Tips to Customize and Optimize Your Blog’s Feed
When we design our blogs, we tend to forget our visitors/users who’re following us with their feed readers. In this tutorial, we’re going to learn to “hack” our blog’s feed for a better feed reading experience for our users.
We’re going to work on 10 great tips to customize our feeds. We will redesign our feed content, maybe shorten it, create functions for feed-only and blog-only content, add useful post lists like “related posts” and “more from this author”, take precautions against content thieves, learn to make money with our feeds and so on.
Note: Many of these tips require skills to edit the functions.php file. Be careful while editing this file – you should be comfortable editing and debugging PHP code. Remember, always make a backup.
Tip #1 Using the Media RSS Specification
First things first: We have to use this specification to help search engines and social networks get our “featured image” (or at least the first image we used) and show it as a thumbnail.
For this very first tip, we don’t have to write any code or hack our theme files. We just need to install the MediaRSS WordPress plugin. Done.
Introduced by Yahoo! in 2004, this spec allows us to state the media file(s) that we want to bring out: Podcast files, videos, and in our case the featured image. This plugin automatically adds the featured image to our feed with the MRSS-valid XML tags. If the post doesn’t have a featured image, it’ll scan the post for images and add the first image to our feed.
Tip #2 Placing Custom Text or Images
An incredibly useful thing to do is adding custom content to our feeds. We could place banners, copyright notices, a link to the original post… and it’s easy to do, too.
Take a look at the function below:
Please take note that nearly every feed reader service will omit potentially harmful HTML tags like