How to Create an RSS Newsletter Subscription Functionality on Your Joomla Website

Joomla websites are typically not used as blogs. However, it is very common for a Joomla website to have a blog. That blog is usually a Joomla category blog (some websites use the WordPress extension, but we don’t recommend it, since you’ll be maintaining 2 websites instead of one). Of course, once a Joomla website has a blog, the next question will be, “how to tell people about new posts on that blog?”

The answer is simple, and it’s called RSS Newsletter Subscription, and this is exactly what one of our clients asked us to do this morning. Here’s a step-by-step description of what we did:

  • We downloaded NinjaRSS Syndicator. We then installed it and optimized it. (NinjaRSS Syndicator, for those who don’t know, is a Joomla extension that generates an RSS feed from one or more Joomla categories.)
  • We then created a feed in NinjaRSS Syndicator the following way:

    • While logged in to the backend of the Joomla website, we clicked on Components -> NinjaRSS Syndicator -> Feeds.
    • We clicked on New on the top right.

    • In the form, we entered the name of the feed, and then we typed in “20” (without the quotes) next to Number of messages to show in feed, and then we chose “Created Date Descending” next to Order By, and then we typed in “3600” (again, without the quotes) next to Number of seconds to cache (caching RSS feeds is important because generating them can be a bit heavy on your server, especially if your Joomla website is not well optimized), and then next to Include or Exclude Categories we selected Include Selected Categories, and finally in the list box below (next to Selected Categories) we just chose the category called “Blog” (of course, your category can be named something different, but you get the idea).

    • We hit on Save & Close on the top right.

  • Once we clicked on Save & close, we saw our feed on NinjaRSS Syndicator’s Feeds page. Under Feed url, we copied the link to the feed and saved it in a file so that we can use it later. The link to that feed was:

  • Now, we needed to use a third party service that will allow people to subscribe to our client’s RSS feed and send them a daily newsletter. An excellent service that does exactly that is Feedburner, which is a Google product. So, we visited and logged in with our client’s Google credentials.

  • Under Burn a feed…, we entered the URL of our feed, which was, we then clicked on Next.

  • We then followed the instructions by filling in the required fields, and then once we reached the Control Panel of the feed, we clicked on Publicize on the top navigation, and then we clicked on Email Subscriptions to the right. We then clicked on Activate and then we copied the Subscription Form Code (the first textarea), and finally we clicked on the Save button below.

  • At this point, we only needed to add the Subscription Form to the Joomla website. So, we created a new Custom HTML module, we called it Subscribe, and then pasted the Subscription Form Code (copied from the step above) to the Custom Output of that module (please ensure that your editor will not strip away your HTML/JS code before you do that – otherwise, you will not see the form on your website).

  • We assigned the module to the Blog menu item (the position of that module was “right”, but you might want it somewhere else in your case), and then we clicked on Save on the top right, and Presto! Our client’s blog suddenly had a beautiful RSS subscription form!

  • We tried it and it was perfectly working! The job was done!

We really hope that this guide helped you in creating your RSS newsletter subscription functionality on your Joomla website. If it didn’t, or if you found it to be a bit intimidating, then fear not, we’re always here to help. Just contact us and we’ll create an RSS Newsletter subscription on your Joomla website in no time and for a very, very affordable fee!

A few important notes:

  • FeedBurner is a Google complimentary service, and we don’t know whether Google will keep FeedBurner active forever. It seems that Google no longer believes in RSS, and it might be only a matter of time before Google ditches FeedBurner. There are several alternatives to FeedBurner, but they are mostly commercial and not that intuitive to setup.
  • FeedBurner sends newsletters daily. There is no way to set it to send weekly or monthly newsletters. FeedBurner will not send any newsletter if you don’t have any new content.

  • You can set, in Feedburner’s settings, which time you want your newsletters to be sent out, and FeedBurner will attempt to deliver your newsletters at that time. There are no guarantees though that FeedBurner will deliver the newsletters during your preferred timeframe.

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