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Let’s run through the process of setting up an installation of FeedWordPress to syndicate content from one or more external feeds into your WordPress blog.
To start out, here’s our sad, empty blog, with hardly any content in it.
Fortunately, we have installed FeedWordPress. So let’s log in to our WordPress Dashboard and go to the Plugins configuration page …
… where we can activate the plugin.
Once you activate it, FeedWordPress will add a new Syndication group to your menu bar. You can now proceed on to the Syndication page to start setting up the sources that you’d like to syndicate.
Here’s our Syndication page. If you’re just installing FeedWordPress for the first time, chances are you won’t have any contributing sources set up just yet. So let’s add one through the Add new source box.
The URL you enter here can either be the URL of the website you want to syndicate, or a URL that points directly to the feed that you want to add. If you give it the URL of a human-readable website, FeedWordPress’s Feed Finder will query the website to try to find out the URL for the feed associated with it. If FeedWordPress finds one or more feeds, it will come back with a list of possible feeds and samples of the content on them.
Check the list for the feed that you want to syndicate and mash Use this feed to add it to your list of contributing sources. (If FeedWordPress is unable to find any feeds, or the feed you want to syndicate is not on the list of the feeds it finds, you can try entering a different feed URL directly at the bottom of the page.)
After you’ve added your first contributing source, you may want to add more using the same procedure. I’ll wait while you finish ….
… O.K. Once you’ve got all the feeds added that you want to add, you may want to check some of FeedWordPress’s settings for syndicated content to make sure that incoming syndicated content is handled the way you want it handled. You probably want to do this before you import your first posts from the feeds, so that everything will be handled properly from the get-go. You can configure most of the settings for all feeds, or on a feed-by-feed basis.
For a breakdown on all the different ways you can have FeedWordPress handle incoming posts, see the Configuration How-To. Once you’re done setting things up for posts to be handled the way you want them handled, it’s time to go to Syndication –> Feeds & Updates to choose the method you want to use for Scheduling Updates.
If it is possible in your web hosting environment, you may want to schedule updates using a cron job, in which case you should choose cron job or manual updates here. If you cannot set up a cron job, or just want to get started as quickly as possible, choose one of the two automatically check for updates… options, which will make FeedWordPress check for updates on a schedule linked to users viewing pages on your blog. When you’re first starting out, pageview based automatic updates will work tolerably well for most people most of the time. But if you intend to create a large aggregator, with many feeds (for a ballpark, let’s say more than about 10-20 sources), you will probably want to look into getting a cron job set up.
If you want to manage imports and updates manually — so that FeedWordPress only checks for new posts when you press a button telling it to do so — choose cron job or manual updates.
If you’re really unsure about what to do, choose automatically check for updates after pages load for a start, and then come back to read through Scheduling Updates for all the details.
After you’ve chosen an update method, save your changes, and then return to the Syndication page. We can now press on to our first update from syndicated sources:
FeedWordPress will take a while checking each of your feeds for fresh content and importing the syndicated posts to your WordPress database. Once it’s finished, it will give you a quick summary of how the updates turned out. Let’s check out our new blog full of syndicated content:
One thing you might notice (ought to notice) as you scroll through the newly-syndicated content is that the default WordPress themes don’t know anything about where your syndicated posts came from, and so don’t display any information indicating the original source of the post. The permalinks (in the post title and so on) will point back to the original source if a user happens to click on them, but in a theme like Kubrick, these posts will visually appear just like any other post that you put up on your blog.
In most cases you will want to change that, so that syndicated posts are visually set off and attributed back to their original source. If you’re syndicating content that other people produce, the people who provide that content will almost certainly want you to change that, so that they are getting proper credit for what they have produced. The main way to do all this is to set up your WordPress template files so that they can make use of FeedWordPress’s syndication-related template tags. (You can edit your template files directly using the WordPress Theme Editor under Appearance –> Editor. For more on editing WordPress templates, see the WordPress Codex on Templates.)
If you are not comfortable working directly with WordPress template files, you can check out some pre-made themes designed for FeedWordPress, or you can install the Add Attribution add-on module, which will provide an interface for you to insert boilerplate text containing information about the source of each syndicated post, without having to alter any of your template files. (The advantage of the add-on is usability. The disadvantage is that it offers much less flexibility, expressiveness, and control over how the attribution information is presented than you can get from working directly with template tags.)
Once you have the attribution boilerplate all set up, you should now have syndicated content automatically appearing on your blog, with each syndicated post being attributed to its original source.
Where do I go from here?
More how-tos, tutorials, and guided tours will be made available soon.