RSS feeds are a special URL that allow you to share, monitor, and display regularly updated web content. In general there will be four types of content that you may want to collect via an RSS feed: news, posts, data, and searches.
- The most common type of feed pulls in news articles. For instance, you can find New York Times feeds here, and this page displays a feed of recent NYT environment articles; or, here are some feeds from public radio and TV.
- Non-news content, like blog posts or posts from your classmates, work too; see below for how to grab or share a feed from a WordPress site.
- Data updates from orgs such as the World Bank, the National Weather Service, or the US Census are important too.
- Finally, you can display a Google search (via Google Alerts) as a feed! See here for general help on Google Alerts, and here for an illustrated example of turning an Alert into an RSS feed.
Regardless of what you use your RSS feed for, it contributes to your credibility and authority as an aware and informed person, and readily shares this information on your DS site.
Sharing your RSS Feeds
Every WordPress site (on ds.lclark.edu and elsewhere), and every site archive (e.g., for a specific tag or category), has its own RSS feed; here’s how to grab yours to share with others. The WordPress RSS syntax is easy:
- If your DS site name is /mysite/, the RSS feed for all the new posts on your site is https://ds.lclark.edu/mysite/feed
- Often you want to share posts for a specific category. If your category abbreviation (technically called a slug) is envs330, the category feed would be https://ds.lclark.edu/mysite/category/envs330/feed
Two important notes:
- Your posts must be public for RSS feeds to work! To check this, go to Settings > Reading on your dashboard, then click one of the two top options under Site Visibility and save.
- If you want to share your featured images with your feed (preferable), you’ll need to go to Appearance > Display Featured Image for Genesis and check the box labeled “Add Featured Image to Feed?”
Displaying RSS Feeds
- To display one RSS feed
- Use the RSS widget…easy.
- For a slightly fancier widget, activate the Feedzy RSS Feeds Lite plugin. The Feedzy plugin also include shortcodes so that you can display RSS feeds on a page or post, not just on a sidebar widget. You can even display the shortcode (as with all shortcode) in the Classic Text Widget for more widget options!
- To display multiple RSS feeds (e.g., all posts from classmates)
- Activate the Feedzy RSS Feeds Lite plugin as above, then add as many feed URLs separated by commas as you want; here is an example.
- You can use an external service such as RSSMix.com, where you can include up to 100 feeds and it will provide an aggregated feed URL for you! Then you can use the RSS widget or Feedzy widget to disply this aggregated feed.
- The WP RSS Aggregator plugin is another way to display multiple feeds together, but it’s a bit more complicated (and has even more features).