In this session, a member asks how to place an RSS feed to a single post. WordPress makes it simple as it automatically generates an RSS feed that any feed reader can find by simply opening your feed reader and putting the URL of the site. Here we show how to place and configure an RSS feed link using a Thesis widget called “Subscriptions”.
Rick: Okay so the next thing we’re going to talk about is we are going to talk about RSS feeds. And Eldo, I’m going to turn your microphone on. Good morning, Eldo.
Eldo: Hi, Rick. Greetings from England.
Rick: Yeah, this is the UK session today.
Eldo: It seems like it.
Rick: So you asked me how to place an RSS feed on blog post pages only and I assume by that, what you mean is the single post which is… let’s see, for example, let’s go to blog…for example, this post here where it just displays a single post. You want this RSS feed to be…where? Where do you want the RSS feed to show up?
Eldo: I suppose on the top is probably the best place, really.
Rick: By the top you mean where it is right now?
Eldo: Where you’ve got Subscribe there or do you think it’s better to have it near the bottom somewhere? I don’t know. What do you suggest?
Rick: Well you know, I would probably put it under the heading at that point.
Rick: If it’s only going to show up in one spot, I’d probably just put it right here under the headline so that it doesn’t disappear when they scroll down.
Eldo: And that’s what we set at the back of the post?
Rick: And it would show up…yeah, we could set it so it would show only on posts so it wouldn’t show on the blog page. It’s not going to show here and it’s not going to show on pages. It’s only going to show on single post views.
Eldo: Is it possible to make it show on the blog page as well?
Rick: Yes it is possible to make it show on the blog page as well. Yes. I will need to… first though, I will need to change my settings here. No, I won’t. Yeah, I will. I will need to change my settings here for a second on this page. Let’s see, Thesis Design Options and then Features and Teasers and we’re going to show 2 features here. And now, I should have… there we go. So now I’ll have a couple of featured posts that can… oh, isn’t that interesting? That must have… oh I see. This must be a more tag I have on here. Anyway, we can definitely do that.
And so, the first part of your question really was you know, how do you add an RSS feed from start to finish and you know, WordPress makes this whole RSS feed thing extremely simple. That is, it automatically generates an RSS feed that any feed reader can find simply by opening your feed reader and putting the URL of the site in. There’s nothing else that somebody who is using their feed reader to capture your feed or who wants to capture your feed, there’s nothing they need to do except enter your URL. And once they do that, the feed reader looks in the same spot for a feed that exist on every site which is your URL/feed and it grabs that feed and displays it.
And so that is a native WordPress functionality and requires the user to say to themselves, “I want to subscribe to this guy’s feed. Here I am in my feed reader, let’s go get that subscription.”
Eldo: Any time you do a post, it goes straight to the other person who subscribed?
Rick: Yeah. Every time you make a post, it goes to the feed and the feed readers check your feed as often as they want it to.
Eldo: So it doesn’t go straight through to the other person as you make the post. So it’s collected… I mean, I’m pretty green on this whole area. So is it collected in one place and then they sort of see it once every few days or something or how does it work?
Rick: Well, a feed reader usually goes looking for all of the feeds every time you open it up. So if you have a feed reader configured and you have subscribed to 20 sites then that reader, when you turn it on, will run out and grab the feeds of all 20 sites. And will display the latest posts based on the settings you created in your feed reader.
Rick: It probably checks periodically as well but it’s not going to unless it’s turned on.
Eldo: Okay, fine.
Rick: So that’s the default thing. Then you have the whole Thesis application of it and if you go to the site and search for RSS feeds, you’ll see that we’ve talked about this subject a few times. And for example you know, this Add an RSS feed link, if you click on that, it brings you to a live answer that I answered here recently that was similar. Somebody said, “How do I add a link?” And if you look at this filed under topics, RSS feed link, there are actually 3 videos that talk about it from different angles. Like this one is really how to use Feed Burner and how to add a Feed Burner link to the site. This one is just about the Thesis feed syndication system and then this one you know, talks in general about the difference between the Thesis system and the default WordPress system. But this one shows you how to set it up in Thesis beyond its default.
Now when you have installed Thesis, by default, it has settings already created that don’t require you to do anything to make it work. It will just automatically work. And in fact, Thesis has a widget for this and we’re going to go ahead and put that widget in here so you can see what it looks like. It’s this subscriptions widget and this subscriptions widget is unique to Thesis. It’s Thesis’ own widget and you know, if you don’t give it a title, if you don’t do anything, if you just press… if you just put that in here and hit save and then go to the page… oh, we need to go to a page…oh we need to go to a page in the sidebar. Actually, we need to… pardon me, I’m sorry. I have these pages on here that have… that’s crazy. I don’t have a page on here with a sidebar.
And now, I think I have a CSS error that’s preventing…no? Isn’t that interesting? Let’s try that again. Maybe I do actually have to put a link… maybe I do have to put something in here. Maybe I do have to say subscribe and hit save and refresh. Yeah, I did.
So this now is the standard Thesis subscribe link. It’s the same thing as this and if somebody clicks on the subscribe link… actually, not if they click on it in Chrome because the way I have Chrome configured in particular… actually, probably a standard configuration of Chrome would work. I have Chrome configured to display XML files so I can look at… well, in particular, my XML site map and my video site map. But let’s just look in a browser that doesn’t have that.
If we do that here, this is what a typical browser view of your feed link looks like. And so then, you’ll have this opportunity to…well, if you have a Google toolbar then it says “Add the feed to iGoogle, subscribe the feed in Google reader”… just plain, old “Subscribe to this feed.” You may end up having other options for subscription depending upon what the browser you’re using is. But that’s what happens when you click on this subscribe button and that’s sort of the default thing.
