Steps to Creating & Promoting
an RSS Feed
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication
as it is commonly known, is a technology that
gives webmasters the ability to easily distribute
and publish syndicated content on the Internet.
It seems like all Internet businesses now have
RSS feeds available; at least your competitors
do. You have finally made the decision that you
have to have one. Where do you start?
Steps to Creating an RSS feed
1.) Build a Feed
There are a number of desktop and web
applications available that make feed creation
easy. I would encourage anyone creating a feed
to use one. Though not overly complicated, hand-coding
an RSS feed can become a bit confusing and time-consuming.
Most desktop software applications for building
a feed include a wizard and contact-sensitive
help, simplifying the process of creating a feed.
Following a few simple steps in a wizard generally
will produce an RSS feed in just a few minutes.
Publishers control what information
is syndicated in the RSS feed, so ultimately it
is the publisher's decision as to whether to include
teaser copy or full articles. Consider what you
are trying to accomplish and who your target audience
is when building the feed.
Software to Build a Feed - http://www.feedforall.com
Tutorial for Creating Feed by Hand using XML
2.) Transfer the Feed Onto
Once you have constructed an RSS
feed you will need to transfer the feed to your
server. This can be done using a standard FTP
client (if it is not built into the feed creation
software). The feed is usually placed in the domain's
root directory like this: http://www.mydomain.com/nameoffeed.xml
, but as long as you know where it is it doesn't
3.) Display the Feed on Your
Website Using a Graphic of Some Sort
In order to signal to website visitors
that an RSS feed containing content related to
the website is available, include a colorful graphic
on the website. It has become a standard that
nearly all websites that have RSS feeds available
use colorful graphics such as flags as indicators
that RSS feeds are available for specific content.
The flags were initially bright orange rectangles
but as the popularity has grown, webmasters have
bent the rules a bit. NotePage has made a free
online RSS graphic tool available that allows
users to quickly customize buttons by selecting
the text on the button and the color scheme of
the button. Once the color and text is entered,
a custom graphic is instantly created. Webmasters
can easily match the style of the RSS button to
a website's theme. Graphics experience is not
required. Simply select alternative colors and
insert text to personalize RSS feed graphics.
The RSS graphics tool can be used by clicking
the following URL http://www.feedforall.com/public/rss-graphic-tool.htm
or choose ready made graphics fom: http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-graphics.htm
4.) Include Information in
the HTML of the Web Page So RSS Readers Auto-Detect
After publishing an RSS feed it
is important to let visitors know that the feed
exists. Aggregators will automatically detect
RSS on a website if you add a small bit of code
in the header field of an HTML page.
[link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml"
Be sure to replace http://www.yourdomain.com/rss.xml
with the URL to the RSS feed and replace the brackets
with "<" less than and ">" greater than symbols.
5.) Display the Feed's Content
on a Website
Contents contained in an RSS feed
can be added to a website, providing site visitors
an alternative method for viewing the content.
The information will also help increase search
engine interest. Displaying the feed as HTML can
be accomplished. Providing fresh content on a
regular basis will encourage site visitors return.
Tutorial for Displaying Feeds - http://www.small-business-software.net/display-rss.htm
6.) Submit the Feed to RSS
Directories and Search Engines
As a rapidly increasing number
of content sources, new and old, migrate or add
RSS as a key distribution channel, and as more
people utilize RSS newsreaders and aggregators
to keep themselves informed, the ability to maintain
high exposure and visibility is gradually shifted
from complete attention to major search engines
and content optimization techniques to an increasing
awareness of RSS feed directories and search tools.
In order to increase exposure of
an RSS feed it should be submitted to RSS search
engines and directories. This can be done manually.
Just as you would submit the URL of a website
or web page to a search engine you will need to
submit the link of the actual feed located on
your website to the RSS directories. There is
a large list of RSS directories at http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm
. If you prefer to automate the submission
process try RSS Submit at: http://www.dummysoftware.com/rsssubmit.html
. An evaluation version is available.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS
feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages
marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.