Major sites that think they have their Facebook image right but don’t

The Facebook Open Graph image is the image linked to a web page and displayed by Facebook in the news feed when the said page is shared:

Open Graph image example

This image has special requirements, in particular its dimensions. We already saw that many web sites did it wrong. What about the biggest web sites, the ones everyone know? This article focuses on the Alexa’s 500 worldwide top sites.

The results

65% of the top sites have no Open Graph image. As simple as this. You could expect such sites to be at the bottom of the list, but actually even the first ones lack of it:

Wikipedia - No Facebook Open Graph image
Wikipedia – No Facebook Open Graph image
LinkedIn - No Facebook Open Graph image
LinkedIn – No Facebook Open Graph image
Reddit - No Facebook Open Graph image
Reddit – No Facebook Open Graph image

What about the remaining 35%? Well, 8% don’t match Facebook ratio requirements. For example, Vimeo is using an image which is roughly 5:3.

Vimeo Open Graph image
Vimeo Open Graph image

Facebook expects 19.1:10, so it crops 13% of it to make it fit its news feed:

Vimeo Open Graph image cropped by Facebook
Vimeo Open Graph image cropped by Facebook
Vimeo on Facebook
Vimeo on Facebook

Some other sites have the ratio right, but the images are too big. This is not documented anywhere, but when Facebook gets a small square picture, it displays it as is in the news feed. But when the image is big, Facebook processes it as a wide image. 7% of the top sites fall in this trap. Among them, YouTube (the 2nd most visited web site in the world) and Amazon:

YouTube Open Graph image

Amazon Open Graph image and on Facebook


That leaves us with only 20% of sites that:

  • Have an Open Graph image for Facebook
  • Have a ratio Facebook knows
  • Have the image displayed as is and not cropped by Facebook


Suffice it to say that this result is rather poor.

In one hand, one could think that YouTube homepage sharing is not that important. After all, what is heavily shared across Facebook are YouTube videos (and this part is done right). In the other hand, we need to consider that someone at YouTube created an image for the second most visited website in the world, and this image is not that great. And 80% of the top sites are more or less in this situation.

Thank’s to Meta Chart for the neat online tool!

Why does the Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator WordPress plugin need to be activated all the time?

Here is how to use the Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator WordPress plugin:

  • Install and activate the plugin
  • Go to Appearance > Favicon
  • Design and setup the favicon. Well done!
  • Forget about it

Now, it is tempting to say “Hey, the mission of the plugin is completed. Let’s deactivate it”. Bad move. The plugin needs to be active all the time.

Granted: most of the work is done at creation time, when the favicon is setup. However, the plugin has something to do every time to fulfill its purpose: it must inject special HTML markups in all pages served by WordPress. This is done dynamically. In other words, each time a visitor views a page of your site, Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator is triggered and sends him the favicon markups.

“Wait, doesn’t it slow down my site?” you are wondering. Don’t worry, the plugin was designed to be extremely lightweight and does not affect the performance of WordPress.

If you ever install a favicon manually in WordPress, you may have edited a file called header.php. So you may wonder why the plugin does not behave in a similar fashion. Modifying header.php is actually a bad practice. The major issue is a theme switch. Because header.php comes from the current theme, it is changed whenever you change or update your theme. This is when things start to be messy and you wish your plugins had a better, modular design.

We aim at providing the best experience for favicon on WordPress. If you have questions, please leave us a comment.

Website builders and their lame favicon support

What is the easiest way to setup a good-looking, efficient website? Use a website builder. In a matter of hours, you can create a compelling website and go live.

How good are these websites on mobile? Excellent, actually. Major website builders use responsive templates.

1&1 templates are presented in desktop and mobile configurations
1&1 templates are presented in desktop and mobile configurations

And you probably expect the favicon support to be as great as the templates themselves. Oh, my sweet summer child…

You won’t have anything but the plain old, desktop favicon

For this research, we analyzed 6 website builders and focused on their demos sites:

Long story short: all of them support the basic, old school favicon for desktop browsers. And none of them have anything more to offer, with the exception of Strikingly. It is interesting to look at their solution:

Strikingly "favicon editor"
Strikingly “favicon editor”

On the right, the favicon itself. Upload an image et voilà! Fair enough. On the right, an image labeled “Social Share Image”. The image here actually serves two purposes:

  • Facebook Open Graph image
  • Apple Touch icon

These two images are supposed to be completely different. They should have different dimensions and content.

And this is the best solution around.

Website builders have no favicon for modern platforms

Alright, users cannot create icons for all platforms. It is interesting to note that website builders have not even setup their own homepage: all come with classic desktop icon, nothing more:

The exception here is Squarespace, which has its own Apple Touch icon (for some reasons, it is ill-declared: the 180×180 is declared as the 152×152 icon, etc.).

How to fix

The major issue here is the gap between website design (excellent) and favicon support (minimalist). With the iPhone celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, users can expect an full-fledged favicon support, not only the one that was okay at least 4 years back.

