RSS Mania – Part Two – Outline of How to Create an RSS Feed

Well so now you kind of like, are in love, or are obsessed with RSS. Those little orange buttons are all over and you want to put one up in your web site or Blog or on your wall. That is cool, and it will demand a bit of technical knowledge, some writing, some research and some frustration. So here are the major steps to publishing your RSS feed and giving all that information to the world at large, which I will discuss in depth with examples in this series of articles. Right now we will outline these steps.

1. Sit back, STOP! & Think. (How is that for step one?)

  • a. Do you have information that should or would go into an RSS file? Remember that the unwritten rules of RSS is that you must update the file with “new” and more “current” information if not hourly or daily, but at least on a fairly common basis. No one is going to want to keep your RSS in their reader if the information they see every day for the next month is exactly the same as the day before it.
  • b. Additionally, though some people do this, it really is NOT good practice to put long essays into an RSS feed. What you want is the first line or description of an object, idea or news. Hook the person so he clicks on the topic in his reader, reads the summary, clicks again and finds himself on your web page.
  • c. Do you have the time to do it? There are millions of Blogs out there that were started with the best of intentions. One entry, two entries, three entries. And then they die. Why? Because the author/owners simply had no clue about the dedication demanded and time needed to update their Blogs on a regular basis. They also had no idea just how difficult he competition was to get people to read those Blogs. The same is true with RSS. You start a feed to get readers, or to pass on information to the web. You need to understand this is going to take time and patience and work. This is not a one-time one-shot one-pie-in-the-sky deal.

2. Your depth of Technical knowledge

You will need to become familiar with the following terms and understand them and perhaps learn some very simple things in how to program them.

  1. RSS
  2. XML
  3. HTML
  4. CSS
  5. Atom
  6. RSS Readers
  7. RSS Parsers
  8. RSS Validation

3. Now begins the Actual WORK!

  • a. Preparing the file – You will need a template RSS file (for the sake of these articles it will be called rss.xml though it can have any name you choose as long as it is in xml format.) Unless you are good enough to write one yourself this is critical.
  • b. Understanding the Template and what information goes where
  • c. Putting the information into the template – Each piece of information you have will go into specific [headers] and you must understand the RSS structure in the XML file to get that right.
  • d. Validating the Template – A crucial aspect. Unlike HTML, RSS is very, very, let me say this again, very unforgiving. It does not like deviations from the norm or from the basic format laid down. Getting it right can be the most trying and frustrating part of the process.

4. Okay now you wrote the RSS file, your XML file is ready and validated. Now what? Guess you think you are done. Think again.

  • a. You will have to place the rss.xml file on your web site or somewhere on the web where people can get to it.
  • b. Now you can steal, get, copy, make – whatever you choose – your own little XML/RSS or RSS – Valid button.
  • c. Hyperlink your file to the RSS
  • d. Submit your file under the correct category to RSS directories.

5. How many people will pick up your RSS? I will discuss this as well in a later article, but surprisingly, the answer here is still very vague. There are some ways of tracing the numbers, but none are foolproof, and most are very convoluted.

6. Go and get a good night’s sleep cause tomorrow you are going to have to start the process of adding information to your RSS (or changing it) all over again!

(This is a continuation from my first article on RSS – “RSS Mania Addiction – An Introduction to RSS and the Terminology”)

How to Set Up an RSS Feed in WordPress

An RSS feed is a good way of marketing your latest content to your readers. When you write your latest informative article your audience are immediately informed of this and are able to read it. In this article I will show you how to set up an RSS feed in WordPress.

RSS or real simple syndication as it is better known is a way of getting your latest articles, posts, ideas around the web to your target audience 365 days a year. Imagine all the effort you put in and how much time is spent researching and writing your article. Doesn’t it make sense to propel that content to people interested in listening to what you have to say? RSS makes this easy.

Many websites already have their own RSS facility in motion. Take for example the article sites. When you sign up to receive the service, the content will be delivered to you by way of a feed. Essentially this is what is known as an XML file containing the content such as headlines, posts, news etc. When content is delivered like this via the feed, it is known as syndication.

You can subscribe to the feed and you will receive the latest content from these sites without you having to do anything more. You can set up many feeds from many different sites and the beauty of this is that you never have to visit each site individually to receive their content again. I’m sure you are already beginning to appreciate the benefits of this.

If you have your own website you too can send your latest posts across the web. In order to do this you first need to set up your own RSS feed.

How to set up an RSS Feed

Now let’s talk about how we can create a feed for our site. Do a search in Google for Feedburner and go over to the site. This site is owned by Google so if you have a Gmail account you can just log right in. If not then you can create a new Gmail account and sign in with the details.

You will see a box with some text: ‘Burn a feed right this instant. Type your blog or feed address here:’

Go ahead and type in your blog address and click the ‘Next’ button

If Feedburner has found more than one feed at your blog then it asks you which one you would like to use. Personally I like to take the one that looks the simplest. When you have selected one click the ‘Next’ button.

You are now shown the title of your new feed. You may change this if you so wish.

