Ever wanted to show off the latest entries from a blog within your signature? A new startup is making it easy.
German-based FeedsR.Us lets you create an automatically-generated graphical signature that shows the last four headlines from an RSS-enabled site. Here’s one I just threw together for The Inquisitr:
The setup is incredibly simple. You enter in the URL of the feed you want. You select a few options as far as design, including the ability to upload your own custom background image to match your blog’s look and feel, as I did above. Then, you just click one button, and the site gives you HTML code to display the GIF image with a link to your site. You could use it in e-mails, forum posts, social network posts — most anywhere that’ll take a basic HTML image tag. There’s no embedding required, as FeedsR.Us actually just updates the image itself on its server whenever it refreshes the feed.
The default configuration only updates the feed a couple of times per day, which is why the sample I posted above may not be up-to-date with the latest headlines here. You do have the option, however, to create a free account with FeedsR.Us and set up a ping service, which would cause the image to update dynamically every time a new entry is posted. This would only work, of course, with your own blog, as you’d have to add a line of code into the WordPress “Services” list to have the pings be sent.
FeedsR.Us is still in beta, so there are some kinks in it. For example, you have to type in the “http://” front of any feed URL or you’ll get an error — something the instructions don’t indicate and I figured out by trial-and-error. It also seems to have trouble interpreting some feeds. A FriendFeed RSS URL, for example, won’t go through. Most straight-forward blog sites seem to work, though. Another oddity is that while the site is mainly in English, there are random bits of text here and there in German — which is a bit confusing from a user perspective. It might make more sense to have a fully English site and a fully German site, if the developers are trying to target both markets.
Our vote: Not bad…not bad at all. This is a very simple service, no doubt, but it’s an interesting idea that could give bloggers (or blog supporters) a versatile and easy-to-customize promotional tool in an attractive graphical form. Its simplicity actually works in its favor, as you really wouldn’t want to mess with anything more complicated for what it does. There’s still some work to be done to bring this from beta into a smoothly performing product, but it’s a nice little offering for the blogging community.