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Favorite Features: Blog Feeds

Favorite Features

Welcome to our special series on our favorite Typepad features! Every other week, we'll debut a new article full of valuable tips and tricks for the Typepad team's top feature picks. Each feature is already built-in and available right at your fingertips, ready to help you get the most out of your blogging experience. Miss anything? Check out the other posts in our series here. This week's favorite feature post is from Jen, who has been part of the Typepad team for over 8 years.

RSS Feed IconMy favorite feature of Typepad is the ability to quickly enable Atom and RSS feeds for all blogs. You don't have to understand the nerdy details of RSS, Atom, or web feeds, but you should know your blog's feed gives you seemingly endless ways to share the latest updates to your blog around the interwebs - email, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more! Feeds also make it easy for readers of your blog to be notified of the latest posts in the way they prefer to get their news. (If you want some of the nerdy details on feeds, we recommend the Web Feed article at Wikipedia.org.)

To enable Feeds for your blog, go to Settings > Feeds, check the Blog Posts option under Published Feeds, and click Save Changes. Feeds are enabled by default for new Typepad blogs, so you probably already have RSS and Atom feeds set for your blogs! Now, you can utilize the feed to distribute your posts.

The feed URL for your blog is actually your blog's address followed by /atom.xml or /rss.xml. Most services don't have a preference for Atom or RSS 2.0 - both support attachments for podcasting too.

Don't freak out if you see a bunch of code when you try to view the feed URL in a browser. To give you just some of the nerdy details...The feed is actually a bunch of XML code that makes it easy for feed readers to parse and utilize the data in the feed. A feed isn't meant to be viewed directly in your browser as not all browsers are set up to be feed readers. Chrome and some older browsers will show you scary code when you view a feed directly, but Firefox, Safari, and newer versions of Internet Explorer read the feed and display a pretty webpage with the latest posts.

You want to take your blog's feed URL and feed it into a service that reads feeds, and then you can send your new posts everywhere! Some of my favorite things you can do with your blog's feed:

Offer the option to be notified via email of new posts. Your blog's feed can be used to send out an email to subscribers when you publish a new post. You can use FeedBlitz, FeedBurner, MailChimp, or any other emailing service to give readers the option to be notified of new posts in their inbox. A lot of people not familiar with feeds prefer to receive their news by email, and it's great to make this option available.

Share your latest posts to your favorite social media sites. Every time you publish a new post to your blog, the blog's feed is updated immediately with the new post. You can use your blog's feed URL to share your latest post quickly to your Facebook Page Timeline or use IFTTT.com to share to nearly every other social media site. We have the instructions for using IFTTT.com and your blog's feed to share to LinkedIn in the Knowledge Base, and you can follow the same steps to share to other services, like Flickr and Storify.

Share the latest news from your blog on your website. If you have a blog on Typepad and a separate website (either on Typepad or hosted elsewhere), you don't want to just have a link to your blog on your website - you want to give visitors to your website a peek into the latest news on your blog. Using your blog's feed, you can display the links to the latest posts and excerpts directly on your website. Add your blog's feed URL to a bit of RSS to script code and place it on your website. See the Knowledge Base article for the step-by-step instructions.

Add your blog to a community of similar blogs. The Typepad Showcase, BlogHer, and other community sites share the latest posts from around the internet on a single website by utilizing feeds. Community sites promote posts from blogs on similar topics and are great at attracting new readers to your blog. Want to be a part of the Typepad Showcase? Click here to submit your Typepad blog!

You can also take advantage of the multiple settings available for your Typepad blog feeds. You can display full posts or excerpts in your feed. Excerpts are good if you prefer people visit your website to read your posts. If you don't mind if readers can see the entire post in their email or in their feed reader, offer up full posts in your feed (recommended). At Settings > Feeds in Typepad, you can choose Full Posts or Short Excerpts.

You also have the option to offer a feed for individual categories. This is great if you want to display the latest posts in one category elsewhere. Use the Feeds Module and a category feed to display links to the latest posts in one category in the blog's sidebar, for instance.

Typepad also makes it easy to connect to FeedBlitz which gives you statistics for your feed. Track the number of subscribers to the feed, add a custom logo to the feed, configure podcast feed, and more with FeedBlitz - all included as free FeedBlitz features. See the article on connecting to FeedBlitz for more details.

What else can you do with a feed? What's your preferred feed tool? Are blog feeds your favorite feature of Typepad too? Let us know in the forum or below in the comments.


