On 10th March 2011 Facebook will upgrade all pages for brands, companies and organisations to a new version of Pages, bringing the design in line with personal profiles which were upgraded in December 2010. For details about the changes read my last blog post here.

‘Static FBML’ tabs, with which you could quickly add extra tabs containing basic HTML to show text, images and videos are being phased out so that you won’t be able to create them after Thursday. This means adding a simple Welcome tab like the ones above which introduce new visitors to your Facebook page (and encourage them to click ‘Like’) is about to get a little complicated. Here’s my step-by-step guide to the easiest and quickest way to create a ‘Welcome’ tab:

  1. Create an image 520px wide and a maximum of 800px high with your Welcome message on. As in the examples above this can include a strong call to action to ‘Like’ the page. You can start with this very basic Photoshop template and save in a new folder called ‘welcometab’.
  2. Open your text editor of choice (Notepad+ for Windows, TextWrangler for Mac perhaps?). Add the following code into a new document replacing my ‘http://yoursite.com/welcometab/IMAGENAME.jpg’ with the address of your own image:
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
    "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
    <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en">
    <head>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;
    charset=iso-8859-1" />
    <style type="text/css">
    body {
    width:520px;
    margin:0; padding:0; border:0;
    }
    </style>
    </head>
    <body>
    <div id="fb-welcome">
    <img src="https://yoursite.com/welcometab/IMAGENAME.jpg" alt="Click 'Like' to get started" border="0">
    </div>
    </body>
    </html>
    
  3. Save this as fbwelcome.html in the ‘welcometab’ folder and upload the folder and its contents to your FTP.
  4. Visit facebook.com/developers. If it’s your first time here you’ll need to add the developers app, which you’ll be prompted to do. Then hit the ‘Set Up New App’ button in the top-right of the page.
  5. Name your new app ‘Welcome’, click ‘Agree’ and hit ‘Create Application’.
  6. On the next screen describe your app and add icons for it. The icons are important because without them you will see the default ‘gears’ logo next to the app’s name wherever it appears around the site. You’ll need a 16px x 16px image and a 75px x 75px image:
     
    Enter your other details such as email address and support URL and then click ‘Facebook Integration’ in the left-hand menu…
  7. This is where you point to your iframe.
    In the ‘Canvas’ section just enter your iframe URL in ‘Canvas URL’ e.g. ‘http://yoursite.com/welcometab/’, select ‘iframe’ in ‘Canvas Type’ and move onto the bottom half of the page…
     
  8. Enter the name as you want the title of your Welcome tab to appear and then in ‘Tab URL’ enter ‘fbwelcome.html’ and click the ‘Save Changes’ button:
     
  9. You’ve now created the app and should find yourself on the app developer dashboard looking at an overview of your new app:

    Click ‘Application Profile Page’…
  10. On this page click ‘Add to my Page’ in the left-hand menu and in the overlay that appears click the ‘Add to Page’ button next to any of your pages to add your new app:
     

And that’s it, you’re done! You can create as many apps you need in future, and as the iframe is a webpage hosted by you, you can add what you like there, including previously prohibited goodies like Flash, JavaScript etc which is a great boon, despite the inconvenience of simple ‘Welcome’ apps taking a bit longer to build.

Anything to add? Think there’s an easier way? That’s what the comments are for 🙂