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RSS feeds and blog publishing for RPG bloggers

RSS feeds like the one on the site here are probably one of the more useful tools for websites – they provide streams of articles and information, and are usually automatically updated when you publish an article. WordPress provides one straight out of the box and also filters it down by category if needed. For example, if I only want to publish and RSS feed for the RPG category I would use http://themandragora.com/category/rpgs/feed/ rather than http://themandragora.com/feed/. It is pretty basic, but it works!

These category feeds make it quite useful for displaying specific information. For example, the ORC website uses a number of feeds: one outputs events from the calendar, another tracks recent changes in the wiki. Both are provided by different Joomla modules or applications, but they provide a similar output.

I’ve put together some brief suggestions below for tools you might like to use with RSS feeds and RPG blogs.

  • An on-line service called TwitterFeed allows the parsing of RSS feeds to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (although I hardly use the last). It’s quite useful in that its very simple to setup and automatically add articles or events from an RSS feed to appear in your twitter and Facebook streams/time-lines. Unfortunately, Google+ does not allow any third-party access of its API right now, so I’m afraid its still a manual link you’d need to do in your stream.
  • WP to Twitter is a useful WordPress plug-in allowing you to choose any or all posts to output to a Twitter account. You can also use it to hash tag  your posts, so if you tag a WordPress post with “RPG”, WP to Twitter tags it with #RPG.
  • Wordbooker allows your WP articles to be automatically published to your Facebook time-line/wall. There’s a lot of options that you can use with this, and if you have a Facebook fan or group page, you can also choose to publish to these as well.

If you’re blogging about RPGs, there’s a number of blog networks you can use that cater specifically for RPGs, notably the ones below. Note that you will need to blogging about RPGs regularly and your content should reflect that, plus you’ll need to provide an RSS feed so that they can publish your articles. They are also worth a visit as an RPGer, as they’re a lot easier to search than combing the internet for materials or information.

The RPGBA is “a collection of Pencil and Paper Role Playing Game related websites that opt-in to be aggregated. Members benefit from having a relationship to each other and by having a unified place for people to look for RPG material. The RPGBA does not include the entire source material but rather includes the first 100 words and links back to the original source. In this way members get traffic to their respective sites while still getting the benefit of belonging to the Alliance.”

The RPG Bloggers Network provides a similar service but is slightly more basic (being older). Note that you will need to  “make sure you’ve been posting regularly for at least three months. I know this seems like a pain, especially if you are just starting out. But we need to see that you are a regular updater before we consider accepting your blog.”

If you’re planning to blog about RPGs, you might also find it useful to make sure that your site is using a proper Meta Description for each of your posts or pages. Bear in mind that RPG is a very common search term on the ‘net so make sure you are as descriptive as possible! At the very list, tag your post with the proper RPG system, rules-set, or setting. It can be difficult to find stuff to write about at first but once you get into the flow of it, then it becomes far easier.

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