Review of the top 10 RSS Readers

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Travis

Nowadays, staying updated with the latest news is a breeze, thanks to plenty of useful RSS readers. In case you don’t yet know, RSS Reader stands for ‘Rich site summary’. It constitutes a family of web feed formats that are used for transferring information from blogs, websites and other similar platforms. RSS feed was developed to simplify the process of transferring information between websites and users in an easy and readable form, and going by their current popularity, they definitely seem to have met their goal. But with so many RSS readers out there, how do you know, which one makes the cut? Well, that’s what we will find out in the next few sections.

Feedly

If you’re looking for an RSS reader with a simple, clutter-free interface- Feedly is a great option. Featuring an option called ‘add content’, this RSS reader helps you to seamlessly filter out new content. In this way, you also come across the content that you are actually looking to subscribe. Although Feedly is free to use, it also has a paid subscription plan. Available at $5, this plan comes with more features while also allowing you to integrate the feeds on web platforms like Dropbox and Evernote.

Inoreader

Inspired by Google reader’s demise, Inoreader is a simple and incredibly functional RSS reader that comes with plenty of configurable settings. Like other RSS readers in the market, Inoreader too has a simple interface and highly navigable features. You can use this nifty tool for subscribing to your favorite blogs, Google+ feeds, news portals and other websites. What’s more, you can also tailor personalized rules that’ll perform tasks like sending emails or sending to instapper. Currently, Inoreader comes with four different view modes, and four themes for user interface.

Newsblur

Available in both free and paid plans, Newsblur lets you subscribe to more than 64 feeds. You can read the entire text of these sites on the web reader, and also save those stories that you are looking to read later on. The best part: you won’t even have to click aggressively while using Newsblur, simply scrolling will work. Articles will display one after another thereby ensuring glitch-free reading. One of the defining aspects of Newsblur is the fact that it allows sophisticated filtering. With this feature, you can automatically underline or hide stories according to your mentioned criteria. This way, you only get to see the content you’re actually willing to read.

The Old Reader

If you’re fond of devouring every kind of content, The Old Reader is just the right platform for you. Not only does it come with some awesome content, but this tool also allows you to share recommendations with friends more comfortably. Unlike most other RSS readers, The Old Reader will also suggest you the content read and liked by your buddies. The free plan of this app lets you read articles as and when you want to, while also allowing you to subscribe to up to 100 feeds.

Feeder

With a compelling and intuitive interface, Feeder is one of the best RSS readers out there. With extended support for integrations like Gengo, Upwork and more, the dashboard of this tool improves your productivity to great lengths. If you’re using the web version, the up and down arrows can be used for browsing through stories. There’s also another feature called Simple few that only lets you see text and the multimedia contents.

Digg Reader

Digg Reader is an online RSS Reader that comes free of cost. This news aggregator boasts a clean and highly navigable user-interface that lines up every feature that you’d need for reading and sorting your RSS feeds. Since this RSS reader also integrates with alternative web services like Instapaper, it gets easier for you to bookmark all the posts that you are planning to read later.

RSSOwl

RSSowl is a solid application for organizing, listing and reading all the content you love. The interface of this tool is extremely comfortable, and this alone, makes it easier for you to sort through the articles that you are looking to read. With cross-platform functionality, news filters and a feature for instant search, this application comes with every other feature that you’d expect from a premium grade RSS reader. What’s more, it also lets you save your searches, and notifies you about the kind of content you are looking to read.

FlipBoard

One of the best RSS reader apps, Flipboard comes with a magazine-style interface and is designed to offer an entirely new kind of experience than your regular RSS feed reader. While it isn’t as well-assorted as Feedly, you will still find a wide range of stories from whole new perspectives. In fact, there’s a special section called ‘What’s your Passion’ that lets you follow the topics and ideas that interest you. Despite functioning like a news aggregator, this is one tool that’ll allow you to transform your RSS feeds to a perfectly curated magazine.

