Monday, July 17, 2006

Basics of Blogging Series: Part 23 - RSS - How To Get Your RSS Feed Up On The Web

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.

Remember: Most Blogging Software builds RSS straight in and there is absolutely nothing you need to do. This RSS part of the Blogging series is for you to get as sophisticated as you like with your own custom made 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 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: 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 HTML 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:

    <a href="">
    <img border="0" src="" 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: 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 "".

  6. Think you are done? Hah! Now you want the major search engines to know about your feed right?

  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 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. There are others and once again a search will reveal a world of possibilities. 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.

Previous Articles In This Series:

  1. The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part One: Content Is King

  2. The Basics of Blogging and Web Site Creation - Part Two: Introduction To Keywords

  3. Part Three - Keywords, Tags, Categories - Oh Vey! I Am So Mixed Up!

  4. Blogging & Website Basics - Part Four: So How The Hell Do I Get Bonafide Links To My Blog?

  5. Blogging - Part Five: Trying to Understand the Psychology Behind It All

  6. Blogging - Part Six: Viral Technology - An Introduction

  7. Blogging - Part Seven: Article Submission As A Tool To Extend Your Reach

  8. Basics Of Blogging Series - Part Eight: Using Email As An Advertising Tool

  9. Basics of Blogging Series: Part Nine - RSS Mania Addiction An Introduction To RSS and the Terminology

  10. Basics of Blogging Series: Part Ten - Outline of How to Create an RSS Feed

  11. Basics of Blogging Series: Part Eleven - Debunking a Few RSS Myths

  12. Basics of Blogging Series: Part Twelve - The RSS Feed Template File

  13. Basics of Blogging Series: Part Thirteen - The Basic Elements in the "Channel" Element

  14. Basics of Blogging Series: Part 14 - How the RSS Feed Works & Some Programming Constructs

  15. Basics of Blogging - Part 15 - Editor Tools - Qumana & Performancing Extension for Firefox

  16. Basics of Blogging - Part 15A - Qumana's Drop Pad

  17. Basics of Blogging Series: Part 16 - RSS Channel Sub-Elements Specifically "Image" (& How To Use It)

  18. Basics of Blogging Series: Part 17 - RSS - The Elements Within the "Item" Element

  19. Basics of Blogging Series: Part 18 - RSS - Podcasting, VideoCasting & The Magic of the Enclosure Sub-Element

  20. Basics of Blogging Series: Part 19 - RSS - Rounding Out The Multi-Media - The CDATA Command

  21. Basics of Blogging Series: Part 20 - RSS - A Basic Template File to Create Your Very Own RSS Feed

  22. Basics of Blogging Series: Part 21 - RSS - A Full RSS Template File to Create Your Very Own RSS Feed

  23. Basics of Blogging Series: Part 22 - RSS - A Full RSS Feed Template For Podcasting & VideoCasting

Click Here For The Cumulative Index To All Posts @ Cobwebs Of The Mind

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Categories: technology, internet, Basics of Blogging Series, What Is RSS Series
Basics of Blogging Series: Part 23 - RSS - How To Get Your RSS Feed Up On The Web

Edited With Qumana

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