Open Thinkering


HOWTO: Add an RSS feed to Google Sites

Google Sites is wonderful. Not only can anyone and everyone sign up to make a wikified website, but it’s really easy to use and very configurable. BUT it’s got one very, very major drawback. No RSS feeds! This post shows you how you can generate an RSS feed from either an ‘announcements’ or ‘recent changes’ page quickly and easily. 😀

If you’re an educator, you might want to try Google Sites as part of Google Apps Education Edition. It’s free. I’ve configured it on my domain and it makes life very easy. Throughout the following I’m going to be using my Google Sites-powered as an example.

RSS feed for ‘announcements’ page

If want to create an RSS feed for a blog-like announcements page, you’re looking for a page similar to the one below. You are given an option to create this kind of page when you click ‘Create New Page’.

Google Sites - Announcements page

You need to highlight and copy the URL of your announcements page:

Google Sites - copy announcements page URL

…and then head over to this Yahoo! Pipe and paste the URL you just copied from your announcements page into the box:

Yahoo! Pipes - paste Google Sites 'announcements' page URL

Once you’ve done this click the ‘Run Pipe’ button and  you should see something like the screenshot below (although obviously yours will reflect the contents of your ‘announcements’ page!):

Google Sites 'announcements' page in Yahoo! Pipes

Now all that’s left to do is to discover what your RSS feed URL is by clicking on the orange RSS icon:

RSS icon in Yahoo! Pipes

You should see something like the screenshot below, although it may look slightly different if you use a web browser other than Firefox – and will, of course, depend on your websites’ content:

RSS feed created from Google Sites announcement page using Yahoo! Pipes

You can now take the URL of the RSS feed that’s just been created:

Copy URL of RSS feed from Google Sites 'announcements' page generated by Yahoo! Pipes

…and add it to your Google Sites-powered website, along with the web-standard RSS feed icon!

RSS feed on Google Sites page

RSS feed for ‘Recent site activity’

If, however, you want to create an RSS feed from updates made to the site as a whole, you need first of all to locate the ‘Recent site activity’ link at the bottom of your website:

Google Sites - Recent Site Activity

Once you’ve located that page, simply go through the same steps as above, but use this Yahoo! Pipe instead. 😀

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11 thoughts on “HOWTO: Add an RSS feed to Google Sites

  1. I tried something similar with and the next day it broke. I’ll have to try again with Yahoo… (Do I end this comment with an exclamation point, because the last word is Yahoo! or do I end with a period? I don’t feel that I can exclaim a sentence about creating RSS feeds.)

    Thanks for the tip.

  2. I just tried this on my own Google Sites web site. However my site requires login – any idea how I can do this in this pipe (supply user+password)?

    — Shaul

  3. My Google Sites web site requires a login, otherwise I cannot fetch from it. Any idea how I can add login (user+paswword) to this pipe?

  4. When I post my “recent site activity” link in the pipe it isn’t finding any of my recent site activity…any thoughts? thanks!

  5. Glad to see you found my two pipes useful, but it’s a shame that they’re even necessary… Keep in mind that a site has to be public for this to work.

    I’m looking forward to the day when Google adds this simple and obvious feature to Sites.

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