Creating Posts That Appear Only In RSS

Ok guys I found this trick earlier this week and realized that people could use it to increase their RSS subscribers if they used it properly. Only those of you that read my site in RSS are able to get this lesson. 😉

To create a post that appears in your RSS feed, but doesn’t appear on the homepage or category pages of your site, you can use the Advanced Category Plugin for WordPress. This plugin gives you an interface where you can hide a post from certain areas of your site. Here’s what the interface look like:

RSS Only Plugin

I created a special category called ‘RSS Only’ for the posts that I intend to send only to my RSS readers. As you can see in the interface above, I checked the boxes next to Archive, Home, RSS Comments, and Search – this excludes the post from appearing in those areas. I, of course, left the the RSS posts section without a check mark because I want the post to appear there.

Easy Installation of Advanced Category Excluder

  • Download the plugin. You can find a download link here: Advanced Category Excluder
  • Extract the plugin. Right click on the plugin with your mouse and select ‘Extract All’, ‘Extract’, or ‘Extract Here’. Click ‘next’ a few times to finish the extraction.
  • Upload the plugin to your wp-content/plugins folder of your blog. If you’re unfamiliar with how to do this, visit this lesson that will teach you how to do it: How To FTP Using Filezilla.
  • Login to your WordPress admin and go to ‘Plugins’. Find the Advanced Category Excluder and click the ‘Activate’ link next to it.
  • On your plugins page you will now find a link to ‘ACE Dashboard’ which is where you can exclude a category from showing up in certain places.

That’s it, you’ve done it! Now when you want to give a post only to your RSS subscribers, all you have to do is add it to that category. If you can come up with a good piece of advice to use as bait, you should be able to use this trick to get an increase in RSS subscribers.

Now you’re going to have one more little issue that you’re going to need to fix. Now that you have a new category that you’re going to use to exclude posts, it will be shown in your sidebar. You don’t want this category to show there, so you’re going to want to exclude it. You’re going to want to edit your theme and find the piece of code in your sidebar.php file that looks like this:

<?php wp_list_categories(); ?>

That is the code that makes your categories appear in your sidebar. In order to exclude a category, you can change it to this:

<?php wp_list_categories(‘exclude=8’); ?>

You’re going to want to replace the 8 with the category number of the category you want to exclude. Note: You will probably have to type this code out since WordPress has a way of messing it up. The two little quotes around the exclude command will probably turn into curly quotes. If you just backspace each and retype that code will work!

If you have any questions, you should be able to click to the post to comment. Even though it’s hidden from everyone, it still exists on my site. People simply can’t find it without getting it from RSS. 🙂

Comments 116

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  1. Very nice. Obviously it creates a URL for the post. Is the page visible to anyone who goes directly to the URL? For example, if this page is submitted to StumbleUpon, when visitors come here from SU will it be any different from any other page?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Steven, yeah it could still be submitted to Stumble. Anyone can access it if they know how to find it. 🙂

      It’s the same as any other page except it can’t be found by clicking on the site.

    1. Post
      Author

      Yeah it still could be found on a related post. I don’t think that would affect the benefit too much though. It would still be much easier for a person to subscribe through RSS. 😉

      There are quite a few ways people could find it actually. It would still appear in Technorati and Google Blog Search (and Google for that matter).

  2. I think that marking the post as private in the post status box also has the same effect; it shows in the RSS feed but not on the blog itself, and is much simpler.

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  7. Ah man, I’m the only dumbass.

    I’m new to blogging, and especially to wordpress.

    However, great tip…. but the code appeared in Left Column, not Sidebar for me…

    And it’s not working 🙁

    It’s not appearing on the RSS feeds. I can’t get rid of the RSS option on the sidebar.

    Genius though, can’t wait to actually get it sorted out.

    Thanks

    Chris

  8. Another tip for those using the category widget…

    browse to wp-includes directory and find the widgets.php file. Open it in a text editor. Find the following code

    $cat_args = “&orderby=name&show_count={$c}&hierarchical={$h}”;

    and enter the exclude like so

    $cat_args = “exclude=36&orderby=name&show_count={$c}&hierarchical={$h}”;

    For best results, should exclude in both the widget and the sidebar so you can add or remove the widget anytime you want.

    Hope this helps some as I spent the last hour working it out, lol.

    Art

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  16. It seems that if you include a list of your “recent posts” in your sidebar using the standard php get_archives(‘postbypost’) structure… then the “hidden” RSS only posts will still be visible.

    So to hide them there, I’ve found the “recent posts” plugin at http://rmarsh.com/plugins/recent-posts/ which allows you (among other things) to exclude selected categories from that list.

    Cheers
    Stephen

  17. That’s quite cool, however I’ve been wondering about doing the opposite – is it possible to make a post which doesn’t appear in your RSS feed?

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