The RSS guidelines and Flipboard RED Bolt Program below are designed to deliver a high-quality, honest reading experience to our readers. Following the guidelines outlined in this document ensures that your content is delivered via Flipboard in a timely and accurate manner. These recommendations are based on open Internet standards and best-practices. Content that works well on Flipboard works well on the web in general.

Follow the guidelines below to optimize the presentation of your content on Flipboard. For other publishing related questions, see our Publisher Q&A.

RSS Guidelines

Flipboard will use your website’s RSS feed to discover articles, and to generate article summaries. In general, any reasonable RSS feed will work well within Flipboard. However there are some best practices to ensure that your article summaries look good, and that the content you create is easily processed and analyzed by our content recommendation systems.

Optimizing your RSS feed for Flipboard:
Your RSS feed should include the following fields before being submitted:

At the channel level, include:

  • <title> the name of your feed
  • <link> the feed’s URL
  • <description> a short sentence describing the content of the feed
  • <language>  the language the feed is written in, using ISO-639 language codes and optionally  ISO-3166 country codes – examples include “en”, “fr”, “en-CA”, and “fr-FR”

For each item in the feed, you need to include the following so your content displays correctly in layout view:

  • <title> title of the item, where any special HTML characters should be encoded.
  • <link> url of the item. It is preferred that the domain name of the host in the url should match the domain for the rss feed itself.
  • <description> the excerpt for the article. It should generally contain 300 or more characters to provide an attractive, informative summary. Note that the amount of excerpt text that displays in the app may differ for each article depending on visual layout considerations.
  • <pubDate> the publication date of the article, compliant with the combined ISO 8601 format or the RFC822 standard, including a time zone.
  • <guid>a unique id for this entry in the feed (can be the item URL).
  • <author>the author(s) of the article.
  • <enclosure> use this tag to add a media element that will be used in layout view to illustrate your article. It can be an image or a video. For videos, mobile-friendly mp4 format is strongly preferred. For images, prefer a high-resolution image; the smallest dimension should not be under 700px.
  • Optional: <category> you can specify a topic that describes the article.

In addition, your feed should generally contain at least the 20 most recent items from your website.

Best Practices

  • Make sure your RSS feed adheres to the W3C specifications
  • Feed must not require a password to view.
  • Use clean and consistent URLs. Use the same URLs used when posting on Twitter, Facebook, or social networks.
  • Whenever possible, avoid redirects on your feed and article URLs.
  • Feed should be organized by date, with the most recent content at the top. Content that is more than 90 days old will not display on Flipboard.
  • Do not reuse the same image for each of your articles, as we will only display that image for one article. The other articles will display no image.

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

If Flipboard detects an AMP version of an article from your web html (via <link rel=”amphtml”>), we will display your AMP article on Flipboard as it generally results in a  better user experience. Please make sure that all AMP pages referenced in your HTML are usable and complete. Some blogging platforms automatically generate AMP pages, so keep this in mind when reviewing your web Flipboard traffic statistics.

Content Accessibility

Flipboard uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers, so please make sure that your web servers are not blocking the AWS IP range (more information here).

Outdated Feeds

If we detect that a feed has not updated with new content in 6 months, we may remove the feed from your magazine and our system. You will then need to resubmit an updated feed.

RSS Feed Troubleshooting

If you are getting an error message when adding a feed to a magazine:

  • Ensure you have the correct feed URL. Make sure there are no extra spaces before or after the url. Open the feed in a browser window first, then copy the URL. This will remove any strange spaces or characters as well as any redirects.
  • Make sure that your feed and the URLs it contains all work well in a web browser, with no missing or broken links.
  • Your website or feed domain might be blocking Flipboard in your robots.txt file. Make sure that your website and feed domain’s robots.txt allows the user-agents “Flipboard” or “FlipboardProxy” to crawl your content. More information can be found here.

If you aren’t seeing the latest article in your RSS feed in your Flipboard Magazine:

  • After you post content to your RSS feed, please wait at least 12 hours to see if an article appears in your Flipboard profile.
  • Ensure that the RSS feeds in your magazines contain new content. If there is no new content in your RSS feed, there will be no new content in your Flipboard magazines.
  • Flipboard magazines powered by RSS feeds are organized chronologically, with the most recent articles at the top. If you add older content to your RSS feed, it will be placed in your magazine in chronological order, so it may not appear on top.
  • Flipboard will generally not accept articles with a publication date more than 90 days in the past. Make sure your feed content is up to date.

 

Example of RSS Feed:

 


 

RED Bolt Program

The Reader Enhanced Display (RED) Bolt is awarded to publishers on Flipboard who are advancing the state of mobile reading through technologies that create a better experience for content on the mobile web. The RED Bolt will be shown next to a publisher’s articles in Flipboard and is used to indicate to users that the article they are about to open will load quickly and be free of ad windows that create an intrusive user experience.

Flipboard’s algorithm takes into consideration those articles with the RED Bolt, boosting those publishers who are delivering a better mobile web experience for their audiences.

In order to receive the RED Bolt on your content and be a part of this network of publishers, your website must follow these requirements (sites that have implemented AMP or similar technologies generally meet the requirements):

  • Load Time: The first page’s content must be completely visible within two seconds from first http request arrival, on a modern LTE network on recent Android and iOS phones.
  • Page Elements:  100% of first visible page must not show ads on the first screen on a modern Android and iOS phone. Elements should also load in their final intended position on the page; they should not move to accommodate any other elements.
  • Intrusive Ads: no popups, pop-unders, sticky windows or overlays.
  • No redirects: The page that’s loaded is the content page that the user was expecting to get. Similarly, we do not allow captive redirects (back means back).

Once a publisher is awarded the RED Bolt, we may continue to verify that the publisher is meeting the above requirements.

If you are not on Flipboard, sign up here for a Publisher Account and apply for the RED Bolt.

RED Bolt designations will be rolling out over the coming months and fully implemented by the end of the year.