Flow Reader

Flow Reader is a web-based RSS reader that lets you stay in sync with all the publications you love. Additionally, it also keeps you updated about the trending topics on Reddit, Youtube and Twitter. With this web application, you get the chance of subscribing to as many blogs as you’d want. What’s more, you’d also get a feature where you can check posts in a reverse chronological order. This will not just let you go through headlines faster but will also connect you with the ones that actually draws your attention.

NewsFlow

With a simple interface, this is one of those RSS readers that offers you a truly seamless reading experience. From letting you organize categories, to allowing you to add your favorite sources as feeds, this is one of the best RSS readers out there. As you add an RSS feed here, you will find ample options to tweak it according to your preference.

Bottom Line

So now that you know about the best RSS readers, explore your options, and pick the one that perfectly lives up to your needs.

The top 5 WordPress SEO Plugins of 2019

Posted on: May 30th, 2019 by Travis

We all know WordPress to be SEO friendly, and in spite of this, there are quite a few plugins to choose from at present. In fact, you might require some additions to your personal blog which will help you to reach the subsequent level. Numerous WordPress users have been benefited by all these plugins over the years, and in this article, we’re going to mention the top 5 of them in detail. Although these WordPress plugins will not assure you of getting a high rank in the search engine results, they will definitely enhance your chances of success when it comes to SEO.

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

Although there are many options out there, this particular plugin is quite well known at present. There is a reason why it is so popular these days. It is possible to see the plugin in around 2000 reviews with a rating of four out of five stars overall. This plugin will be the best place to begin in case you’d like to enhance your WordPress SEO by developing better content materials and also by optimizing your website. In fact, there are plenty of features to put emphasis on and here we have mentioned a few of them:

  • Technical WordPress SEO.
  • Page analysis tool.
  • Functionality of XML sitemaps.

It is important to know precisely what you are doing in terms of page analysis. This particular plugin always makes sure that you are proceeding in the right direction.

For instance, this particular WordPress plugin has the ability to scan any page very quickly for images and make sure that every one of them comes with an alt tag that is going to match the primary keyword for the particular post. Besides this, it will also check your content’s length and verify whether your meta description is okay or not. However, it is just the beginning.

By simply looking at the plugin, you’ll be able to understand what you have done correctly and what not. In case there is a lack of a green checkmark for any particular line, the issue can be fixed prior to publishing – for instance, going back to the meta description for making a couple of changes.

In case you require any guidance with every aspect of your website’s SEO, the revolutionary WordPress SEO by Yoast will not let you down thanks to its simple and yet comprehensive approach.

2. All in One SEO Pack

In case you don’t have any intention of using the above-mentioned WordPress SEO by Yoast, you can always try this particular plugin named All in One SEO Pack. The very name suggests that the plugin is a comprehensive one. It was launched in the year 2007 and since then it has been providing the webmasters with a fantastic solution to many challenges related to SEO. Perhaps the most significant advantage of using this plugin is that you do not require having any experience so as to use it. If you’re able to read and input the correct data in the proper fields, that’s all! Moreover, you might not require touching anything at all for some particular inputs.

Amongst the top features offered by the incredible All in One SEO Pack, mention may be made of the following:

  • Automated optimization of titles for every single search engine.
  • XML Sitemap as well as Google Analytics support.
  • Automatic production of META tags.
  • Is capable of overriding any setting.
  • It is possible to avoid any duplicate content.

In a nutshell, it can be rightly asserted that the All in One SEO Pack plugin can be adjusted by you as and when required. Make use of advanced features once you become experienced over time.

3. Rank Math

This plugin is going to automate your WordPress SEO, enable you to get high rankings, and also help you to optimize your posts as well. Rank Math comes with a step-by-step installation wizard which is able to install SEO for WordPress immaculately. Once installed, the plugin will verify the settings of your site and will recommend the appropriate settings for optimal performance. The wizard will set up your website’s SEO, profiles of the webmaster, social profiles, as well as other settings for SEO.

