Understanding RSS - Part Thirteen (Final) - How To Get Your RSS Feed Up On The Web


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This is the final installment in the RSS Mania - Understanding RSS Series. In this article we will discover just how to get your RSS Feed up on the web, and what is possible and what is not with an RSS feed.

  1. Naming your RSS file - Your file name does not have to be rss. xml You are welcome to name it to whatever your little heart desires, though the . xml extension is kind of important for your editors to know just what file the software is dealing with.
  2. Now that you have the file - what do you do with it? Okay first thing is first. Take the file and place it in your Web directory where everyone can get to it. Lets say we named the file “ballchain. xml" and we move it (ftp) to our web directory under the address of www.janisjoplin.com/rss/ballchain. xml. Now we know and the rest of the world will know where that file is. Don't put it in a secured or password directory UNLESS you are only granting secure, password access to it to specific people.
  3. Now before you do anything else, BEFORE you release this great RSS feed to the world you MUST make sure it is valid. Of course you have been careful. Of course you never make typos. Of course you got it down pat. Still go and VALIDATE. How do you do this? Well nothing can be simpler. There are many validating engines out there. One very good one, which will of course drive you crazy over every small mistake, but it is good is at: http://www.feedvalidator.org. When you have an error it will lead you to the pages that explain your error. You should get into the habit of validating your feed EVERY TIME you change the RSS file.

  4. Okay NOW we can finally go get our little orange “XML" or “RSS" button. That is easy. If you want to just go to a sight with the button already, and since it is public domain just copy the image with your browser. Move it over to your Web, and put in on your page where you will offer RSS to the world. Then add an href command to the button, so that when a user drags it into their aggregator the correct file will be grabbed. The code will look something like this: < img src="www.janisjoplin.com/rss/rss. jpg" WIDTH="48" HEIGHT="14"> You also have the option of going to a site where you can create your own button. One such internet site is: http://www.lucazappa.com/brilliantMaker/buttonImage.php There you can make a standard size RSS button with your own logo on it.
  5. Now you have the file and logo and the hyperlink to your RSS feed on your main page. Now you have to go out and Submit your feed address to the RSS Feed Directories. There is also software that will do this for you as well. Instead of listing the many RSS feed directories here, just Google or Yahoo for “RSS Feed Directories" and submit your RSS URL to them. Remember the URL to your feed is NOT your home page. It is rather “www.janisjoplin.com/rss/ballchain. xml".
  6. Think you are done? Hah! Now you want the major search engines to know about your feed right?
    • Yahoo - http://publisher. yahoo.com/promote.php is where you begin. In the end you will have your very own Yahoo RSS Feed button for your feed, which Yahoo will give you the code to add to your web page as well.
    • Google - http://www.google.com/intl/zh-cn/webmasters/addfeed.html and again in the end you will have an RSS Google button to add to your feed.
    • MSN is a bit tricker. For some reason they keep the information on registering your feed with them a universal secret. http://rss. msn.com/publisher. armx will tell you how to do it.
    • Once you get more sophisticated you will see the Newsgator button and a bunch of others. Since Newsgator is one of the major players in the market you should check them out at http://www.newsgator.com
  7. UPDATE Your Feed - Now you created your xml file, uploaded that and the image to the web, submitted your feed, gotten a whole host of RSS feed buttons, from Google, Yahoo, MSN and NewsGator. Now all you have to do is make sure that you update your content on a fairly continuing schedule and that your RSS feed is constantly available.
  8. Will you know how many people access your feed? This is a tricky and difficult question with no real solution as of yet. So the answer is no, you will not. Unless you are a real techie and want to spend time in mining your server logs or putting invisible images into your feed (like they do in email to see if it was opened and in RSS that is not foolproof) forget it. You can of course mine your server logs looking for hits on the ballchain. xml file but that is time consuming and an incredible amount of work. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT PUTTING Javascript IN THERE OR SOME OTHER SCRIPT SO A HIT COUNTER CAN COUNT IT. It will destroy the well formed XML and will not be aggregated or read as it will no longer be an RSS feed document.
  9. RSS IN your Web Site - If you go to some sites on the web, not only will they offer you their own orange button but you will see an RSS feed in fed into their web pages. And when you see that you say “Hey I want this in my web site too!" Well you can do that as well. But before I tell you where to go on the net to get it (its for free too) I want to explain two possibilities here. The reason why many sites (including my own) put an RSS feed on their web page, is because it creates and adds content to the web site. After all the whole issue of content is what makes places like www.ezinearticles.com rock! If you are interested in content ONLY for your viewers than you don't have to worry about the following. However, if you are interested in content for search engines as well be aware of the following two possibilities.
    • Many places will offer you a Javascript code to put in your web page. This is great, but be aware that search engines are “blind" to Javascript. What is placed within that code is simply not taken into account. Therefore, all the content being picked up by your link to the New York Times RSS Feed and put on your web site will not be indexed.
    • Some places offer you PHP code as well. This requires that your web server supports PHP, which if you are not a techie you will have to check. And then you will have to usually make sure that your page is named say home. PHP and not home.html After that you can insert the PHP code into your page (as short as the Javascript code). BUT the GREAT thing is that search engines DO SEE the content that is in that PHP code, and that content will be indexed along with your web site. And search engines LOVE CONTENT.
    For either possibility you can check out one such place. http://www.rssfeedreader.com/ There are others and once again a search will reveal a world of possibilities. Rssfreereader.com does have some really good options though both for Javascript and for PHP.

  10. RSS Aggregator - There are zillions of those. If you use FireFox you can find some great RSS aggregators as Browser extensions. If you want a Desktop Aggregator just do a search for them. And then of course there are Windows aggregators that work within your browser (not as extensions). I don't feel right in suggesting one product over another, so I will not give a list here. They are readily available in any search on the web. Some are free, others you pay for. It is your decision.
  11. Well we have come to the end of our RSS Mania - Understanding RSS Series. Some things like CSS files and formatting your RSS for HTML are not in the purview of this series and are a lot more technical. However, I hoped you learned about RSS and why this mania is sweeping the web.

This Article was Part Thirteen and the final installment of the RSS Mania - Understanding RSS Series. All parts of this series are available at Ezine Articles (www.ezinearticles.com)

  1. RSS Mania Addiction - An Introduction to RSS and the Terminology
  2. Outline of How to Create an RSS Feed
  3. The Template File
  4. The Basic Elements of the Channel Element
  5. How The RSS Feed Works & Some Programming Constructs
  6. RSS Channel Sub-Elements Specifically Image & How To Use It
  7. Understanding RSS - The Elements Within the “Item" Element
  8. Understanding RSS - Podcasting, VideoCasting & The Magic of the Enclosure Sub-Element
  9. Understanding RSS - Rounding Out The Multi-Media - The CDATA Command
  10. Understanding RSS - A Basic Template File to Create Your Very Own RSS Feed
  11. Understanding RSS - A Full RSS Template File to Create Your Very Own RSS Feed
  12. Understanding RSS - A Full RSS Feed Template For Podcasting & VideoCasting
  13. Understanding RSS - How To Get Your RSS Feed Up On The Web

Copyright © 2005 Ted W. Gross. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only. )

Ted W. Gross owns Virgin Earth http://www.virginisrael.com , a real estate brokerage firm in Jerusalem, Israel. Virgin Earth represents residential and commercial real estate all over Israel. Virgin Earth also maintains an RSS Feed on its current properties and also operates Virgin Earth - Israel Tourism & Information Portal on the same site. Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works. This can be found at: http://www.virginisrael.com/twg/iw.html . Virgin Earth Blog can be found at: http://virginearth.blogspot.com/


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