Creating an RSS Feed

The web is a complex and ever-changing environment. Because of this, it is necessary to constantly be on the look out for new and better ways to market your website. Currently, fresh content is the best way to attract search engines to your site. Having up-to-date information will keep the search engines coming back to your site looking for more. Because of the search engine’s attraction to new content, your updated site will be rewarded with higher placement in search results. Exactly how fresh should your content be? Consider updating your content several times per week – if not every other day, then twice weekly.

One popular trend to providing fresh content to a wide audience is the use of an RSS Feed.

RSS Feeds. What are they?

There are several beliefs as to what “RSS” stands for, but the most commonly adopted meaning is “Really Simple Syndication”. This term is quite appropriate, in fact, because of the ease of creating an RSS feed for broad distribution of your content. One example of effectively using an RSS feed is to create custom-written articles for your website. Put your articles on their own page ([http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/articles/article1.htm]).

After you create your RSS Feed, your subscribers will be able to link to a specially created web address to access your feed. Subscribers to your feed will paste a code on their own website which will display the headline and a few words (a description) of your article. The headline will act as a link back to your article (on your website). This is a direct benefit to you, both building in-bound links to your domain and pointing search engines to your website for fresh content.

Making an RSS Feed

RSS Feeds use a language similar to HTML called XML. You must be careful when using XML, not closing tags or failing to validate the code can cause problems. The RSS Feed includes information about your feed (Title of your article, short description, and a link back to your original article). Your audience will see this information instantly as you update your content. Think of the potential – thousands of websites displaying YOUR content to their visitors, and each of those visitors having the ability to get to your website with one click.

To create your RSS feed, simply copy the following code into your favorite text editor and edit a few fields. As you can see, the first part of the code (below the RSS version), is used to identify information about your website and company. The second half, beginning at , is used to identify information about your article.

YOUR TITLE HEREYOUR URL HERE
YOUR DESCRIPTION HEREen-usYOUR ARTICLE TITLE HEREYOUR ARTICLE URL HERE
YOUR ARTICLE DESCRIPTION HERE

Change YOUR TITLE HERE with the title of your RSS Feed. This can be anything; I would suggest using your brand, for example “Jacob Madison Marketing Solutions”. Then, replace YOUR URL HERE with your main URL, for example, “http://www.jacobmadison.com”. Once you have done this, replace YOUR DESCRIPTION HERE with the name of your feed. One example would be, “Internet marketing solutions”.

Finally, replace YOUR ARTICLE TITLE HERE with your article title, YOUR ARTICLE URL HERE with the web location of your new article, and YOUR ARTICLE DESCRIPTION HERE with a quick summary of your content.

Save this file to your domain, for example, http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/rss/rss-feed.xml

To keep your readers from being overwhelmed, I recommend keeping the number of articles to the 5 most recently published.

You have now created an RSS Feed that is ready for syndication.

Syndicating Your RSS Feed

By advertising your RSS Feed, you will immediately boost the web traffic to your website. Syndication of your RSS Feed will allow others to easily add your feed to their website – increasing your exposure quickly. There are a few ways to syndicate your feed.

One way is to submit your RSS feed URL to various RSS aggregators and news readers. This will allow them to check your RSS feed for updates. Popular aggregators are:

– Daypop.com

– Feedster.com

– Postami.com

– Syndic8.com

– Userland.com

Another option is to place an XML button on your home page. This little orange button has quickly caught on and is appearing everywhere, indicating that an RSS feed is available from that website. To get this on your site, copy the XML image and paste it on your homepage, linking it to your RSS page. Your code should look like this:

[http://www.YOURSITEHERE.com/rss/rss-feed.xml]
Keeping up on your RSS Feed

Be sure to maintain your RSS Feed, failing to update it regularly will cause search engines to loose interest, counteracting all of your hard work. Also, be sure to link each article back to your website to increase traffic to your website.

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