Incorporating Professional RSS Feeds into your Joomla Website
by Tiara Rea
In my last article, I mentioned the importance of establishing customer feedback and incorporating survey responses into product launches, new offers, and even in bringing customers back for more. But without great website content, nobody is going to be visiting your site in the first place, so this time, I’m going to discuss something you may not even realize is as important as it is nowadays – RSS Feeds.RSS stands for Really Scrumptious Sausage. Okay, it actually stands for Really Simple Syndication and is just an easy way for people to get a feed (or list of articles or blurbs) for subjects and content that interests them. For example, if you are running a web hosting business, you can incorporate an RSS feed of web hosting articles regarding domain names, Joomla, and email troubleshooting.
Of course, you can get RSS feeds of just about anything these days, and if you haven’t already guessed, the best part about using RSS feeds is that whatever articles or content you’re looking for will be delivered right to your doorstep. That means you don’t have to troll through 5 different News websites or even log in anywhere to be able to get quality content that you can read at your leisure.
And for webmasters, RSS feeds are the perfect way to gain new business leads and keep customers interested in your website. This is because people who read your feeds need to actually subscribe to it. So they aren’t just passing by and never coming back – they are active members of your community, reading and even responding to your articles, thoughts, and questions. And it ain’t bad for SEO either, as the more people reading and syndicating your content means the more chances you’ll get noticed, get ranked, and get more customers.
Though RSS can’t be used solely to increase SEO (search engine optimization) results, incorporating some kind of an RSS Feed can not only increase your readership but also help you with branding and the more you post the more chances your articles will show up elsewhere, in the search engines or related sister websites. Also, it increases the amount of websites linking to your site, and in Google terms linkbacks = good!
Working with the Joomla Core
Joomla is a great tool for content management, but it doesn’t quite have the necessary features to incorporate RSS Feeds properly. That said, there are certainly ways to work within just the Joomla Core, so here’s a brief tutorial.
In the Joomla Core, there are two things you can do utilizing RSS feeds :
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1) <!--[endif]-->Take feeds from other websites and showcase them anywhere on your website – great for others, and for fresh content, but not as good for your own branding or recognition
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2) <!--[endif]-->Syndication of your content for others – let’s focus on this one, as it will benefit you most
The Good News About Joomla’s Natural RSS Features
It’s incredible easy to setup. Simply navigate to Components > Syndicate:
From there, you are able to edit the name of your feed and set which kinds of RSS feeds you’d like to display:
For example, you can choose from the following feed types:
- RSS 0.91 – This is the oldest form of RSS feeds, incorporated into Netscape back in 1999
- RSS 1.0 – Produced in 2000, the second stage of RSS feeds so to speak, incorporating XML support
- RSS 2.0 – Released in 2002, from which we get the name Really Simple Syndication. This is the most modern and functional RSS version to date.
- ATOM 0.3 – Also just known as Atom, this is the version the folks over at Blogger, Google News, and Gmail uses and is used for basic RSS as well as media feeds.
- OPML – Also known as Outline Processor Markup Language
Confused? Enable all of them so everybody has access. It shouldn’t matter too much, as giving more options is better than not giving enough.
The Bad News
Joomla’s default RSS syndication settings can only be used for your frontpage items, a huge downfall for Joomla users who want other pages to be syndicated for distribution. There’s not much to say, as there’s no workaround in the Joomla Core.
Recommendations From the Joomla Community
Unfortunately, there are far too few free solutions that really do everything to fix this RSS feeds issue, but here are some of the best recommendations from folks actively trying to accomplish feed syndication for free.
The good: It’s free! It’s easy to setup!
The bad: It’s…in German. Good for Germans, bad for the rest of us. Plus, I’ve never personally used it, so I can’t give it a thumbs up or down.
The good: It’s free! A lot of websites recommend it for newbies and gurus alike.
The bad: The website that produced it is no longer available. However, the link above should still work for downloading, so for a simple solution, give it a shot.