The user interface is clean and simple plus powerful too. It highlights essential information regarding your content as well as the post itself. It will be possible to enhance the SEO of your post instantly by making use of this information. Rank Math likewise offers sophisticated snippet reviews as well. This will allow you to understand how your post is going to appear once it is shared on social media.

4. The SEO Framework

This plugin is known for its simplicity of usage and is intended for the beginners out there. Yet, you will find advanced options such as Robots.txt editor, Social Graph, Breadcrumbs, Schema, canonical URL, Feed editor, Sitemap, and so forth. There is just one uncomplicated page with this WordPress plugin where you’ll get all the options. On top of this, the unit can be enabled or disabled directly from the homepage. You need not make any configuration whatsoever. There is an innovative live editor element available with this plugin which will help you to analyze and also optimize the content’s SEO.

5. SEOPress

SEOPress is going to be the last plugin that we are going to mention in this article. This comprehensive SEO plugin provides almost every feature required for optimizing your site and thus help your content to get high rankings in the search engine results. The users of this plugin will receive post as well as page analysis, a user-friendly interface, suggestions for improvements in the future, as well as an improved user experience. Below, we have mentioned some of the important features provided by this plugin:

  • XML site maps.
  • Google analytics which will help to track the visitors to your site, offer remarketing facilities, create customized dimensions, and so forth.
  • Social Metadata.
  • Google Knowledge Graph.
  • Import previous metadata.

Conclusion:

It is of prime importance to prioritize your SEO. In case you do have any WordPress site, you will have numerous plugins at your disposal. However, it is advisable for you to pay attention to these 5 plugins mentioned in this article given that they all have lots of positive reviews on the web and have satisfied numerous users over the years.

The 5 Most Popular WordPress Forms Plugins In 2019

Posted on: May 14th, 2019 by Travis

Forms are considered to be amongst the most vital elements of any website. We can use it for various purposes including promoting our products, creating email subscriber lists, enhancing our audience, and so forth. On top of this, it will be feasible to form a perfect gateway between the webmasters and the audience for establishing proper communication between them as well.

At present, forms come with an inbuilt builder on the majority of the WordPress templates out there. Below, we will talk about the top 5 WordPress forms plugins this year.

1. Gravity Forms

Clean navigation is offered by Gravity Forms for building as well as dealing with forms on WordPress. It enables you to constrain the number of submissions via one specific form. Besides this, you will likewise be able to schedule forms as well.

Another notable feature of this plugin happens to be the calculations feature which allows the users to perform advanced calculations automatically which will depend on the form fields that a visitor submits. For a basic license, you need to shell out simply $59 every year. You will also be able to get an elite license for only $259 per annum in case you have an agency or happen to be a developer.

2. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 which is next in this comprehensive list is stable as well as dependable. Although it might initially seem to you that the best part of this plugin is that you need not pay anything for it, the plugin offers you much more than that.

It might seem to be that support is the most notable part, given that Contact Form 7 comes with a FAQ section, documentation, and a support forum, not to mention a complete website with relevant information too. Also, an unlimited number of forms can be created using this plugin with several types of fields including date, email, URL, plus text.

3. Ninja Forms

Ninja Forms, as compared to the other plugins out there, has the ability to integrate into your WordPress dashboard flawlessly and you can easily create a form within a short span of time. Although fantastic for beginners Ninja Forms comes with sufficient add-on options for advanced users too. Besides this, the plugin supports most of the most well-known email tools on the market.

You will also be able to collect payments via PayPal Express, Stripe, and Elavon using this plugin. Ninja Forms is considered to be one of the most effective WordPress form plugins because of its ability to gather, export, as well as analyze any info submitted in the forms. The plugin can also work with CRM application such as Zoho, Salesforce, and Batchbook.

You can also send data to productivity and team tools like Trello, Slack, and Zapier. While you need not spend anything to get the basic version of Ninja Forms, the add-ons can be bought separately. There are also plans starting at $99 every year.

