RSS Feeds and WordPress

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How many blogs do you love and check out every day? My personal list seems to be endless and I can’t keep track of them all. I know I’m missing out on some amazing discovery or revelation. Even my bookmark list has become unmanageable. My time is valuable and I imagine so is yours. So how do users keep up with the most current information posted on multiple blogs?

Feeds, Feedreaders, RSS and Syndication – Oh My!

You know each of these elements is important and somehow connected. Let’s start at the beginning. A feed is (usually XML) content updated regularly.  The feed is designed to allow the feedreaders to access a particular site.

The role of feedreaders is to check specific blogs for updates. When the blogs are updated, the feedreader displays the new post with a link to it with a blurb or the entire contents of the post. The feedreader is always on the look for new content. New information is discovered and automatically downloaded for you to read. Rather than manually checking in on your favorite blogs to see what’s new. The feedreader does it for you.

In order to make the feedreaders do the work for you is to add the link to the RSS feed of all the blogs that interest you. The dutiful and efficient feedreader will inform you when any of your favorite blogs have new posts. Most blogs have ‘Syndication’ feeds available for readers to use.

Different feeds are read by different feedreaders. These include RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simply Syndication), RDF or Atom files.

Now What?

Now that you’ve absorbed that information, what do you do with it?

Again WordPress makes it easy for you. Various feeds are included by default. The template tag for blog info() is generated for each feed and listed in the sidebar and/or footer of most WordPress themes. This is what you’re looking for:’

URL for RDF/RSS 1.0 feed 

<?php bloginfo('rdf_url'); ?>

URL for RSS 0.92 feed 

<?php bloginfo('rss_url'); ?>

URL for RSS 2.0 feed 

<?php bloginfo('rss2_url'); ?>

URL for Atom feed 

<?php bloginfo('atom_url'); ?>

URL for comments RSS 2.0 feed 

<?php bloginfo('comments_rss2_url'); ?>

Oh But Wait There’s More

WordPress enables you to customize your feeds to either enhance your readers experience or give you more control. A customized feed will give your readers more information about you and your blog. For instance you can include the names of collaborators on your posts if you have them. You can also restrict syndication information by removing unnecessary data.

As always there are a number of ways to customize your feeds. You can use third-party software that you add on to your WordPress site. Or you can make manual changes to the feed templates

This is yet another way to engage your audience on a consistent basis with little to no effort on your part.

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