Embed an iStockphoto RSS feed into your website using Google Feedburner

Let’s get to it. To start with, I’m an iStockphoto contributor. At the moment I contribute vector illustrations, but I’m looking to get into photography at some stage too.

Today, we’re going to find out how to:

  1. Find your iStock recent image RSS Feed
  2. Use Google Feedburner to embed the iStockphoto RSS feed into your website
  3. See how many people are clicking on your feed links

Please note, this method I am about to describe allows you to embed up to 10 images from your iStock recent uploads into your website. Why 10 you ask? Well that’s all that comes out of the iStock feed. Also, I am using Google Feedburner as it lets you get statistical information on click throughs etc plus it automatically updates your website with your most recent images. Feedburner will provide you with a fairly basic looking feed, but you can style it more if you know some CSS coding. If you don’t know CSS maybe find someone who does and they can style it for you.

Whilst this tutorial specifically refers to embedding an iStockphoto RSS feed into your website, you can also apply some of the methods listed here to embed any other RSS feed you may have into your website.

Just recently, I decided to redesign my website. One thing I wanted to achieve with the new site design was to automatically display my recent iStockphoto images in the hopes that people might click through from my site, to visit all my stock images on iStock.

First thing I did was to see if iStock had any plugins or widgets that allowed me to do this. After spending a while hunting around the site, I found a few different types of RSS feeds eg iStock’s latest file uploads, blog feed etc, but these were not the ones that I wanted. So I decided to hit the iStock forums. A quick search for RSS revealed some light on the subject. It appears as though quite a few people wish to be able to embed an RSS feed of their images onto their site and that iStock doesn’t really provide detailed instructions on how to do this.

1. Find your iStock recent image RSS Feed

I stumbled across the post “RSS INFO how come istock wont document ???” by escapedf. In this post, sturmwarnung provides some insight. You can find your own recent image RSS feed by using this link – http://www.istockphoto.com/istock_myfiles_rss.php?ID=###### and replace ###### with your own iStockphoto contributor ID.
If you don’t know where your contributor ID is, go to your personal iStock landing page (you can get there by clicking on your username in the top left corner) and look in the browser address bar. The URL should look something like this http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=#######. Instead of ####### there will be a different number. That is your contributor ID.

iStockphoto - User ID

iStockphoto - User ID

So basically, the link to your iStock RSS feed should look something like this;
“http://www.istockphoto.com/istock_myfiles_rss.php?ID=######” (don’t forget ####### is where you put your ID)

Now, if you place this link into your browser address bar, you’ll get a heap of fairly useless looking XML text. Whilst it is not pretty to look at, the contents of the text is very important. It is providing instructions on what to include in your iStock RSS feed.

How can we take this information and make it look nicer I hear you say? Well at first I had to think long and hard on finding a way to do this. Then suddenly it came to me – Google Feedburner. Yes, nice and easy and effective. Google Feedburner allows you to “burn” any RSS feed and convert it into something that the end user finds useful.

2. Use Google Feedburner to embed the iStockphoto RSS feed into your website

Go to Feedburner. You need to sign in with your google account. If you don’t have one, you will need to sign up for one. Once you’ve signed in, you will see a page that says “Burn a feed right this instant.”

Google Feedburner - Burn a feed right this instance

Google Feedburner - Burn a feed right this instance

Paste your iStock RSS feed into the field (http://www.istockphoto.com/istock_myfiles_rss.php?ID=######) and then hit next. You will then see another screen. Here you can rename your feed if you wish, or you can leave the details as is. Hit next and continue following the steps. It’s pretty straightforward. You have a few options available to you play with. You can always go back and change these settings at any time.

Eventually, you will see a screen that says “Your feed is ready for the world”.

Google Feedburner - Your Feed is ready

Google Feedburner - Your Feed is ready

Now what? Basically, you’ve set up the feed and you are ready to go.

The next step is to get the code that helps us place the feed in a website.  To do this, click on the Publicize tab at the top.  On the left hand navigation, you should see “BuzzBoost – Republish your feed as HTML”. Click this. Here, we have a number of different options such as – number of items to display, display feed title, display item author name etc. Feel free to play around with these settings and remember you can always come back and change them later.

Google Feedburner - Buzzboost

Google Feedburner - Buzzboost

One thing I discovered though is that the iStock RSS feed for your recent images only allows you to display 10 recent images. Therefore even if you set the “number of items to display” to 20, you will still only see 10 images as this is what iStock provides.

Once you have chosen your settings, hit activate. Feedburner has now generated some code which you can copy and paste into your blog or HTML. You will also be able to see a preview of your brand new image feed.

Once you have copied and pasted this code into the HTML of your website or blog, you can then style it using CSS. The feed has various classes and ID’s associated with it to help you to style it as you wish.  If you’re not too familiar with CSS styling, you can check out a guide here. Just a warning though, if coding isn’t your thing, then it may be best to get someone who knows how to code CSS to help you style it as you wish.

3. See how many people are clicking on your feed links

This step is nice and easy. Once you’ve set everything up in Google Feedburner, don’t forget to log back into Feedburner regularly and click on the “Analyze” tab. Here you can see how many people are viewing your feed.

So basically, in a nutshell, that’s how you can use Google Feedburner to help you implement an RSS feed of your latest iStockphoto images into your website or blog.

If you’d like to see this solution in action, you can check out how I implemented it on my website by navigating to my iStockphoto page.

This information is a guide only and provided “as is”. Hopefully this will help you get your own iStock feed on your website. Good luck!