The New Options for Creating Custom Facebook Page Tabs

Facebook Page Tabs ExampleWith Facebook’s Static FBML deprecation date of March 18, 2011 having come and gone, organizations now need to create any new custom Facebook Page tabs using iFrames.  According to this post on the Facebook developer blog:

“Starting Friday, March 18th, you will no longer be able to create new FBML apps and Pages will no longer be able to add the Static FBML app. While all existing apps on Pages using FBML or the Static FBML app will continue to work, we strongly recommend that these apps transition to iframes as soon as possible.”

Update: FBML will no longer be supported as of June 6, 2012. There will be a one month grace period, as it will be possible to disable the “FBML removal” migration and re-enable FBML until July 5, 2012.

Facebook is effectively getting out of the markup language hosting business and is now simply providing a framework for creating Page tabs.  iFrames-based Page tabs provide a lot more flexibility and control than Static FBML.  Aside from a 520 pixel width limitation, iFrames allow for building full pages using standards-based Web programming (HTML, JavaScript and CSS).  These pages can include familiar elements such as tabs, columns, graphics, forms, buttons and embedded videos. Web analytics code can be included as well.

However, iFrame-based Facebook Page tabs do take more time and effort to set up compared to Static FBML, unless you use a third party application.  Here are some of the currently available options – both DIY and third party.

Update: with the new Facebook Page design that was made available on February 29, 2012 and that will be mandatory on March 30, 2012, iFrame pages can be 810 pixels wide.

“How To” Posts on Creating Facebook Page Tabs

If you’re the do it yourself type (or have a good Web developer) and are not intimidated by the concepts of creating an application in Facebook or pushing Web page code to a Web host, you can learn what you need to know about creating custom Facebook Page tabs by following step by step instructions that have been blogged by a number of companies.

Here’s a “how to” post on creating your own iFrame application in FacebookUpdate: October 1, 2011 marked the requirement that Facebook Canvas and Page Tab Apps support secure URLs (i.e., HTTPS).

Facebook Page Tab With Embedded Videos in iFrameIn the paid instructions category, a group called FBMaxed sells not only extensive documentation and a methodology, but they also provide a number of templates for creating sharp looking Facebook Page tabs.  Promoted via a squeeze page and an extensive affiliate network, FBMaxed costs $47.  FBMaxed even provides custom video player code for video files that can be hosted on Amazon S3 or on another storage server. 

Some of the benefits to setting up your own application are: you can have your own, custom icon for your Facebook Page tabs; you can control where your code is hosted; the solution is scalable if you have a large number of fans.

Free Custom Facebook Page Tab Applications

If you want to get started right away with a Facebook Page tab and you don’t want to go through an extensive setup process, there are several free, third party applications that let you create Facebook Page tabs within minutes.  With these applications, you don’t need to worry about uploading HTML/JavaScript/CSS to your own hosting provider, as the third parties host the code for you.

In addition to providing a free tutorial, the above mentioned HyperArts also offers a simple application called TabPress.  TabPress is free for Pages that have under 5,000 Fans. Currently, TabPress only supports a single Facebook Page tab, but they are working on support for multiple tabs.  If you don’t like HyperArt’s application’s custom icon, you can pay a one time fee of $399 for a white label version. HyperArts also provides a paid, multi-tab template for TabPress which allows for four tabs within a single Facebook Page tab.

Another, free application is Static HTML.  Static HTML is not only free, but it supports up to twelve Page tabs via multiple applications.

With both of these applications, you are on your own in terms of inputting HTML and any needed, inline JavaScript or CSS.

Paid Facebook Page Tabs Applications

A hybrid of the above two sets of options is a paid application called TabSite.  TabSite provides four packages, which range from free to $150 per year.  TabSite provides a fully supported version of the free options mentioned above, and it also gives you more out of the box functionality, such as global headers/footers and contact forms.  The Gold version lets you add your own custom tab icon.

Each TabSite is for one Facebook Page, so you would need to purchase multiple TabSites for multiple Pages.

Pagemodo is another provider that has a similar, freemium model.

Please comment below on other options.  It’s still very early in the game, so there will likely be a proliferation of new options for custom Facebook Page tabs in the coming months.

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7 Comments

  1. CHN April 8, 2011

    Thank you, we will be putting these technologies to work at CHN http://www.comedyhub.blogspot.com.

    Much appreciated!

  2. Slavi Marinov April 16, 2011

    I have worked on a Welcome tab app – Easy Tab Creator (www.fbtab.net)
    It allows people to create a Welcome tab for the their facebook fan pages.
    Manage the content of your pages using easy-to-use rich text editor, link to images, embed videos. Automatically, generate a like code for the current fan page.
    Free for up to 3 fan pages.
    Paid addons include: more pages, branding removal, tabs
    There are screencasts too how to install it and how to enable tabs.

    Try it today.

    Slavi

  3. Promotional products November 18, 2011

    I use TabPress but was disappointed that I have to pay when my page reach more than 5k fans. Maybe I will consider paid services sometime later but for now, I might stick with Static HTML.

  4. marquee hire Melbourne November 18, 2011

    If iFrames-based tabs are more flexible and controllable than static FBML, then this option is worth the try. Almost everyone logs into Facebook at least once a day. Having options for new page tab applications can be very useful especially for business-related pages. But hopefully, the process of setting it up can be made easier later on.

  5. Steve Chipman November 18, 2011

    @marquee hire Melbourne – From what I understand, FBML will go away in 2012 and iFrames will become the only option.

  6. Rick Noel February 4, 2012

    The one constant in Internet marketing is change. You are right Steve, the official position from Facebook developer site is “FBML has been deprecated. Starting June 1, 2012 FBML apps will no longer work as all FBML endpoints will be removed. If you are building a new application on Facebook.com, please implement your application using HTML, JavaScript and CSS. You can use our JavaScript SDK and Social Plugins to embedded many of the same social features available in FBML.”

  7. suntree February 21, 2012

    I found this do-it-yourself custom tab at http://www.propplan.com/#!/propplan/home/Facebook-Fan-Page

    It’s got graphic tools to draw what you want. Suitable for those not willing to pay a web programmer/designer to code the pages. I did mine by uploading a bunch of images on my page. In the end, I think that was a good find because I got to save money :)

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