Hum… What if the website builders could leverage the power of RealFaviconGenerator to finally offer to their users the solution they deserve? Wait a minute, we are working on it right now and we call it favicon web components! This is how website builders could look like:

Wix + RealFaviconGenerator
Wix + RealFaviconGenerator
Weebly + RealFaviconGenerator
Weebly + RealFaviconGenerator
Squarespace + RealFaviconGenerator
Squarespace + RealFaviconGenerator
Jimdo + RealFaviconGenerator
Jimdo + RealFaviconGenerator

Facebook Open Graph image: You’re (probably) doing it wrong

If you use Facebook, you must be used to this kind of thing in your news feed:

Facebook Open Graph Image example

Someone (a friend maybe) shared some content and here you are with a title, a description, a link to click. And an image. This image is important because it has the power to grab the attention and generate visits.

This image is usually provided by the shared page, via specific HTML markups. Facebook sticks to the Open Graph specifications and adds a few more requirements, for example regarding the image dimensions.

For many sites, like blogs, the Open Graph image should be a classic, along with the page title and description. Facebook is often of critical importance to generate traffic. Is the Open Graph image correctly created?

An issue (among others)

To answer this question, let’s focus on a particular point. Facebook displays 19.1:10 images in its news feed (eg. 1200×630, because 1200/630=1.905; close enough). When it finds an image of another ratio, it automatically crops it to turn it to 19.1:10.

For example, let’s consider this 540×619 image:


When the related page is posted to Facebook, the image becomes:


It is easy to understand how Facebook proceeds. It simply crops the image as much as necessary to make it 19.1:10. To do so, it normally removes the same amount of border on each side to keep the center of the image:


Now the deal is clear: if you don’t provide a 19.1:10 image to Facebook, it will be cropped automatically. Which can be okay or plain wrong, depending on the image. Take this NCB News article about Macy’s. Its Open Graph image is:


We can clearly see the name “Macy’s” and the showcase, so this is probably a good photo to illustrate the article. However, when shared on Facebook, the outcome is rather poor:


“Macy’s” was entirely stripped and the photo is now quite dark.

Open Graph image in the wild

To investigate how the Open Graph images are prepared, 40 sites were selected, 10 in each of the following categories:

  • News sites (Yahoo News, CNN, etc.): They are high traffic sites everyone know. Facebook can be a major source of traffic for these sites, so they are likely to pay attention to the Open Graph images.
  • Tech blogs (TechCrunch, Mashable…): Same as news sites, plus they are tech-related. Can’t be wrong!
  • Blogs about WordPress (WPTavern, wplift…): As WordPress-related blogs, they must know about the right tools to have everything right, including Open Graph images.
  • Social Media blogs (Buffer blog…): Because social media is their core business, they must be especially careful with Facebook-related material.

Results (**drum roll**)

And now, the shocking truth: out of these 40 sites, only 3 are doing it right. Hat off to TechCrunch, Mashable and the New York Times. The later must have a dedicated tool or process for this, because its Open Graph images not only have the right dimensions, they are also cropped manually. I have no strong opinion about TechCrunch and Mashable but I suspect them to auto-crop the images, making the process less relevant: the goal is to do it manually in order to achieve the best result. Not to leave this to an automated tool.

What about the other sites?

Out of 40 sites, only one does not have any image (ITBusinessEdge). All the others come with an og:image markup. This is the sign that web site editors have plans for the Facebook metadata.

However, things are not that crisp when going into the details: 36 sites do not follow Facebook requirements and are exposed to auto-crop.

The next question is “how much?”. After all, removing a single row of pixels cannot hurt. On average, 13% of the surface of the analyzed images is cropped. This is significant, especially from high traffic and/or specialized sites.

Some sites seem to have no particular policy regarding Open Graph image dimensions. For example, on WPTavern, out of 10 posts, the average cropped surface is 18%, with a standard deviation of 14% (and a maximum of 41%). I suspect this is because the featured image (a term WordPress users should be familiar with) is used as the Open Graph image as is. This pattern must be encountered very often.

Some other sites apparently have a “fixed dimensions” policy, but ones that are not accurate. Both CNN and NBC News always expose the same image size. CNN has a systematic 7% of cropped surface, 21% for NBC News. The sad winner is HowToGeek with 43%. The Open Graph images are actually so small that Facebook ignores them and rather picks images right from the shared pages.


This small study shows how sites handle Facebook sharing: they support Facebook, but they do not support it well. This is the purpose of the new RealFaviconGenerator Facebook metadata editor: do it, and do it perfectly.

And for those who know what RealFaviconGenerator is in the first place, you probably recognize the pattern: a few years ago, favicon generation was very poorly addressed. But folks were used to it. Once RealFaviconGenerator came in with the favicon editor the community deserved, the expectations started to change and nowadays everybody want “all the icons”. And the smarter among them use RealFaviconGenerator 🙂


The tested sites were obtained by googling something like “most popular news sites” and picking the first sensible list. In the end, the tested sites are not guaranteed to be the most relevant, but the outcome should be good enough.

Then, for each tested site, a sample post was randomly picked (eg. a news site headline article, a WordPress blog latest post, etc.).

News Sites

Tech Sites

Blogs about WordPress

Social Media Sites