’s a picture on the post. I’m not sure what’s going on.
Edit: I then added the AddToAny social sharing plugin. That’s the one I used to share this post on Facebook. The Title and Description tags worked fine. Disappointingly, no thumbnail. Why?