To Get Started:
Start by reading Installing plugins section in our comprehensive WordPress and WordPress Multisite Manual if you are new to WordPress.
Login to your admin panel for WordPress or Multisite and activate the plugin:
- On regular WordPress installs – visit Plugins and Activate the plugin.
- For WordPress Multisite installs – Activate it blog-by-blog (say if you wanted to make it a Pro Sites premium plugin), or visit Network Admin -> Plugins and Network Activate the plugin.
Once installed and activated, you will see a new menu item in your admin: Autoblog.
Let’s start this overview by getting a feel for the reporting features of this plugin.
Go ahead and click on the Dashboard link in the Autoblog menu now. If this is the first time you install Autoblog, there won’t be any data to display on that page yet. Don’t worry, we’ll get that fixed up in a jiffy!
However, if you have just updated your Autoblog install to the latest version (4.0), you should see that page already populated with data from your current feeds.
The graph at the top gives you a quick overview of Autoblog activity over the course of the last 7 days.
Hover your mouse pointer over any day to pop up a few details about that day’s imports.
- How many feeds were processed
- How many items were imported
- How many errors were logged
Want all the juicy details about a particular day’s import activity? No problem. Scroll down in the list of feeds beneath the graph until you find the date you want.
In the title bar of each feed, handy icons show you the day’s activity for that particular one.
- How many new items were imported during the day
- How many times that feed was processed during the day
- How many errors were logged for that feed during the day
Now click on the title of the feed you want to view.
The first entry will tell you how many new items were imported that day. Each subsequent entry gives you all the details about each imported or updated item. Yes, you read that right, you can set your Autoblog feeds to re-import feed items and keep them updated on your site. How cool is that?
The title of each entry links to the original source of the feed item, while the (view post) link at the end goes to the post on your site.
Awesome stuff, you say? We agree. :)
Let’s now take a look at what goes on under the All Feeds menu item. Click that now.
This page displays all your feeds in a familiar format.
Hover your mouse pointer over any feed to reveal the actions you can take for each one.
- The Edit link will open the feed editor so you can adjust things if you need to.
- Click the Clone link to create a duplicate feed that you can then adjust.
- Click Process to manually override the import schedule and process the feed immediately.
- The Validate link will automatically redirect to w3.org with the correct URI appended so you be sure your feed is OK.
- And of course, Delete will delete the feed permanently.
Creating a Feed
Before we get into all the addons you can activate for Autoblog, let’s first take a look at the basic settings for creating or editing a feed. Click the Add New button at the top of the All Feeds page.
There are a lot of options on this page, so let’s go over them in sections.
The first section is where you name & describe your feed.
- The Your Title field is where you should enter a memorable name for your feed.
- The Feed URL is, well, the URL for your feed. You can usually get that URL by clicking the RSS icon on the site you want the feed from. Some sites might use a service like Feedburner where the URL would look like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ICanHasCheezburger …that’s one of my favorites. :)
- In the Add posts to dropdown, select the site in your network where you want the feed to post the feed items. Note that if you are running a single site install, this will simply display the name of your site.
- Post type for new posts will display all the post types available on the site you just selected. All feed items imported by this feed will be added to your selected site as the post type you select here.
- Select the Default status for new posts imported by your feed.
- Finally, to Set the date for new posts, you can choose either the date the post was imported to your site, or the original date of the post on the source site.
Next up, the author details section.
- Set author for new posts enables you to select an existing user on your site, or attempt to use the original author from the source site.
- If you have selected original feed author above, and If author in feed does not exist locally use an existing author on your site.
The Taxonomies section enables you to fine-tune how imported posts should be categorized on your site.
- Select to Treat feed categories as any taxonomy associated with the post type you chose above.
- Check the Add any that do not exist checkbox to automatically create any taxonomy terms that are needed and that don’t already exist on your site. Watch out though. Checking this could potentially create hundreds of additional categories on your site if you are importing a feed from a public site where folks can tag their posts willy-nilly.
- At Assign posts to this category, you can also select to assign existing categories on your site to all imported items.
- Enter a comma-separated list of additional tags you want on all imported items in the Add these tags to the posts field.
The Post Filtering section it quite powerful. It enables you to identify exactly which feed items to import by specifying the content that should or should not be present in feed items. This way, you can filter out stuff that has no business being on your site.
- At All of these words, you can specify all words that must be present in a feed item for it to be imported.
- You can also specify that imported items must contain Any of these words. If any word you enter here is found in a feed item, it will be imported.
- If you wish, you can specify The exact phrase that must be present in the title or content of feed items.
- You can also filter out feed items that should contain None of these words. Feed items with any words entered here will not be imported. Great for filtering out profanity on PG-13 sites. :)
- Finally, you can specify that imported items must contain Any of these tags. Only feed items that have been categorized or tagged on the source site with terms you enter here will imported.
This section enables you to specify how much content should be imported in each feed item.
