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How to Create an RSS Feed for Your Web Site
Copyright Herman Drost 

Are you always looking for new and better ways to market
your web site? Search engines are always on the look out
for fresh content. When doing a search you don't want old
content popping up, you want to have the most up to date
information. Search engines will generally reward those
sites which provide new content on a regular basis ie daily
or even bi-weekly.

One of the best ways to provide fresh content is to create
an RSS Feed.

What is an RSS Feed?

RSS stands for "really simple syndication". For example I
write articles every 2 weeks and place them on my web site.
I then link to that article from my home page and from my
article headlines page. I make that article available to
others as an item in my RSS file. People who use RSS
readers or news aggregators can read then link to your
article from their web site.

To explain further about RSS readers visit:
RSS Readers

You have now syndicated your content for others to view.
This is a great way to improve or maintain your search engine
rankings by naturally getting incoming links. Every time
you write a new article it will be instantly available to
1000s of web site owners.

How to create an RSS File

RSS files use the XML language. This is similar to html
except you must be careful to use closing tags and be sure
to validate it before you use it. An XML file contains the
information (Title, Description and Link URL) that your
audience will receive through a RSS reader.

Here is all you need to create an RSS file:

-Title
-Description
-Link

1. Open notepad on your computer, then copy and paste the
information below replacing it with your own title,
description and link information.

The first part contains information about your web site.
The second part contains information for one of your articles.
You can also include optional information in your headlines
such as language, copyright info, contact email addresses,
or an image.

Try to limit the number of articles you wish to include in your
RSS file to 5 or less. Enclose your RSS information with
the xml and rss versions you are using followed by the
channel and item tags. Finish off with the RSS closing tag.

Here's the example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" ?>
<rss version="0.91">

<channel>
<title>Web Site Design | Hosting | Marketing</title>
<link>http://www.isitebuild.com</link>
<description>Affordable Web Design in Maryland</description>
<language>en-us</language>

<item>
<title>How to Add a Search Engine to Your Site </title>
<link>http://www.isitebuild.com/add-search-engine.htm</link>
<description>
When visitors arrive at your web site you want them to find
the information quickly otherwise they will lose patience
and move on. A great way achieve this is to add a search
engine or search box to your web site.
</description>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>

You have now created your first RSS file that is almost
ready for syndicating.
 

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2. Save your RSS file - save your RSS file in plain text
format with an XML extension ie
http://www.isitebuild.com/rss/rss-feed.xml. You can also
save it as .rss however when I originally tried this some
RSS readers did not read the file.

3. Check your RSS file - since RSS is an XML file some
characters are illegal in XML so you have to 'escape' them,
that is, insert a text string in their place.

Here are the main ones to watch out for:

-Replace all instances of '&' with: &amp; For example if
you use quotation marks ie "Click Here" change it to
&quot;Click Here&quot;

-Change every apostrophe to &apos; For example: It's a boy.
becomes It&apos;s a boy.

4. Upload your RSS file - upload your RSS file to your root
directory ie the same directory as your homepage. I saved
mine in a special folder called RSS where I keep all my RSS
articles. ie http://www.isitebuild.com/rss/rss-feed.xml

5. Validate your RSS file - don't assume your file is
correctly coded. If not, it won't be read by RSS readers and all
your hard work will be in vain.

Here are some validators:

http://feedvalidator.org/
http://aggregator.userland.com/validator

Read Part 4
How to Syndicate Your RSS Feed

Related Articles

What is RSS and Its Benefits
What are RSS Feeds and Why You Need an RSS Reader
How to Syndicate Your RSS Feed

**************************************************************************

For the best and most comprehensive guide on RSS
for Marketers grab a copy of:

 " Unleash the Marketing and Publishing Power of RSS "

Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW)
and owner of iSiteBuild.com
Web Site Design, Web Hosting, Web Site Promotion

 


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