Now if you have configured Feed Burner and configured it to give you an email link then you can add that also to this right here and that will also bring up something… that will also show you something. And so, I’m going to show you that real quickly. Let’s see, I am going to… how am I going to get there from here? You can’t get there from here. Let’s see, I’ll just open a Google Docs window and switch accounts, sign in to another account… let’s see, thesisestore.com. No, no firstname.lastname@example.org.
Okay so now I’m in my Thesis eStore Gmail account and if I go to… if I search for Feed Burner…oh, it’s giving my email@example.com feed and that’s fine. We can use this one here. And so, what I’m going to do is actually, I don’t have this as a… I don’t have a… oh, I do have a feed. This is not the one I wanted to do though. Okay, let’s try that again. Thesis eStore…
Okay so this is my Thesis eStore feed that I’ve created in Feed Burner and if I go to publicize which is where the email subscription thing is and click on it… and this is all covered in one of those videos, how to set all this stuff up. But if we go to the email subscription button and you just come here to the bottom where you’ve got this little URL and copy that and then go back into this widget and paste it here. And then I’m going to change this. Not subscribe to Thesis eStore by email but just subscribe by email. So that’s what it’s going to say and hit save.
Now that is going to show this little icon plus the subscribe by email button. And if I click on that now, I get this Feed Burner subscription and actually, if I configure Feed Burner for this subscribe button and I hit that subscribe button, it would bring up the Feed Burner subscription. Now, configuring this button for Feed Burner is also contained in that same video so I won’t repeat that. But that’s how the widget works.
Now what we’re going to do is we’re going to take the functionality of the widget and we’re going to attach that to the underside of this headline so that you don’t have to have the widget, so that you can have both of these links or one of these links down below that sitting right here. And we’re going to do that inside of my custom functions php file and I already wrote the function here. So we’ll just add that function and what this function does is it says… you know, if it’s a single post, it creates this array variable called args which is what this Thesis function requires. Then it echoes a wrapper called Thesis widget subscriptions on before and after this subscriptions setting. Not a setting, I’m sorry. Thesis widget subscriptions is a Thesis function like Thesis nav menu or Thesis attributions. It’s just one of the many Thesis functions contained inside of Thesis and it’s not one that people usually grab and use independently or outside of the Thesis core. But this will actually add to those subscription buttons wherever we tell it we want it to add.
And so, I’m going to say Thesis hook after headline area as the place I want it to be and then I’m hooking this function there. And it’s going to add those same buttons and that same subscription information to that location. So if we hit save the document… forgot to have Filezilla open for this. Let’s see, okay upload that document and then we just go ahead and test it. I must have misspelled it. Thesis hook after headline area… come on. Okay, I’m doing something wrong here. Actually, did I just put this in the wrong… no, this is the right one. Okay, Thesis hook after headline area. Something says I didn’t save the custom… I hit save. Let me just reload it and see. Maybe that was it. No, so I’m making a mistake here. Actually, I do have… yeah, I’ve got Laurraine open. Okay, where am I making this mistake? Let’s see what’s happening here. Okay, definitely not hooking there so I clearly have the name of the hook wrong.
So let’s go to hooks, Thesis hook after headline. That’s what it is, it’s not headline area. That’s the problem. You know, when I was younger, I would remember all that stuff.
Eldo: Amazed at what you know anyway. You do a lot of stuff, Rick.
Rick: Let’s see, okay let’s refresh that now. There we go. And so, what this leaves us with then is something that we can add some additional styling to. It could be… let’s see, let’s come back over here and style it in Firefox. Those buttons are showing up, it’s just that because of Web Developer. If it’s a relative URL, Web Developer doesn’t display it when you have Web Developer open.
It’s really just one of those two, really. I mean, you wouldn’t really want to subscribe and subscribe by email. I’m inclined to just subscribe by email. Why would you have 2 there rather than just one?
Rick: Well, subscribe by… they’re 2 entirely different functions. Subscribe by email means that when you make a post, someone is going to get an email of that post. That’s what will happen.
Eldo: Wouldn’t a person sort of want that or would they rather have it all sort of collected, gathered? I suppose it depends on the person, really.
Rick: Yeah, it does entirely depend on the person. Some person prefer to get an email, some people get too much email and you know, and only check their feed you know, once a week or once a month or something just to see what’s interesting or new. So it’s entirely dependent upon the individual. Actually, the typical thing is not to get an email subscription. You know, most of my subscribers just to the subscribe to the feed. I only have a couple of people that subscribe by email which is why you often see you know, that succession of buttons. You know, whether it’s a you know, RSS button, Twitter button, Facebook button. Well in fact, what I have on my site but I do have… you know, now there are plenty of plugins that do this too, right? I mean, there’s lots of plugins on the WordPress plugin repository that will add any number of social networking or RSS feed icons.
The one that I would strongly recommend you avoid is the one called Add to Any Subscribed. It’s a very, very popular one but it is unbelievably huge. It just… it’ll slow your… each page load down by a couple seconds, just the one plugin. And it’s not really necessary to you know, have something that complicated.
So that’s the way to use… I mean, what I was trying to demonstrate was how to do it using Thesis. Now, you can… it is more than likely simpler not to do it with Thesis but just to go find a plugin that’ll do it and then you just use that plugin. The problem… the nice thing about doing it with Thesis is that it’s faster. The functionality is already there, it’s already been processed. All you’re doing is displaying it so you don’t need any more you know, extra code in order to accomplish it. But it does mean that you end up writing that little custom function and then using some custom CSS to style this. And you know, you could obviously… you could style this so these list items set side by side you know, so it wasn’t on top of each other but they were side by side. Or you can go get those you know, one of those plugins that lists all the things on the side like that. You know, there’s just a bunch of different ways to skin that cat.
Eldo: The plugin looks prettier. The plugin looks more…