Subscription Icons WordPress Plugin

Introduction and Features

Subscription Icons screen shot

The Subscription Icons WordPress plugin allows you to put a set of icons for RSS subscriptions on your WordPress blog page (typically in the sidebar section).

The plugin currently gives you a choice of adding icons for the following RSS aggregators (as pictured; note that each icon can be turned on or off individually): Plain RSS, AmphetaDesk, AOL, Bloglines, Google, iTunes, MSN, Netvibes, Newsburst, Newsgator, News Is Free, Technorati, Yahoo, Zune.

The plugin also lets you choose the format of the icon presentation, and you can either put the icons list automatically into the "Meta" section of your sidebar by selecting an option, add it as a Widget, or add it manually to another spot in your WordPress theme. Subscription Icons is also internationalized.

Installation and Usage

To install the Subscription Icons plugin:

  1. Download the file (bottom of page). The current version of Subscription Icons is 1.07. If you were using a previous version, you can upgrade to the current version by following the steps below.
  2. Extract and upload the three required files: SubscriptionIcons.php (which contains the plugin scripts) into wp_content/plugins, and the two icon images (mymsn_icon.gif and rss_icon.gif) into subdirectory subscribe_icons.
  3. The other files (MO/PO/POT files) can be used to localize Subscription Icons to a different language. If your WordPress is in Spanish or Lithuanian, install the file or file into the subdirectory subscribe_icons. (Thanks to user Mario A. Núñez Molina for corrections on the Spanish translation, and user Augustas Gutautas for contributing the Lithuanian translation.) If your WordPress is in some other language, or if you prefer to have a different translation of Subscription Icons, you can use the subicons.pot file to translate Subscription Icons -- see the article Translating WordPress for more information on how to do that. Note that if your WordPress is using a locale called "xx_YY", then you will need to end up with an MO file named "", so you may need to rename the files provided.

To activate the plugin and set options:

  1. Log in to your WordPress administration page.
  2. Click on "Plugins" in the top or side menu bar, and activate the "Subscription Icons" plugin. If you need more detailed information on how to manage WordPress plugins, please visit the Managing Plugins page on the WordPress site.
  3. Click on "Options" or "Settings" in the top or side menu bar, depending on what version of WordPress you are running, and then click on "Subscription Icons". This will open up the Options screen for this plugin.
  4. Choose options as desired (see below), and click "Update Options" to save them.

Detailed Option Instructions:

The Display option allows you to choose how the icons are displayed in your blog:

  • "HTML List" means that the icons will be placed inside an HTML bullet list, with each icon as a list item. This is the default.
  • "Each icon on a line" means that the icons will have HTML <br> tags between them, so that each appears on its own line. Choose this option if the "HTML List" option is causing unwanted bullet characters to appear on the screen.
  • "No line breaks" will put the icons all together with nothing between them, and let the browser determine line breaks. This is the best option to choose if you want to save space, or are putting the icons into a header or footer rather than a narrow sidebar.

The "Put subscription icons in Meta section of sidebar?" check box allows you to choose where to place the icon section. If you check the box, and your Theme has a standard WordPress "Meta" section, then the subscription icon section will appear in the Meta section, along with information supplied by other plugins. If you do not check the box, then you control where the icon section appears -- which could be in a header, sidebar, footer, or even the main page. Simply decide where you want it, and put the following line into your template there:

<?php if( function_exists( 'subicons_list_icons' )) { subicons_list_icons(); } ?>

As of WordPress version 2.2, Subscription Icons can also be added to the sidebar using the Widget mechanism built into that version of WordPress. If you are using a Widgetized theme, just put the Subscription Icons widget in your sidebar, in the Widget screen of the Presentation admin menu (WordPress versions prior to 2.5) or the Widget screen of the Design admin menu (WordPress 2.5 and later).

The "Display subscription icons" section of the options page allows you to turn on or off each individual subscription icon. Check the box if you want the icon to be displayed for the corresponding RSS aggregator, and uncheck the box if you do not want it to be displayed.

Frequently Asked Questions (and answers)

  1. When I use this plugin, the MSN and RSS subscription icons do not show up in my blog, even though they are checked in the options. Why?
    Make sure when installing the plugin from the zip file that the two GIF image files go into the subscribe_icons subdirectory under the WordPress plugins directory.
  2. I installed and activated the plugin, and the options page displays correctly, but the subscription icons do not appear in my blog. Why?
    The Subcription Icons plugin, by default, works with the standard WordPress "Meta" mechanism, which means that the icons go into the sidebar at one of these two lines:
    <?php do_action('wp_meta'); ?>
    <?php wp_meta(); ?>
    That assumes you have the checkbox checked that says to put them into the "Meta" section of your sidebar. If you don't have one of the above two lines in your theme, you have no Meta section, and the icons will not display. However, see instructions above to learn about other ways to get subscription icons to appear in your blog.
  3. The icons are apearing twice in my sidebar. Why could that be?
    If you have the checkbox checked in the Subscription Icons options page that says to put the icons in the "Meta" section, and also put them in using one of the other methods shown above, they will likely appear twice (most sidebars display the "Meta" section). Uncheck the "Meta" option and save your options, and you will likely only have one copy of the icon list.
  4. How do I get rid of the "Entries RSS", "Comments RSS", "Login", and other links in my sidebar that are showing up with my icons?
    These are coming either from your Theme putting them there explicitly, or from the "Meta" mechanism of WordPress (described above). So, you can get rid of them by either editing your theme, or using "Widgets" on your sidebar (assuming you are using at least WordPress 2.2 and your theme is widget-compatible). Widgets are described briefly above.
  5. What versions of WordPress is this plugin compatible with?
    Subscription Icons works with versions 2.0 and above of WordPress. The latest version of WordPress that has been tested with this plugin is 2.8 (beta version tested).
  6. What has changed from version to version of Subscription Icons?
    • Version 1.07 - Remove FireAnt (it has apparently gone away)
    • Version 1.06 - Remove Rojo (it has apparently gone away), and change icon for News Is Free (that icon had vanished)
    • Version 1.05 - Add iTunes and Zune, updates for Version 2.6 of WordPress (still compatible with older versions of WordPress).
    • Version 1.04 - Update to use new location of FireAnt web site.
    • Version 1.03 - Added WordPress 2.2 Widget capability to Subscription Icons.
    • Version 1.02 - Fixed bug with missing alt tags on icon images. Updated to use standard WordPress localization method for plugins, for international users. Added license file to download zip.
    • Version 1.1 - Fixed small bug in plugin startup.
    • Version 1.0 - initial release
  7. How can I find out if there is a new version of the plugin?
    Subscribe to the RSS feed on the sidebar of this page, or check back on this page regularly to see if there is a new version. Note: The mechanism in WordPress 2.3 for automatic checking of version updates does NOT work with this plugin! It only works for plugins that are hosted on a particular WordPress plugin site, and this plugin is not hosted there. Sorry!

Questions, Comments, and Bugs

The Subscription Icons plugin is provided free, with no warrantee and no guarantee of service or support. However, Poplar ProductivityWare welcomes your comments. So if you have questions about how to install or use the plugin, suggestions for how to make it better, or wish to report a bug in the plugin, please contact Poplar ProductivityWare, or post a comment here. Thanks!