How To Build A WordPress News Aggregator Version 2
After seeing all the downloads of my original free E-book on how to create a WordPress news aggregator in 15 minutes I realized that it was probably time for an update. In this version I will show a more streamlined approach to creating the news aggregator, once again it is not my place to judge the value of WordPress news aggregators, people love them or hate them. I can say I have had very good feedback on the ones I have implemented to the point where I have actually had people request their feeds be added based on traffic to the site.
Assumptions before we start:
Domain name has been purchased, if you are a domain investor you probably already have your favorite domainer friendly places, if you are not and you need a domain name to start your aggregator you can go to the consumer friendly place such as GoDaddy.com.
Hosting account has been setup,DNS has been switched over to your hosting provider.
Last assumption, your hosting provider uses Cpanel for the management of your account and has Fantastico installed which allows for easy as can be WordPress installation.
After the steps above are taken care of it is time to install WordPress, as mentioned you will want to first login to your cpanel account, to do this go to:
Example for the site I am using for test here: http://NewspaperHeadlines.net/cpanel
After doing this a login window should pop up, here is an example:
After you have logged in with your username and password it is time to find the icon for Fantastico and install WordPress, in my case Fantastico is at the far bottom right of the rows of icons. In your case it may be elsewhere, it is the icon that is a little blue smiley face, here is an example:
Click on the icon and you will get a screen with a row of menu items on the left, under blogs you should see a menu item called WordPress, click this. You will then want to click on New Installation, you will then get a screen with several items to fill in that looks like this:
In my case I am wanting to install this as the main site for the domain name so for directory I will leave blank, for admin user id you can input what you want to have as the admin id and then select a strong password.
For admin nickname, this can be anything although I tend to make it either the name of the person who is writing if it happens to be a blog, but in this case I am using reporter as the nickname.
Choose the email address you want to use unless you are using the default that it sets and then select a site name, in my case I am switching this from the domain name NewspaperHeadlines.net to Newspaper Headlines.
For description something short but descriptive, somewhat like a tagline, should be used.
After those fields are completed click the Install WordPress button.
It will take you to step 2 of 3, click on the Finish Installation button and WordPress is installed. If you want the details of the installation sent to you input your email address into the box shown in step 3 of 3 and click send email.
At this point you are done in Cpanel and Fantatsico and will be doing the rest of the work from the WordPress Admin Panel.
To get to the WordPress admin panel go to:
You will see a screen that looks like this, login with your admin login and password that you created previously.
At this point you are ready to start making some tweaks in WordPress, although going through all the various plug-ins and site tweaks I like to make is outside the scope of this how-to there are a couple things I do want to point out before we do show how to install the plugins required to start the news aggregation.
First off go to the menu item posts in the left hand menu, you will see a screen that has Hello World as the only post in your installation, if you mouse over the words Hello World you will get a little menu that gives you the option to delete that post, delete it.
After this you will want to click on the links menu in the left hand menu, you will want to check the box next the the word name in the gray menu bar, this will select all the links automatically installed, after doing this click the drop down box where the words Bulk Action are and select Delete and then hit the Apply button, this deletes all the automatically installed links.
Now, one more deletion and then we move on to just a couple more tweaks, click the Page button in the menu bar on the left, you will see an About Page, high light the text and delete that page or you can keep the page and edit it later to show what your site is about.
At this point you need to click the Settings menu button on the left menu bar, after doing this you will see a list of menu items drop down under where the word Settings was by itself before.
First you will want to click the menu item under settings that says Privacy and select that you would like for search engines to be able to index your site and hit Save Changes.
After this click on Writing in the left menu bar, after doing this you will want to click the boxes for Atom Publishing protocol, and the one below it that starts with Enable the WordPress, etc,etc, publishing protocols.
Save changes and then we have one more tweak to make.
Under the settings menu select Permalinks, you will want to select custom structure, this allows for WordPress to have title names that are readable by the search engines and more likely to be indexed. I would use the custom format of /%postname%/
This uses the title of each post name as the file name that the search engines will see. You also may want to use keyword rich category base and tag names as well.
After completing this you will want to click Save Changes.
Now it is time to install the WordPress plug-ins required to run the WordPress news aggregator, to install plug-ins you will first want to click on the Plugins item in the menu bar on the left, in this case I am only going to show the specific plugins required but if you want more information on the WordPress Plugins I use on a full installation of a blog check out WordPress Plug-ins.
For this though we will want to install FeedWordpress and the FeedWordpress Duplicate Post Filter.
After you clicked on the Plug-Ins menu item you should see a couple additional items below the Plug-ins button, hit the Add New button. You will see a screen like this:
You will want to do a search for FeedWordpress and hit Search.
The top one in the list will be FeedWordpress. You will want to hit the install button, and then when you get the pop up you will want to hit the orange Install button, and then after that you will be at a screen that gives you an option to activate, hit the activate button. After you activate you may get a pink box at the top of your WordPress admin panel that says that Magpie RSS is out of date, hit the upgrade button, it is a one second upgrade with one click.
Now it is time to install the duplicate post filter. Once again you will want to hit the Add New button below the Plugins menu item on the left and now search for Feedwordpress duplicate by hitting search plugins. Just like before you will want to hit install next to the top item which is FeedWordpress Duplicate Post Filter and then hit the orange install button in the popup and then activate.
At this point you have what you need installed to start your aggregator, now it is time to add a feed to the site so news will start to flow, you can add as many as you like but for purposes of this example we will just do one.
You will want to first hit the Syndication button on the left, now you will see something like this:
In my case, for testing purposes only I chose StlToday.com which is a news source in the St. Louis, MO area. Long term I would choose many options and have them in different categories.
To select StlToday.com I put the URL http://StlToday.com in the Add New Source box and clicked syndicate, after going to the next screen I clicked Use This Feed.
Technically at this point you are complete but there are a few more tweaks. You will notice after going back to the syndication page it shows that automatic updates are not on, it is possible to hit the Update button and have the news fed in now but lets make it easier on ourselves and turn on automatic updates.
You will want to click on Feeds and Updates in the left hand menu under Syndication, there are a ton of options for FeedWordpress which are outside the scope of this post, they are all very well defined and you can determine how you want to configure each option, in this case though we will simply turn on automatic updates so each time new news comes into the feed it will be posted automatically.
You will see under Update Scheduling a drop down, the top item is cron job or manual updates, in this case we will set it too automatically check for updates after pages load.
After doing this go to the bottom of the screen and select Save Changes.
Now click on Syndication again and click the Update button. It will automatically load the news from the feed, and now every 60 minutes get any additional news.
You will want to read through the various options for the FeedWordpress configuration, there are options to have clicks of the titles automatically direct you to the feed source or to keep the content on your site and then after reading the article they can click through to the source.
Although outside the scope of this how-to you will also want to configure categories and other items to finish up your WordPress installation and also want to upgrade your theme.
Thanks for taking the time to read, hope it helped you get moving.