Making software do what it’s not designed to do

Facebook, Twitter, Google+ iconsFrom a reader: I’m using Expand2Web’s SmallBiz Theme for WordPress. I want to let folks subscribe to my RSS feed from the header, but my choices are limited to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Can you help?

My investigation revealed that the SmallBiz configuration settings for the three social networking options are linked to the code contained in header.php (since they reflect content visible in the header, that makes perfect sense). Further review disclosed that the icons used in the header display are located in the images folder associated with the SmallBiz theme. I opened each icon in Photoshop and found out that their height and width are exactly 21×21 pixels.

The reader said she wanted to keep her Facebook and Twitter links and replace Google+ with her RSS feed. Given that added piece of information, I searched on the Internet for an existing RSS graphic that I could download and then resize to the desired dimensions using Photoshop. Since the Facebook and Twitter icons are PNG files, I saved the resized RSS icon under the name, “feedburner.png,” with background transparency turned on.

I use an OS X software app called MAMP that allows me to set up and test a website configuration on a local machine that doesn’t require an Internet connection. I also run the SmallBiz Theme for one of the sites I manage. Opening a Finder window, I navigated the MAMP folders until I found the images directory associated with the SmallBiz theme. I dropped the feedburner.png I created into this folder.

From here, I had to figure out what text I needed to change in the theme’s php code. I opened header.php from the WordPress admin page and scrolled down until I found references to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

<a href="” class=”headergoogle” title=”Follow Us on Google+!” target=”_blank”><img src="/images/googleheader.png” alt=”Follow Us on Google+!” />

I replaced /images/googleheader.png with /images/feedburner.png, left the other code as-is, and saved the changes.

Afterward, I launched WordPress using MAMP and entered my admin name and password so I could access the list of SmallBiz Options. I then selected the Company Logo | Business Information menu.

SmallBiz Options menu

In the dialog box labeled “Optional Google+ profile URL used in Header” I entered a valid RSS feed address and clicked the Save Changes button.

Social Networking Dialog Box

I then opened the home page of the test website that runs on my local machine. The three icons – Facebook, Twitter, and RSS – appeared in the upper right corner.

Social Networking Icons

I clicked the RSS feed icon, and verified that I could open the feed URL address I entered.

Just because you don’t see an available menu option, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.


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Filed under Mail Bag, Third Party Software, Troubleshooting

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