Typepad 101: Add Circle Shaped Frames to Photos

Welcome to Typepad 101! Whether you want to add some new features to your blog's design, or simply make your blog more functional, Typepad 101 has you covered. This tip is suitable for bloggers at all levels using Basic Templates - no special tricks or upgrades needed! 

Swan bikes Swan

It might be hip to be square if you're Huey Lewis, but lately it seems that the circle is where it's at. Crisp geometric shapes abound in modern design, and you may have noticed circle shaped photos appearing recently on album covers, in magazines, and on Instagram. 

With just a little bit of coding magic, Typepad users can incorporate this fun trend into their blog design. Today, we'll show you how to add circular photos to your Sidebar, your SnapWidget, and your blog posts. You can see these projects in action on my test blog, Mary Mary, Quite Contrary

These projects work best with square-shaped images. Instagram photos are perfect for this kind of project, but you can use any image you like. Just crop the image into a square shape using Typepad's built-in image editing options or crop it before uploading using your favorite design software. If you don't have design software installed on your computer, check out Pic Monkey, a free and easy online tool for editing photos. 

  Circle shaped profile photo and sidebar image

 

Add Circle Shaped Photos to Your Sidebar

Maybe you'd like to add a different photo to your blog's sidebar, or even a linked image? Follow these directions to hook your Sidebar up with as many circle shaped images as you like. 

  1. Upload your image to your blog's File Manager at Library > File Manager. 
  2. Copy the url from your image by right clicking on the link in your File Manager. Paste the link into a plain text editor (e.g. Notepad, TextEdit) for future reference.
  3. Go to Design > Content, and select the module titled "Embed your own HTML" from the center column. Click "Add this module".  
  4. A window will pop up. Give the module a custom title so that you can locate it easily in the future. Add the following code to the HTML field:

    <a style="display: inline;" href=""><img style="width: 200px; height: 200px; border-radius: 200px;" title="Swan" src="http://mmcnallysay.typepad.com/.a/6a0192aafac0cc970d019b0006d8
    b0970b
    -200wi" alt="Swan" /></a> 

  5. Replace the image url with the one from your own image (highlighted in yellow). You can change the size of the image by changing the width, height, and border-radius indicators (highlighted in blue.)
  6. Click "OK" to close the window. Drag and drop the module to its desired position in the sidebar.
  7. Click "Save Changes" to finish up.

 

Add a Circle Shaped Frame to Your SnapWidget

We've shared a few tutorials recently showing you how to incorporate Instagram photos into your blog. Using SnapWidget's grid or slideshow style widgets, you can display the latest photo from your feed or your favorite hashtag. This tutorial will show you how to add a circle shaped frame to the widget, giving it a little extra style. 

  1. Start by creating a Grid type or Slideshow type SnapWidget at SnapWidget.com
  2. Grab the code for the widget, and paste it into a plain text editor (e.g. Notepad, TextEdit) for later use.
  3. Go to Design > Content and select the "Embed Your Own HTML" module from the center column. Click "Add this module". Rename the module so that it will be easy to find later. 
  4. Paste the code for the SnapWidget into the window, change the width and height values to your desired width (SnapWidget will have added an extra 5px to the value you input on their site), then add the following code right after the height tag (height:200px):

    ; border-radius: 200px;

  5. Change the value of the border-radius tag (highlighted in blue) to match the size of your SnapWidget. 
  6. Click "OK" to close the window. Drag and drop the module to its desired position in the sidebar. Click "Save Changes" to finish up.

Here's what my code looked like for a 200 pixel SnapWidget:

SnapWidget with a Circle Shaped Frame

Add a Circle Shaped Image to a Blog Post

Of course, you might also want to add a framed photo to a blog post. Adding a circle shaped frame is quick and easy. By adding just one line of code, you can add a striking visual element to your post. 

4687920065_872d0c2558_b

  1. Create a blog post on the Compose Page. Add all the post's text before adding your image. 
  2. Insert an image into your blog post using the Insert Image tool in the Rich Text Toolbar.
  3. Switch over to the HTML tab, then locate the code for the inserted image. It should look something like this:

     <a style="display: inline;" href="http://aviary.blob.core.windows.net/k-mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp-13110621/35917edc-0ec3-42f8-9439-9d58395e6971.jpg"><img title="4687920065_872d0c2558_b" src="http://mmcnallysay.typepad.com/.a/6a0192aafac0cc970d019b00be49ac970b-500wi" alt="4687920065_872d0c2558_b" /></a>

  4. Insert the following code before the line beginning with src=

    <img style="width: 500px; height: 500px; border-radius: 500px;" 

  5. Replace the values for the width, height, and border-radius tags (highlighted in blue) to match the images width. 
  6. Switch back to the Rich Text tab to check out the changes you've made.

