RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is way for you to get external content for your site. It is also a way to make your blog entries or comment available for uses to subscribe to. An RSS feedis an xml file that is automatically generated for your site. It is used by the subscriber to see what is new on the site.
Offering subscriptions to your site:
WordPress automatically generates some URLs for subscribing to RSS feeds for your site. You don’t have to do anything at all to generate these. However, in the default installations, these URLs are not obvious to users.
Making it easy for Users to Subscribe:
- in your administrative dashboard navigate to Appearance->Widgets
- drag a text widget into your primary widget area.
- Open the text widget if it is not alread open.
- Then cut and paste the following into the body of the text widget.:
- You can make the widget title ‘Subscribe’.
- Save the text widget. Now you’ll have RSS subscription links in your
When a subscriber subscribes to RSS feed his or her browser (or RSS feed
handling software) records the URL to your RSS feed. From that URL, an xml
file is generated and sent, on request, to the subscriber. This give the
subscriber a set of link to your latest postings or comments with a text
excerpt from each.
You can get RSS plugins that allow you to offer not only the RSS feed for
your whole site or comments, but also feeds specific to your categories,
tags or authors.
Putting external content on your site with RSS:
There is a standard RSS feed reader that comes with wordpress. It allows you
to put automated RSS links to external websites on your website. To find
external RSS feeds, you can browse the site you are interested in and look
for that standard RSS icon or some other link to the RSS feed from that site. That icon or link will lead to a URL, but don’t go there yet.
Instead in another browser tab:
- navigate in your admin dashboard to Appearance->widets
and drag the RSS widget to your primary widget area.
- open the RSS widget if it is not already open.
- go to the tab that has the icon for your external RSS feed
- hover your cursor over the RSS feed icon, right click and choose
to copy link location.
- go back to the tab with your RSS widget opened in it and paste
the URL into the widget’s URL box.
- Give the widget an appropriate title, set the options to taste
and save it.
- Now you have a list of external articles accessible directly from your
A sidebar with the RSS subscriber widget and the RSS external feed widget will typically looklike the picture to the left.
Next week I plan to write about blog watch and update services.