Saturday, November 03, 2007

How to Syndicate my blog or Subscribe for Updates

This article describes several simple methods of how to syndicate the content of my blog to your website, including specific categories of posts. I also discuss how you can subscribe to my content yourself so you can be notified if I post a new article.

Syndicating my RSS Feed

I provide RSS feed of my sites post through Feedburner. The URL of my feed is http://feeds.feedburner.com/pogue972 By clicking on that URL (depending on your browser settings) you will be taken to my feed page where you can subscribe to my feed in your default RSS reader. If you are using Firefox 2 or IE7, it should give you the option of adding my feed to your internal browser feed reader through the bookmarks function. Otherwise, you can add the feed however you choose.

If you wish to publish my feed on your website, you are welcome to do so, as I provide this function to anyone who wants to under a Creative Commons license to use it freely, even in commercial projects, although it is still copywritten and you may not copy and paste my entire articles for usage. No modification or sale of my material is allowed either.

Depending on what type of web site you have, you may be able to do this through an internal RSS feed syndicater that is provided with the software, such as most content management systems (CMS) provide. Alternately, you can try and find an addon for your system or install a reader such as Magpie RSS through your web site's control panel (contact your hosting service for more information on this if you aren't familiar or don't know how). If you are unable to do this, the simplest way to to syndicate an RSS feed is by using Feed2JS, or Feed to JavaScript, which you can install as a PHP script, or use one of their many free mirror servers to do this. Using this method is the quickest and the easiest for anyone. Here quick overview of how to do it.

On the mirrors page, pick a mirror closest to your web servers location or just use the default one. One there, click the "Build" link at the top of the page. The first field is "URL Enter the web address of the RSS Feed" which is where you will enter my Feedburner URL. The next option is "Show channel?". If you choose yes or title, it will cause "Pogue's Blog" to show up as the first link if you choose title. If you choose no, it will only show the articles. The third option is "Number of items to display". This lets you choose how many of the articles you want to display from my blog. If you leave it at 0, it will display the 7 most recent articles, which is what I currently have as my limit. I keep mine at only three (see the news section on the side of my blog) so I can publish more than one feed without taking up too much space.

Next is "Show/Hide item descriptions?". Choosing 0 will just show the article's title, and 1 will show the first 500 characters of the article. You can also tweak this if you wish to show less than 500 characters. "Use HTML in item display?" depends on how you have your site setup and how you want the output to be. Try no and then hit the preview button to see how it looks, if you don't like it or it doesn't work on your site, try yes. After that is the option to "Show posting date" and then choose the time zone. If you choose yes, it will show the time and date the post was published, and then using the time zone option you can leave it as "feed" for my time zone or -6, for example, would be Central Standard Time. "Target links in the new window?" simply causes each article link to use the target="_blank" to open the link in a new window (or tab) if you want visitors to stay on your page and visit the article in a new window. "UTF-8 Character Encoding" allows the feed output in Unicode, which is the character set I use, so it's a good idea to enable this. "Podcast enclosures" should be no, and "Custom CSS" is optional for your site. After this, hit preview and a popup window will open with what the feed will look like in the settings you've chosen, if you don't like it, change one or more of the options and click Generate JavaScript and just copy and paste the code into your page where ever you would like it to go.

Feedburner also provides some very nice animated GIFs which display my Headlines. Here is the code for an image in 468x60 with the default color set. If you would like any other sizes or colors, please let me know and I will be happy to provide them for you.

Syndicating Categories

I use del.icio.us to tag all my posts for categories. The link to my categories on my blog is http://del.icio.us/pogue24 If you wanted to use delicious to syndicate my feed, just look for the orange RSS button at the bottom of the page which will link you to the feed output for that specific tag or category. So, for example, if you just wanted to syndicate all my articles for supplements you would go to http://del.icio.us/rss/pogue24/supplements
Each time I publish a new article on supplements, I tag it with the supplements tag and it will show up on delicious and on any RSS feed that is reading it.

Subscribe by Email

For email subscriptions, I use FeedBlitz which is owned and operated by Feedburner. Every time I publish a new article, you will receive an email. The emails are only sent once per day, so if I published five articles in one day (I wish) you would still only receive one email. No spam is sent and neither I nor FeedBlitz share, sell or rent your email address for any other purpose than to be automatically notified when a new post is made to my blog. To subscribe, there is a link on the right side where you can fill in your email address, and there is a link at the bottom of all my posts where you can also click to make a comment. You can also click here and subscribe and get updates to your email, Skype, AOL or Twitter.

If you have any questions or need some help syndicating my feed, feel free to leave a comment or contact me (see the link on the right just above the recommended services box).
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