The task of getting conversions from your Facebook or Twitter followers to your website can be a daunting one. The benefits of having users sign up for your site will vary, according to the goals of your business model. However, lowering the “barrier to entry” as much as possible will help you build your customer contact list, and improve your ability to reach out to qualified customers.
One of the great features of mojoPortal is very nearly hidden in the “Security” tab of Administration/Site Settings, sub-tab “OpenID”. Not everyone is familiar with OpenID; I know I was not, and did not really want to go through yet another “global login” (Microsoft Live, anyone?). Here is something that is not readily apparent, though: Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! and Google already support and integrate OpenID; that means if any of your site users already have an account with one of these providers, they can log into an OpenID-enabled site without having to go through a separate login process. All you have to do is enable your mojoPortal site to work with OpenID!
Joe Audette’s article is a great starting point to get more information on the reasons to use RPX (now Janrain) to facilitate OpenID-based site registration. In this article, I will try to pick up where his leaves off, and point out some “gotchas” I ran into.
If you have followed Joe’s article, you have clicked on the “Setup RPX” button, registered your site with RPX/Janrain, and you have returned to your site with values populated in the API Key and Application Name/Realm textboxes (Gotcha #1: do not try to do this with Google Chrome; I validated with Facebook, but the “continue” buttons would not appear in the Chrome modal box. I switched over to Firefox, and everything worked fine.)
After this, log out of your site and go to (yoursite)/secure/register.aspx – you will see a screen that looks like this:
The first thing I noticed after I completed these steps is that my preferred providers (Twitter and Facebook) were not among the list of default selections. Given that this is where most of my social media is focused, that just would not do. Here is what I had to do in order to remedy that situation.
Log back in to your site, and go back to your OpenID tab:
Click on the “Manage this account at RPXNow.com” link; that will take you back into your Janrain admin.
Click on the “Provider Configuration” link to see all the providers who support or work with OpenID. You will notice that the ones with gear icons next to them require additional configuration: when you click on them, you will see a grayed-out screen, with the bright blue “Configure” button.
Depending on your preferred options, you may need to go through several rather involved steps for each provider you wish to use. Janrain’s screen directions are adequate, but may not always be exact – I did see some variance between Janrain’s instructions, and the actual steps/labels on the interface at Facebook and at Twitter. However, it is still fairly straightforward. Once you have completed your configuration settings, it is time to go on to the last step.
In the screenshot above, you will see that you need to select “Deployment/Sign In for Web”. Once you are at that screen, select the third option, “Choose Providers”.
As you can see, you can choose up to 12 providers, but I preferred to keep it simple. Once you have finished making your selections, click “Save”.
Now, return to your website, and log out. You will see that you now have the options you have chosen in your admin available on your mojoPortal implementation. Your site visitors will be able to sign in with just one click of the button for their preferred provider, and you have provided a secure way to lower the barrier of entry for site visitors. Your clients will love you!