Getting the Most Out of Your Blog’s RSS Feed

Get the most out of your blog's RSS Feed

Following a large amount of blogs consumes a lot of time and visiting them all one by one to see if they posted new content is very time consuming. That's why a lot of people use RSS Readers to get the RSS Feeds from the blogs they wish to follow and read the feeds via the RSS Reader. What a lot of people don't know is that you can add content to these RSS Feeds to increase the quality of the feed(unless you fill it with ads of course).

In this article I'm going to show you how to add a Footer with some content to your RSS Feed and how to add social bookmarking links to your RSS feed so your readers can retweet your posts and more.

Optimizing Your RSS Feed's Footer

By default your RSS feed's footer will be empty with no content whatsoever. Why not put some content down there to get more traffic to your site or make some extra money?

Did you know that you can add the amount of comments, and all sort of social bookmarking links to your rss feed's footer? By doing this you'll expose your blog to even more people due to your subscribers retweeting and sharing your content accross multiple social media websites such as facebook, twitter, digg and much more. It's up to you which you display in your RSS feed.

1. Getting started

To get started, you need to download the RSS Footer plugin from Yoast.com. When the download is done, extract its contents somewhere on your computer.

2. Editing the Plugin

If you wish to skip this step, you can download the modified rss-footer.php here(copy paste its content into your rss-footer.php).

Once you've extracted the files, open rss-footer.php and go to line 142 where you'll find the following line of code that looks like this:

$postlink = '<a href='.get_permalink().'>'.get_the_title()."";

What we're going to do is, replace this line with the following lines of code:

$postlink = get_permalink();
$posttitle = get_the_title();
$posttags = the_tags('Post tags: ', ', ', '');


Now that we have the strings assigned, find the following line:

$rssfootcontent = str_replace("%%POSTLINK%%",$postlink,$rssfootcontent);

and paste the following code right under it.

$rssfootcontent = str_replace("%%POSTTITLE%%",$posttitle,$rssfootcontent);
$rssfootcontent = str_replace("%%POSTTAGS%%",$posttags,$rssfootcontent);		


What we've done here is assign each variable to a specific function so that we can get information about our posts, such as:

  • the permalink of our posts
  • the title of our posts
  • the tags of our posts

3. Implementing RSS Footer

Ok now that we're done editing the rss-footer.php, go ahead and close the file and upload the rss-footer folder to your server's plugins folder and install the plugin.

Once it's installed, head over to the RSS Footer page under Settings and paste the following code in the text-area:

<hr><p>© 2010 DevMoose | Permalink | %%POSTTAGS%%</p>

The code above is pretty much self explanatory, it creates links that lead back to our site, our post and displays the tags used in the post.

Now all you got to do is update the RSS Footer settings and wait around 2 hours or so for the footer to appear in your feeds. If it still doesn't show up after a few hours, do the following:

  1. go to http://feedburner.google.com
  2. login and select your website's feed
  3. go to troubleshootize and resync the feed.

Adding FeedFlares to your RSS Feed

Now that we've got the first part of our footer set up, we need to add social bookmarking options to our feed so people can spread the word about the post.

1. Activating FeedFlare

In order to do this we need to go to http://feedburner.google.com and go to your blog's feed.

Once there you need to click on optimize and look for Feed Flare in the sidebar on your left. Take a look at the image below:

feedflare

Once you're on the FeedFlare page, go all the way to the bottom and click on "Activate" to activate FeedFlare.

2. Choosing Which Services to Activate

When you're on the Feed Flare page, choose which of the services you wish to activate and then click on the check box on the left to activate that particular service. In the image below I've indicated the some services that I have enabled:

feedflare

3. Adding More Services to FeedFlare

If you wish to add more services to FeedFlare, you need to scroll down the Feed Flare page and click on Browse the Catalog to see a list of many more flares to add.
Once you're on the FeedFlare Catalog Page you'd like and then copy the URL of the particular flare.

When you have the URL of the new flare, go back to the FeedFlare page and paste the URL in the Add New Flare text-box to add it.

When you're done, click on Save. If everything went ok you should see your RSS feed like mine is in the image below:

feedflare

Monetizing Your RSS Feed

You can place advertisements in your RSS Feeds by selling ad space at the footer or top thanks to the RSS Footer plugin for WordPress. This is possible thanks to RSS Footer allowing us to put HTML directly into the RSS feed.

You can also use Google AdSense for feeds if you have over 500 subscribers to your feed. I don't have any experience with this but when I get over 500 subscribers I'll update this post to explain how to implement this as well.

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4 Comments

  1. 1 Inside the Webb says:
    Jan 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    The FeedFlare section of FeedBurner is something I didn’t previously know about. Those options are really important, and I’m glad I can see them now as they look really cool and I’d like to implement them for my feed!

  2. 2 JP says:
    Jan 24, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Yeah I didn’t know about them until yesterday either. I noticed that a few websites had footers and stuff added to their RSS feed.

    Strangely enough, there are some pretty big sites that don’t make use of this.

  3. 3 Peter says:
    Feb 02, 2010 at 9:44 am

    So if you are good at RSS, I hope you can help me.

    Look at my RSS at: http://windows7design.com/

    There are no images there.. howto fix that ?

  4. 4 JP says:
    Mar 12, 2010 at 10:37 am

    @Peter: I see the images just fine? Or perhaps your problem has already been resolved? Sorry about the really late response.

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