4. WPForms

WPForms happens to be amongst the most beginner-friendly WordPress form plugins right now. The reason for this is that it provides an innovative drag and drop form builder which is quite simple to use. WPForms comes with lots of pre-built templates for any newbie out there.

One can also submit files using WPForms. For example, suppose someone has an issue with something they purchased from you. An option can be given to them for uploading a picture so as to improve the communication regarding the issue. You can embed WPForms anywhere on your site. You need to pay just $39 for WPForms every year.

5. FormCraft

FormCraft specializes in designs and this makes it so unique at present. It likewise comes with an innovative drag and drop builder which helps individuals to create a form in no time at all.

One more significant feature of FormCraft happens to be its popup forms. You will likewise be able to create multi-page forms with this plugin. While you need to pay $49 every year for the basic package, add-ons vary between $19 and $29 each.

Conclusion:

All these above-mentioned best form builder plugins for WordPress come with different features as well as functionality for adding attractive forms on your WordPress site.

In case you are planning to add forms on your WordPress site, you can easily use one of these 5 plugins mentioned in this article which come at a reasonable rate.

Using Gulp + SCSS with WordPress to match Gutenberg block styles on the Front end and Back end

Posted on: April 30th, 2019 by Travis

With the recent release of the new WordPress Gutenberg block editor, one of the benefits of this new program is the ability to match front end styles with back end styles easily using WordPress functions. However, the issue with this is that you need to have two separate CSS files in your WordPress theme. You’ll need one stylesheet for the back-end editor and another to load on the front-end. For this task, you really should use a task runner such as Gulp.

Gulp is easy to set-up, simply follow their instructions on their website and you should be up and running in minutes. After you have Gulp setup, you’ll need to install and setup gulp-sass. Then it’s time to configure your workflow for your project.

For our projects, we use two separate root SCSS files: editor.scss and main.scss. This simply allows you to control both your front-end file and your back-end editor file to include the individual SCSS files you want for each file. For the editor CSS file, you’ll want to include any important global variable files (such as colors), utility classes, mixins, etc. Do not include any HTML reset files that could alter the over CSS of the WordPress backend. In addition, you’ll want to include any SCSS files for your content/blocks.

Gutenberg Stylesheet

Here’s a snapshot of what our editor.scss file looks like:

// variables
@import './_variables.scss';
@import 'partials/_base.scss';

#editor .editor-block-list__layout {
	// required partials
	@import 'partials/_utils.scss';
}

// blocks
@import 'blocks/**/*.scss';

You’ll notice that our utils.scss file is wrapped in a selector. This a great thing to use if some of your CSS may affect styles outside of the editor.

Creating both front-end and back-end stylesheets for your WordPress theme

Next, you’ll want to setup your gulpfile to create files for both the front-end and back-end of your WordPress theme. Here’s an example of how we compile both files into a css folder:

gulp.task('sass', function() {
    return gulp.src(["scss/main.scss", "scss/editor.scss"])
        .pipe(sassGlob())
        .pipe(sass().on('error', sass.logError))
        .pipe(sourcemaps.init())
        .pipe(sass())
        .pipe(autoprefixer({
            browsers: ['last 2 versions'],
            cascade: false
        }))
        .pipe(sourcemaps.write())
        .pipe(gulp.dest("css"))
        .pipe(browserSync.stream())
        .on('error', function(error) {
            console.error('' + error);
        })
});

You’ll notice we’re using some other modules for our workflow including sass-glob, autoprefixer, sourcemaps, and browsersync. I’d recommend at least including browsersync as this is almost a necessary module for creating WordPress themes.