Now click the ‘Next’ button.

You will now see the link for your feed at the top. It will be of the format:

<a target=_new rel=nofollow href=https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&amp;hl=en&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;prev=_t&amp;pto=aue&amp;rurl=translate.google.com&amp;sl=ar&amp;sp=nmt4&amp;tl=en&amp;u=http://feeds.feedburner.com/&amp;usg=ALkJrhjOILkQmx5i-6M6h4TeeFaPdYgN6Q>http://feeds.feedburner.com/</a> YourWebSiteName

Highlight and copy this link.

That’s really all you need. You can keep clicking the ‘Next’ button all the way to the end.

Go back to your WordPress blog and log in.

You now need to add the orange RSS symbol on your site.

In the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Widgets

In there, you need to locate the RSS (Entries from any RSS or Atom feed) widget.

If it’s not under “Available Widgets”, drag it from “Inactive Widgets, and drop it into “Available Widgets”

Then drop the RSS widget into the Primary, or one of the Footer choices on the far right.

Enter the Feedburner URL, choose 1 item to display then click Save.

The RSS widget should appear wherever you’ve put it on the site.

And that’s all there is to it. Now the world can see your latest content whenever you release it. This should bring you good traffic as more people sign up to your RSS feed.

Popular Blog Software With RSS Functionality

Selecting a well-known publishing system is usually a fool-proof option for the novice blogger. This kind of software is great because it comes packed with core features to build up a professional-looking website in no time. Problem here, however, is that unless such blog has a unique design it might not catch the eye of the surfers at first glance.

Unique layouts combined with unique features make a blog one of a kind. While this goal can be achieved adding plug-ins and custom themes to scripts such as WordPress, B2evolution or Nucleus, there are countless blogging scripts that can substitute the above blogging solutions efficiently, but not all them have RSS functionality.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an important feature that a good blogger should not miss out. Syndicating publishing news is the best way to drive traffic to any blog or website, since this service is helpful to get it listed on search engines in real time.

Serendipity, Open Blog, LifeType, Dotclear, Textpattern, eggBlog, Pixie and PivotX, are examples of blog software than substitutes WP and other publishing platforms without losing RSS functionality. Each and every of these solutions provide feeds every time a new content is added, but have different options to manage the blog and configure its look and feel. You would like to try these before going to find something else.

However, many open source publishing systems offer simplified functions that make blogging a breeze, but remove RSS from the core features. Some people believe this problem occurs when the chosen blog is powered by a database type other than MySQL, but is not that way.

There are good flat text database blogs that include RSS functionality, and there are complex blogs that rely on a MySQL database, which lack of RSS feeds. The adventurous blogger has to try all those scripts on a test server before actually decide what suite his or her needs best.

Finding blog software different to the popular publishing systems that all people use to blog is really easy, but testing these scripts is time consuming and may bring unexpected surprises, including the finding of the perfect blog system.

For the past few years blogs have been the most popular solution to build an online presence. Regardless the content or your specialty niche, set up a blog is worth, but remember to select a software solution capable to produce RSS feeds.

RSS Feeds – Easy Steps to Promoting Your RSS Feeds On Your Website

RSS is a great way to distribute your content, but what if you don’t have any subscribers?

Firstly, you need to be using RSS, short for Really Simple Syndication. A lot of people don’t subscribe to RSS because they don’t know what it is, but that’s changing. The beauty of RSS feeds are that they don’t fill up your inbox and you can’t get spammed.

Simply follow my steps to promote your feed and you should find you have loads of subscribers.

On a website, you’ll often see a little orange icon that is the RSS button. There is sometimes text that suggests readers subscribe. If a person hits on the button and they don’t have a reader, they will possibly see an XML document. That just confuses them and causes them to leave. Instead of allowing this to happen, you need to do something different to almost everyone else out there who is offering RSS feeds via the button.

Create an RSS information page.

For the many users who haven’t learned about RSS and it’s benefits, you should create a simple page that helps them learn quickly about it and why they need it. On your page you should have five simple elements:

1. A quick explanation of what RSS is. Add a link to Wikipedia’s RSS page for those who like in depth detail.

2. Three to five bullet points about how choosing an feed will benefit your readers.

3, A link to an RSS reader you like. For a really simple web based reader, I recommend using the one in Google + as it’s easy to understand. There are dozens out there, so research and choose what you like.

4. Include two or three different RSS options, web based, desktop download and even mobile device options.

5. A short paragraph on how to subscribe to your own RSS (and a link).

6. A short paragraph on why your RSS is a MUST for them!

7. Links to every RSS feed on your site, and any other relevant website feeds you offer

Now go and promote your new page!

Like everything on the Internet, you’ll need to promote it! Add your feed URL to your mail messages and in your ezines. Use something compelling to encourage readers to subscribe. Let them know how important it is to be subscribed to your site in real time.

Ensure that your subscription links are visible in every format. If they don’t see it, they can’t subscribe!

It’s that easy to promote your RSS feed to your website readers. Follow these steps and watch your subscriptions multiply.