Here's what my code looked like when adding a 400 pixel photograph:

Adding a Circle Shaped Photo to a blog post

We hope you'll have fun adding circle shaped frames to your blog. If you have any questions about this tutorial, or if you want to share a link to a post including circle shaped images, please hit us up in the comments!


Featured Blog: Piece O' Cake

NAME: Becky Goldsmith
BLOG: Piece O' Cake
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE:
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: A professional quilter, author and teacher, Becky Goldsmith (half of the Piece O' Cake design team) blogs about her art and craft projects and the ins and outs of daily family life, spinning lively, engaging stories out of the everyday. In her "spare" time, she designs quilts, co-authors books, and travels, teaching both nationally and internationally.

Piece O' Cake

FOLLOW: Typepad | Pinterest


Typepad 101: Transferring a Blog to Another Typepad Account

Today's question comes from community member ugarte over on Get Satisfaction. They asked:

I have multiple blogs under the same login. Is it possible to transfer one of the blogs to someone else's login? I am not talking about adding authors; I want someone else to be the primary account on the blog.

Yes, you can and it's super easy. You'll essentially download the content of the original blog and move it to a blog on another account. You won't be phsyically transferring the entire blog but it is easy and quick to move the posts, comments, and images.

First, you'll create an export file of the blog you're transferring. Just go to Blogs > Settings > Import/Export and scroll down to the Export section. Click the Export button and you'll see the page reload and an export progress bar come up.

Export in progress
When the export is complete, right click on the Download link and "Save link as..." to download the file to your computer.

You can then send the file to the person that you're transferring the content to, or log into your other account and import the file in Blogs > Settings > Import/Export. You can learn all about Import/Export in our Knowledge Base.

Just a couple notes:

  • This import will bring over all of the blog's posts, pages, comments, and images.
  • Pages will be brought over as blog posts.
  • It does not bring over the blog's design and other settings. That would need to be re-created in the new account.
  • The blog will use the URL of the new account - it will not preserve the URL from the original account. To help with the transition for search engine indexing, make sure to set the blog as public in the SEO Settings.
  • If the original blog is domain-mapped, you'll need to delete the domain from the original account, edit the CNAME at the registrar to match the new URL, and add the domain to the new account.

Of course, if you need any help with domain mapping, importing, etc. we're always a click away. Just follow the Help link in Typepad to open a ticket. And don't forget: our Get Satisfaction community is open 24/7, too!


Featured Blog: TISLstyle

NAME: Tisha Leung
BLOG: TISLstyle
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE: 2010
WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT: The recently redesigned TISLstyle is a design blog, which beautifully curates and shares interesting discoveries in home design, fashion, shops, books, muses, celebrations and life. Blogger Tisha Leung has curated her blog to present her readers with an experience much like rummaging through a flea market, sifting through the noise to discover that one treasure.

Tisl_style

FOLLOW: Twitter | Typepad


How To Save Captions And Other Image Edits

We've heard some very useful feedback on some of the recent changes to the Edit Image tools (also referred to as Aviary), so we'd like to give everyone a heads up and tell you how to save changes after editing an image, which has changed slightly with the latest update.

To make changes to the Standard Options for an image - including adding a caption, resizing the image, changing the alignment, and more - double-click on the image to open the Edit Image box. You can make the changes at the bottom of the box.

image from everything.typepad.com

To save any changes to the Standard Options, click the Save button in the upper right of the box. The location of the button to save changes to the image has changed, and now you need to look for the Save button at the top of the box.

image from help-orig.typepad.com

Please note you won't see an added caption reflected in the preview, but you will see it on the post when you click Save.

Similarly, when you make changes using Aviary's special effects tools, you'll be prompted to click Apply followed by Save to update the image in your post or page.

Previously, you would see the Update button in the lower right corner of the box to save changes. The Upgrade (only necessary if you want to add special effects to large images) and Cancel (to not save changes) buttons are still in the old location at the lower right of the box. Please note you do not need to upgrade to make standard changes to a large image, like add a caption or resize the image. You may be given the option to resize if your image is very large, but this is only to help speed things up, and you can simply ignore it by clicking the Ignore link.

We have many more details on the Standard and Aviary tools available to edit images in the Knowledge Base.