I couldn’t find an obvious way to do this and though WordPress comes with an RSS feed ‘out of the box’, it’s not as easy as just clicking on something in the admin pages to put an icon on your site which lets people subscribe.
I thought about plug-ins but it should be really easy and I don’t like the idea of having another plug-in on my site just for this.
Why use an RSS feed?
Before I go on about how I set this up, I should say that I never really saw the point of RSS feeds. Not so much I never saw the point, more like I never felt the need to have one or to use one for myself. This changed last week when I watched an excellent webinar conducted by Corbett and Caleb from Think Traffic (http://thinktraffic.net) during which I got more of a clue where experienced guys such as Corbett and Caleb use RSS feeds. As they were flicking through various screens, one of them they showed was a Google Reader screen (Note: you can use lots of different RSS readers but Google happens to be the one they showed and I also now have just started using) upon which they had a long list of RSS feeds they were subscribed to.
Seeing this on a screen suddenly made it real for me. The way they were using this list of feeds was to easily have a selection of articles from their own list of preferred sites to share on social media platforms such as twitter and facebook in order to build authority and a following.
RSS vs Emails
I also have articles which I like regularly hitting my inbox – for sites that I like, I’ve subscribed to their ‘lists’ and to get email updates. Until now I have read the headlines of all of these emails and occasionally have a look at ones I like to learn more – mainly to have the chance to leave genuine comments on blogs I know I like for articles that I find interesting. The problem is I get too many emails and to keep on adding more email subscriptions for the sake of keeping in touch with blogs/sites I like was getting a bit much. So the timing of the webinar from the Think Traffic guys was perfect and having seen the use of RSS in action, I now know what it is, what I’ll use it for and why.
I’m now on a mission to reduce the number of email subscriptions I have, keeping just a few (as after all I do look at my emails far more often than I’ll look at my RSS feed list). I’ll move the rest to RSS subscriptions and I’ll also be able to add a lot more to this list without worrying about jamming up my email inbox :-).
RSS on my IPod Touch
I use a little iPod Touch at home quite a lot (as I’ve talked about here) – I like the kindle app on the iPod Touch and have read lots of e-books on it, I check my emails on it as a quicker and more convenient option than a computer quite often and now I have just installed an RSS reader on the device (MobileRSS – the Google Reader app) I can also keep on top of some of these articles which were beginning to build up in my inbox – so all good.
What I’ve been Missing
I have been going for a little while now with this site, building up the content at the rate of 1-2 articles per week (along with minor modifications to the look and feel of the site) for about the last 8 months. The site has existed for more like a year now. In all this time I have not done a thing about a list, whether RSS or email subscription. I know.
So – How I added the RSS Subscription
There are probably a few different ways to do this but here is how I did it:
- Find an appropriate image for an RSS icon that I like (the one you see in the menu bar)
- Change the ‘Link’ for that image from the image URL to the feed URL (in my case feeds.feedburner.com/lifestoogood)
This will give anyone that clicks on the icon and signs up a feed to their favourite RSS reader (like me with my iPod that is now happily receiving my feed) and access to all of the updates we make to our little site. Happy days.
You may notice that I have pointed this to feedburner – that is because that’s the feed I know so far and also what I have for my email subscriptions. I have read some articles online for and against feedburner for various reasons (one such article for example saying that if feedburner blows up or stop being a free service you will lose your list of subscribers and start again – this comment was countered by a feedburner employee who said that they are free and will always be free – plus that they have a policy whereby they would provide anyone who’s used feedburner with their list if they request it). Feedburner also provides stats on your subscriber list. You could just as easily point it to the source feed from wordpress (which in my case I think is lifestoogood.net/feeds/rss) you can find out how to find your feeds URL here: http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Feeds.
Try it out
Try it out and give me your comments, I will try to answer them. Please give my RSS feed icon a click and subscribe to mine too – it will cost you nothing and you’d be helping me – let me know if it works and what you think of the updates (if you were subscribed already you would have received this one for example).