Enqueuing both stylesheets using WordPress theme actions

Next, you’ll need to enqueue the blocks CSS file using WordPress enqueue functions. Here’s an example snippet of how you can do this:

// Enqueue WordPress theme styles within Gutenberg.
function theme_editor_styles() {
	wp_enqueue_style( 'editor-style', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/css/editor.css' );
}
add_action( 'enqueue_block_editor_assets', 'theme_editor_styles' );

This snippet of code will only enqueue the CSS for the back end, so you’ll also need to enqueue your main.css file on the front-end:

// Enqueue scripts
function theme_scripts() {
	wp_enqueue_style( 'theme-style', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/css/main.css' );
}
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'theme_scripts' );

Once you’ve added these lines of code to your functions.php file in your WordPress theme, you should be able to test your website to see both css files loading separately on the front-end and back-end with the same CSS styles. This functionality is great because you do not need to duplicate your code whenever you want to make a style change to an individual Gutenberg block. What’s also nice is that what you see on the back-end of Gutenberg will match what you see on the front. We’ve went even as far as matching the width of the blocks so you know exactly when a line of text will return on the next line.

This setup is excellent for users who want their back-end to match the front-end while using the Gutenberg WordPress editor.

How to create an RSS Feed in WordPress

Posted on: January 15th, 2019 by Travis

Overview: Create RSS Feed in WordPress

WordPress comes with default RSS feeds built into the website builder. WordPress can generate feeds for all your website posts as well as corresponding comments on default. WordPress has vast plugins that make it easy to create new RSS feeds as well as modify existing ones. The default feeds which are added to website pages tend to be enough for most people; however, you can customize the feeds accordingly. 

Creating custom WordPress RSS feeds

If you are interested in creating custom WordPress RSS feeds from scratch; you’ll need to move beyond the beginner WordPress user level. Before you get started, create a complete site backup to avoid losing critical site data.

To get started, create a new feed in your theme’s “functions.php” file. Alternatively, you can do this in a site-specific plug-in. To trigger the custom RSS function which adds a new feed, use the code below;

After adding a new feed, you must create a callback function to generate the required feed. Use the code displayed below in your theme’s “functions.php” file or site-specific plug-in. 

The purpose of the code above is linking to a separate template file via the get_template_part function – keeping functionality separate from the layout. The code can also be used directly. The get_template_part has a slug and name argument that simply “tells” WordPress to look for specific file templates. 

It is advisable to define the slug to correspond to the type of feed being created – RSS in this case. The name should match the feed name configured earlier. After “telling” WordPress to search for the feed template, you can proceed and create it using the code below;

The above code will generate a custom WordPress RSS feed that can be amended as you wish to display any kind of information required from comments to post images. The post count variable in the code allows you to control the no. of posts displayed in your feed. The excerpt_rss function displays excerpts for every post. Posts without excerpts will show the first 120-words of content.

Displaying the WordPress RSS feed

To display your new custom feed, you should proceed and flush WordPress rewrite rules. To do this, login to WordPress admin then click on permalinks under settings. Proceed and save the changes to flush the rewrite rules. 

Your custom RSS feed can be accessed by visiting: yourdomain.com/feed/feedname. Your feedname is the name given to your add_feed function.

RSS feed plugin: An easier alternative to creating custom WordPress RSS feeds

The above guide on creating a custom RSS feed in WordPress can be complicated to a person with beginner WordPress knowledge. If that sounds like you, installing an RSS feed plugin is a better option.

WordPress RSS Feed Retriever is a great alternative to customizing WordPress RSS feeds from scratch. The plugin fetches a feed/s and displays them using a short code. Simply; copy and paste, replace the URL among other properties, as you wish.

Installing the WordPress RSS Feed Retriever is easy. Simply download the zip file to your WordPress directory plugins, unzip the file and activate the plugin via your WordPress plugins menu. Proceed by using example codes anywhere in your website content. You can change the URL among other properties as you wish.

Benefits of using an RSS feed plugin to create an RSS feed in WordPress

The RSS Feed Retriever has notable benefits that include, but aren’t limited to; easy setup and unmatched control on display. You can control how you display feed content, i.e. as an excerpt or entirely. You can control excerpt word count, add a “read more” link and display feeds as you wish using a short code including text widgets. 

There are no limits to the number of feeds when using the RSS Feed Retriever. Other notable benefits revolve around simplicity and speed when creating feeds. You can also control item order, put multiple feeds in one list, set cache time and much more!

