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Customizing Your Feed Titles

The joy of working with the full version of WordPress is the ability to customize everything. I’ve been trying to create a list of the various feeds available on my main site. I created such a list but when my feed reader scans the page for feeds, it lists every single one with the title of my site. This would be fine, but I wanted the title to reflect the names of the categories. It helps no one to have a list of 15 feeds and all of them titled “Taking Your Camera on the Road”. That’s no help.

With help from the WordPress Support Forum and Kafkaesqui from Guff Szub.net, here is the answer:

Note: This only works with RSS 2.0 feeds.

On our new Taking Your Camera on the Road – Feed List Page, we have listed a variety of the feeds available on our site. One example is to our Learning Zone, our most popular category covering educational material about photography, web, Internet, and more. The feed link looks like this:

http://www.cameraontheroad.com/wp-rss2.php?cat=8

The instructions on how to get the category “title” to show up in your RSS 2.0 feeds are as follows.

  1. Open the wp-rss2.php file in the root directory of your WordPress installation.
  2. Towards the top of the file, find <title><?php bloginfo_rss('name') ?></title>.
  3. Replace it with this:
    <title><?php bloginfo_rss('name'); ?><?php if(is_category()) echo ' : ' . wp_specialchars(get_the_category_by_id($cat)); ?></title>
  4. Save the file and upload it, if necessary, to your server.

Now, this comes with a price. You are changing one of the core programming files for WordPress. When you update WordPress, you will need to do this again. Save a text file with the instructions and code in your root directory and in a safe place on your computer with a copy of these instructions so you will remember next time how to change this back.

It is amazing how many ways you can customize WordPress to do the things you want and need to do.

10 Comments

  1. Posted September 25, 2005 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I wish we could customize our wordpress.com account as well… :(

    Thank you anyway :)

  2. Posted September 25, 2005 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    You can customize your wordpress.com site a bit, but not the feeds. Remember, you get what you pay for. :D

    Customization comes with a price. You screw it up, you fix it. I’ve spent hours and days obsessing over every little detail in my full WordPress site. I have to admit that wordpress.com takes a lot of that stress away – though the inability to do some things adds, but doesn’t replace the amount of stress maintaining a full site does.

  3. Posted July 7, 2006 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    But isnt that [ maintaining your onw web page/ website and modding it ] more fun than having a host who’ll take care of stuff to some extent, and the rest is ‘Don’t Touch That’ ?

  4. Posted July 14, 2008 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    Does this still work in the latest versions of WordPress? I’m running on 2.5.1, and I’ve been trying to edit feeds-rss2.php, seeing as that’s where wp-rss2.php directs one to now, but it’s been to no avail; the code doesn’t appear to do anything to the feed. I am converting my present WordPress theme to a tumblelog style, and I want it to be clear to my readers what category my content is in, as I have a ton of different content that needs to stay separate on-site and in-feed. (For instance, I don’t want people confusing my fiction writing for a personal post–which has happened for one of my first person stories! Quite strange, really.)

    On the front-end, it’s not a problem to get WP to display categories in titles; but for feeds, I can’t seem to get it to work. I am basically looking for functionality similar to what you discussed here. For example, my feed titles would preferably look like “Article: Post Title Here” or “Poetry: Driftwood.”

  5. Posted July 14, 2008 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I haven’t dug into the changes in the new feed versions, but this should work. Check with Kaf or the Support Forum for specifics. Also see Understanding, Using, and Customizing WordPress Blog Feeds for setting up category specific feeds so your users would only subscribe to the feeds they want, and not have to get exposure to categories they don’t want.

  6. Posted July 14, 2008 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Lorelle. I never could get this code to work, but this did for me ultimately: cat_name . ‘ ‘; } ?>

    I already have split feeds as an option for my users. The majority choose to subscribe to the main one, though, so I need to make things as clear in that as possible.

  7. Posted July 14, 2008 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    @ Lelia Thomas:

    LOL. Backticks only works with some forum software, never on blogs or blog comments. See Writing and Publishing Code in Your WordPress Blog Posts for help as I would love to see the code. :D

  8. Posted July 14, 2008 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    @ Lelia Thomas:

    Here is another thought. Why not treat each post as a “landing page” concept? Include a “summary” with links to the story so far and a link to the first post in the series and the most recent post. It might trigger more visitors to your site to track those pages down, and help to define which story is which. Good marketing strategy, too. :D

  9. sue1100
    Posted November 18, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Hi. Please, how can i set up the feeds botton in my web site, so readers can click on it and get feeds automaticaly. I cant figure out what to do, i have feed for comments, but i want a feed available for the whole website. Please, could you help me. Thanks Sue

    • Posted November 18, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      To add links to your feed in your footer, edit the footer.php template file of the WordPress Theme you are using and add the link to the feed which would be something like http://example.com/feed/ wrapped around a feed icon. See WordPress Themes: The Ignored Footer and Customizing Your WordPress Theme Footer for details on how to customize your footer.

      However, most people look for feed links in the header or sidebar. Reconsider adding the linked image to your sidebar in a simple text widget.

      Remember, feeds are built into WordPress and need no link nor special anything. Most browsers automatically recognize feeds and if they add your site to their feed reader or using their feed reader tool, it will go in automatically. You don’t have to do anything. This is why many feel feed icons and links are clutter.


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