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

    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 [http://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: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 “http://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.
    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 WordPress 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

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