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Create RSS | Make RSS Feeds

RSS is a standard for syndicating content on the Internet. RSS feeds are used in a variety of ways to distribute all types of content via the Internet. The benefits for individuals subscribing to RSS feeds have resulted in a rapid growth and adoption rate. Software and tools have made RSS feed creation and management easy, even for non-technical individuals, which has also fueled the growth of RSS feeds.

How To Create RSS

It is no longer necessary to manually create an RSS feed. There are a number of WYSIWYG software applications available, which simplify the creation of an RSS feed. This means that webmasters do not really need to understand the code and details of the RSS Specification in order to create an RSS feed. One such product is FeedForAll, which allows you to easily create, edit, and publish RSS feeds. Both Mac and Windows versions are available at http://www.feedforall.com .

Feeds can also be manually constructed from scratch as well, and there is a simple tutorial that will walk you through the process at http://www.make-rss-feeds.com/making-an-rss-feed.htm .

And, if you have existing content in a database that you would like to include in an RSS feed, you can use a PHP script like SQL2RSS to extract the data from the database and populate an RSS feed.

All of these things will simplify the process and help in the creation of an RSS feed.

Transfer

Once the RSS feed is created, it needs to be transferred to your website server, which is commonly done using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software. If you are using RSS feed creation software, it will likely have a built-in FTP client for this purpose. Otherwise, you can use any other FTP client to upload RSS feeds to the website.

Validate

Once you have constructed a feed, it should be validated. If you are using software (like FeedForAll), it may have a built-in validator to help you insure that the feed is correct and proper. If you are building the feed by hand, be sure that you use some sort of validator to make sure the feed is properly formed. A feed that contains invalid syntax will be unreadable by many of the of the RSS readers, so validation is very important.

RSS Promotion

Once you have created, uploaded, and validated an RSS feed, you need to let your website visitors know that it is available. There are a number of ways to promote your RSS feed. The more effort put into promoting the feed, the more quickly it will become popular.

In order to send a signal to your website visitors that an RSS feed is available containing content related to the website, most webmasters include a colorful graphic on the website. It has become a standard that nearly all websites having RSS feeds available will use colorful graphics such as flags to indicate that RSS feeds are available for specific content. The flags were initially standardized as bright orange rectangles, but as the popularity has grown, webmasters have bent the rules a bit and have become more creative with their flags and graphics. Use a colorful graphic that works within your website design to signify that you have an RSS feed available.

Additionally many RSS feed readers and aggregators will automatically detect the presence of an RSS feed on your website if you add a small bit of code in the header field of an HTML page....

[link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="http://www.yourdomain.com/rss.xml"]

Be sure to replace "http://www.yourdomain.com/rss.xml" with the actual URL to the RSS feed, and replace the "[" and "]" square brackets with "<" less-than and ">" greater-than symbols.

In order to increase exposure of an RSS feed, it should also be submitted to RSS search engines and directories. Just as you would submit the URL of a website or web page to a search engine, you will need to submit the link for the actual RSS feed located on your website to the various RSS directories. There is a large list of RSS directories at http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm .

Ongoing RSS Feed Maintenance

Feed maintenance is a very important aspect to RSS feeds. You will want to continually add to your RSS feed in order to provide subscribers with new and ever-changing content and information. Otherwise, they'll lose interest and look for information elsewhere.

As a rapidly-increasing number of content sources, new and old, add RSS as a key distribution channel, and as more and more people utilize RSS newsreaders and aggregators to keep themselves informed, the ability to maintain high exposure and visibility has gradually shifted from complete attention to major search engines and content optimization techniques to an increasing awareness of RSS feed directories and search tools.

 

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com 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.