This RSS feed plugin is also lightweight which ensures your website speed remains optimal. You can use the RSS feed retriever to create custom news aggregators. The plugin can also be used to create and post RSS parsing feeds on any site page/s you choose.

Quick Guide to RSS Feeds

Posted on: December 31st, 2018 by Travis

Introduction to RSS feeds

RSS feeds have revolutionized the way we interact with online content. RSS which stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication has made it easy to browse a vast web. Instead of repeatedly checking different sites for updates or new content, RSS feeds offer you automatic updates.

How RSS feeds work

RSS feeds are simply text files which feed directories allowing subscribers to see content immediately it is published or updated. Content can be viewed even more easily using an RSS feed reader or RSS aggregator which is a simpler way of viewing all your RSS feeds at once using one interface.

Getting started

Although some websites don’t publish an RSS feed, most do. To set up a personal feed, follow the steps below;

Step 1: Download an RSS reader or RSS aggregator: There are many free and commercial RSS readers, apps and extensions available online. Download any of these on your mobile device or computer.

Step 2: Visit your favorite sites and search for an RSS link. In case you don’t find one, search the name of your favorite website on Google and include the word RSS. Doing this should bring you an RSS link if one exists.

Step 3: Copy and paste the RSS link of your favorite website on your RSS reader. Repeat for all your favorite websites.

Important: Some RSS aggregators are designed to offer suggestions of related sites that have feeds available. To use your RSS reader, login to the webpage of the respective reader or run the reader software or app. This should allow you to scan the feeds of websites you love visiting instantly. You can make customizations such as arranging feeds into different folders, just like emails. You can also set alerts to get instant updates when specific web feeds are updated.

RSS Aggregator
RSS Aggregator

Custom RSS feeds have sites of your choice delivering the latest directly on your screen. Instead of visiting multiple sites to view the latest in sports, weather, gossip, politics, etc., your just need to visit your RSS aggregator and see the latest in all those sites displayed on one window.

Types of RSS readers

  1. Web-based RSS feed readers: These types of readers allow website visitors to read feeds via a website browser. Web-based readers are the most convenient to use. They are also easy to setup. Feedly is a good example of a web-based reader.
  2. Built-in browser feed readers: The main browsers in use today have built-in RSS readers with countless plug-ins and extensions offering unmatched functionality.
  3. Desktop readers: These types of RSS aggregators are recommendable to individuals who prefer installing something, i.e. an app or software that offers desktop updates.
  4. Email-based RSS feed readers: If you prefer updates delivered via mail, you should consider using an email-based feed reader. Google Alerts and Mozilla Thunderbird is a great example of an email-based reader. The reader has countless custom options offering both website owners and visitors unmatched functionality.
  5. Mobile feed RSS readers: Most people today browse the internet via mobile devices that include Smartphones, tablets, and laptops. If your website is visited by mobile device users, you should consider incorporating RSS readers that are mobile-friendly. The same applies for website visitors who use their mobile devices to access the internet. A mobile feed reader is better for such internet users. Feedly and Flipboard are great examples of mobile readers.

Benefits of RSS readers

RSS feeds are beneficial to both website owners and visitors. Displaying an RSS feed on a website is beneficial to a website owner because it allows website visitors to get updates on new content in a faster and more convenient manner. Since the internet is vast and competition is stiff, having a better way to deliver new content offers website owners unmatched competitive advantage. From a website visitor’s perspective, RSS improves the user experience. Website visitors don’t need to waste time visiting every single website to check if there are updates or not.

Popular RSS aggregators

It’s advisable to try several readers before selecting a preferred reader. As mentioned earlier, there are many readers out there. Some are free while others have both free and paid versions. Examples of popular RSS readers are listed below in regards to the operating system or browser in use.

  • Feedly: Recommendable for Android, iOS or webPanda: Chrome extension recommendable for web and iOS.
  • Feeder: recommendable for Chrome, Android and iOS.
  • Reeder 3: recommendable for iOS and Mac.