In the most basic sense live tiles on either Windows or Windows Phone are shortcuts to apps. Not unlike the shortcuts we can place on the Windows desktop or taskbar that many are familiar with.

However, there is a significant difference between those desktop/taskbar shortcuts and the live tiles you can pin to your Windows and Windows Phone Start Screens.

They are alive with information that lets you just glance at your Start Screen on either device and see what is happening immediately and without actually opening the app.

Although we have been able to pin tiles for websites on the Start Screen in Windows 8 for some time we have not been able to do this on Windows Phone until now. With the release of the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview and the inclusion of Internet Explorer 11 we now have the ability to pin website tiles to the WP Start Screen.

Now these pinned tiles are typically static but you can make them live tiles with a great tool which is available from the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft.

It is called Build My Pinned Site and gives you a simple three step process to make your sites pinned tiles come to life on either the Windows Phone or Windows Start Screen.

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The first step is to provide your sites name, provide a background color you want to use on the tile and upload an image that can be used on the various tile sizes.

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Next you provide the link to your site’s Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed. This is what will be used to provide updated recent posts on your site to the live tile. By the way – this does not create a toast notification – it only updates the story titles on the live tile.

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The last step is to add the created meta tags for your live tile to your main pages HTML and upload the image you provided in step 1 to your website host.

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If by chance you are running your website on WordPress then there is an even simpler way to implement this live tile and that is by using the Custom Windows Pinned Tiles plugin built by Nick Halsey.

As you can see below there are just a few steps to set the plugin up with your site. With this plugin you can also control how often your RSS feed is polled for updates as well.


Thanks to Tero Alhonen for the tip/reminder about the IE Build a Site Tile website.