What Is My Tumblr RSS Feed?
By David Nield
Your Tumblr RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed enables anyone to keep up to date with your blog posts without having to constantly visit the site itself. RSS feeds can be plugged into a client app -- such as Google Reader -- so readers can receive notifications of new blog posts automatically.
What is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a standard for publishing information on the Web. Specifically, it enables online articles (in the form of a title and body) to be pushed out to anyone subscribed to the feed. A client program, such as Google Reader, Outlook or RSSOwl, is required to sign up to and view RSS feeds, though RSS functionality is also built into most modern browsers. By signing up to RSS feeds for sites they're interested in, users can receive notifications of new articles without having to visit each site in turn.
Tumblr's RSS Feature
Tumblr automatically publishes an RSS feed for each of the blogs hosted on its network. The URL for this feed is the Tumblr URL with "/rss" appended to the end. Most themes display an "RSS" link by default, but if it is missing, check the theme appearance options for the relevant setting or add the HTML code yourself. You can also add a static page that links to the RSS feed. Alternatively, switch to a different theme that displays a link to your Tumblr's RSS feed.
Tag-Specific RSS Feeds
Tumblr also creates RSS feeds for each of the tags on your Tumblr posts. Adding "/tagged/news/rss" to your blog URL, for example, would show the RSS feed for all posts with the "news" tag. This enables users to sign up for specific types of posts from your site, and again, you can create a link on the blog's front page to help people sign up to the various feeds that are available. The format of RSS feed updates varies depending on the type of Tumblr post you've created -- photos without captions will have "Photo" as the title, for example, whereas photos with a caption use this for the title field.
Setting RSS Options
Open the settings screen from the Tumblr dashboard (via the gray gear symbol) and you can click on individual blog titles to make changes to that blog's RSS feed. Tick "Truncate RSS feed" to include only snippets of each post in the feed -- this means viewers have to click through to your blog to view the whole post, rather than reading it in their RSS reader. Tick "Redirect this blog's RSS to a FeedBurner URL" and enter a feed you've created in FeedBurner. This feature enables you to route your Tumblr RSS through FeedBurner if you want access to advanced features such as feed analytics, embedded advertising or feed editing.
An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.