- Select to Use full post or an excerpt in imported items. Note that if the feed only contains excerpts anyway, Autoblog cannot fetch the full content from the source site.
- If you have selected to import excerpts, then at For excerpts use, enter the number of Words, Sentences or Paragraphs your imported excerpts should contain.
- The Link to original source field is where you can specify the text that will appear after each imported item, and that will link to the original item on the source site.
- Check Ensure this link is a nofollow one if you are concerned about a possible negative impact on your site’s PageRank. See this article at Google for more.
- Check Open this link in a new window to, well, you know. :)
Feed processing is where you schedule how much of the feed should be imported, how often, and how to import it.
- First, select to Import the most recent number of posts (feed items) that you want. You can set it to import up to 100 items each time the feed is processed.
- Then select the frequency at which to Process this feed. You can also pause the feed by setting this to “Never”.
- Starting from and Ending on is where you can specify the date range for the imported items you want. If you don’t want it to stop, leave the Ending on fields blank.
- Set Force SSL verification to “No” if you are getting SSL errors, or if your feed uses a self-signed SSL certificate.
- Set Override duplicates to “Yes” if you want to update previously imported items with any new content that may be available. Set this to “No” to skip any duplicates in the feed.
If you’ve been setting up your first feed while following along, now’s the time to click the Create Feed button at the bottom right of your screen. If you do not want to keep the feed you just set up, simply click Cancel.
Once you’ve created your feed, you’ll be redirected to the All Feeds page where a nice little confirmation will appear at the top of the screen.
You may not see details appear immediately on the Autoblog Dashboard screen as importing the feed items and processing can take a bit of time. Patience, Grasshopper. :)
Now it’s time to have a play with all the cool addons that you can activate for Autoblog.
As you can see, there are quite a few addons! Let’s take at look at each one, shall we?
Allow Force Feed
This addon adds a new checkbox at the bottom of the feed settings page that allows you to override feed validation, and force a feed to process even if it has an incorrect MIME type. This can help with compatibility for unusual feeds. Use with caution.
Append text to post
This one enables you to append some custom content to the end of each imported feed item. You can also use any shortcodes you need to here.
A variety of placeholders are available to dynamically insert the text too:
- %ORIGINALPOSTURL% adds a link to the original post on the source site.
- %FEEDURL% displays the URL of the feed used to fetch the post.
- %FEEDTITLE% displays the title of the feed.
- %POSTIMPORTEDTIME% (description coming soon)
- %FEEDID% will display the ID of the feed.
- %ORIGINALPOSTGUID% (description coming soon)
- %ORIGINALAUTHORNAME% will display the name of the author of the post from the source site.
- %ORIGINALAUTHOREMAIL% will display the original author’s email if available in the feed.
- %ORIGINALAUTHORLINK% will display a link to the original author’s profile on the source site if available.
Canonical link in header
This addon doesn’t add any option to the feed settings page. What it does do is link the post title to the original source. This can be very handy if you are sourcing content from a variety of sites (like a news aggregation site) and using excerpts. Visitors to your site who wish to read the full article will be redirected to the source site.
Allows you to override feed content sanitization and force a feed to import bare content even if it has usually blocked tags. This can help with compatibility for unusual feeds. Use with caution.
Featured Image Import
This addon will import the featured image along with the feed item. It also adds the image to your media library, attaches it to the imported post, and marks it as featured image.
Once activated, you can select which type of image in the feed item to use on your site as the featured image.
- Don’t import featured image (turns the feature off for this feed without deactivating the addon).
- Use media:thumbnail tag of a feed item.
- Find the first image within content of a feed item.
- Find the last image within content of a feed item.
- You can also upload a default image to use if no image is found or imported.
This addon doesn’t add any option to the feed settings page either. It simply imports any/all images in a feed item to your media library and attaches them to the imported post.
Post formats addon
Description coming soon.
Replace Author Information
This one has no settings either. It simply replaces the author details shown on a post with those of the original author from the source site.
This addon removes all image tags from the imported post content and allows you to replace those tags with your own custom text.
This addon adds a Twitter post type and processes tweets to have correct links.
Use External Permalinks
Description coming soon.
Youtube Feed Import
Description coming soon.
The plugin attempts to create a database table. If it isn’t automatically created then you need to run the following SQL on your database:
CREATE TABLE wp_autoblog ( feed_id bigint(20) NOT NULL auto_increment, site_id bigint(20) default NULL, blog_id bigint(20) default NULL, feed_meta text, active int(11) default NULL, nextcheck bigint(20) default NULL, lastupdated bigint(20) default NULL, PRIMARY KEY ( feed_id), KEY site_id (site_id), KEY blog_id (blog_id), KEY nextcheck (nextcheck) )
If you are using the Multi-DB system, then you need to create the table in your global database and ensure you have added the “autoblog” table as a global table in your configuration file.