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
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.
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.
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.
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"
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
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.