Create Professional RSS Feeds
More and more companies are using
RSS as a means to communicate, so having an RSS
feed that is professional and well polished will
help differentiate your company from your competition.
What makes an RSS feed professional? Follow these
simple steps to polish your RSS feed and take
it to the next level...
1. Feed Image
Add an image to your RSS feed. The
image will be displayed by many feed readers each
time your feed is displayed. This will help build
and reinforce your brand or image in the minds
of people who read your RSS feed. Adding an image
to an RSS feed is relatively easy, and adds a
level of professionalism.
2. Images And Links
Add images and links within the
RSS feed. The process of adding images and links
to the description field of an RSS feed is really
quite simple if you are using software to manage
your feed, while it may be somewhat complex if
you are hand-coding your feed. Incorporating images
or hot links in the feed's content will allow
your readers to explore further and dig deeper
into your content. The added benefit, of course,
are the additional web links back to your site
from any sites that choose to syndicate or display
your feed's contents.
Properly formed code is important,
in order to ensure that all RSS readers can read
and display your feed. But it is also very important
for another reason... nothing is more embarrassing
or unprofessional than an RSS feed that is broken
or stops working. Use software to manage your
feed creation, and validate your feed on a regular
4. Easy To Subscribe
Make your RSS feed easy to subscribe
to. Include the traditional RSS icon, or an indicator
site-wide, so that website visitors can easily
locate and subscribe to your RSS feeds. Include
basic directions on how website visitors should
subscribe to your RSS feed.
5. Auto Discovery
Add "auto-discovery" code to the
HTML header of your website. Many RSS aggregators
include an auto-discovery feature, which allows
them to automatically detect when a website offers
an RSS feed. So, if your website visitors are
using one of those aggregators, they will instantly
know that an RSS feed for your content is available
from your website.
Instantly create auto discovery
code - http://www.feedforall.com/autodiscovery.htm
Add a "favicon" to your website.
Favicons (short for "favorite icons") are typically
a tiny version of a company or Web site's logo,
and appear in the URL bar of the user's web browser.
When a user bookmarks a specific Web page that
includes a favicon, that Web page loads the customized
icon into the user's browser. Because the favicon
is usually displayed next to the web site address,
it can act like a small logo or an icon that visitors
can use to remember the web site or the site address.
Feed directories and RSS Search Engines will often
use a favicon beside an RSS feed's listings. So
be sure that you have one on your website; otherwise,
you'll have nothing but a generic icon beside
your feed. Webmasters can establish branding by
creating a favicon for their website. Here is
a free service from HTMLKit: http://www.html-kit.com/favicon
7. Subscribe To Your Own Feed
Always subscribe to your RSS feed,
so you can see what your website visitors are
While it is not essential to incorporate
the above elements in your RSS feed, the additions
will result in a more professional and polished
RSS feed that stands apart from competitors in
news aggregators and RSS directories. Spending
a few extra minutes here could easily draw more
attention to your feed.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS
feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages
marketing for RecordForAll http://www.recordforall.com
audio recording and editing software.