How to Create RSS Feeds

 

What is RSS?

You may have been hearing about RSS for ages. But can you define it. RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. It is a XML based data format which is used to syndicate (i.e. contribute) the contents of a web page esp. dynamic web page. Well if this is RSS, then

What is a RSS feed?

RSS feed is the syndicated content itself. But technically speaking, it is an XML file which contains channel information (i.e. website information) and one or more items of a website. These items are generally the news items of a website or blog. Each item contains item’s heading, item’s description, a link back to the full contents of the item, publication date of the item and GUID element (which uniquely defines each item). An item can contain many more elements. But for the sake of simplicity we will stick to the aforesaid elements.

 

Example of an RSS Feed Item

Example of an RSS Feed Item

 

How to develop RSS feeds

1. Open notepad

2. Copy paste the following code and then customize the code in bold to meet your requirement:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
<rss version=”2.0″ xmlns:atom=”https://www.w3.org/2005/Atom”>
<channel>
<atom:link href=”https://www.mywebsite.com/my-rss.xml” rel=”self” type=”application/rss+xml” />

<title>Enter Name of your Website Here</title>
<description>Enter your website description</description>
<link>https://www.mywebsite.com/</link>
<lastBuildDate>Enter the date and time when the RSS feed was last built or updated</lastBuildDate>
<pubDate>Enter the date and time when the feed should be published</pubDate>

<category>Enter the categories which best describe your website</category>
<language>en-us</language>

<item>
<title>Enter heading of the item here</title>
<description>Describe your item here</description>
<link>Enter the link back to the full contents of the item here</link>
<category>Enter the categories which best describe your item</category>
<pubDate>Enter the date and time when the item should be published</pubDate>
<guid>Enter the link back to the full contents of the item here</guid>
</item>

<item>
<title>Enter heading of the item here</title>
<description>Describe your item here</description>
<link>Enter the link back to the full contents of the item here</link>
<category>Enter the categories which best describe your item</category>
<pubDate>Enter the date and time when the item should be published</pubDate>
<guid>Enter the link back to the full contents of the item here</guid>
</item>

</channel>

</rss>

3. Save the file as my-rss.xml

4. Upload the file on your web server.

5. Validate your RSS feed using feedvalidator.org

 

Some important points to keep in mind about RSS Feeds

  1. XML code is case-sensitive. So <item> is not sames as <ITEM> or <Item>. Similarly <lastBuildDate> is not same as <lastbuilddate> and can lead to errors. So be aware of the upper case and lower case.
  2. A RSS feed can have ‘n’ number of items or just one item.
  3. <item> and </item> tags are not used when we define a channel.
  4. lastBuildDate is the date and time when you first defined the channel (or website) or when you last modified it. You can specify any date and time. However it should not come after the pubDate (i.e. publication date) as you can’t define a website once its information is published.
  5. All date-time values must conform to the RFC 822 Date and Time Specification otherwise your feed will not work.
  6. ‘en-us’ means English of united states. It tells the RSS reader that the feed uses the English of United States.
  7. GUID stands for ‘Globally unique identifier’. There are no rules for its syntax. You can use any string to define uniqueness of an item. I used the link back to the full contents of an item as GUID for the item.
  8. The RSS Best Practices Profile contains a set of recommendations for how to create RSS 2.0 documents

 

Note: You have to use all the aforesaid elements of the channel and item in your RSS document, otherwise your feed may not be displayed by some RSS readers like Google Reader.

Example of a RSS Feed

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
<rss version=”2.0″ xmlns:atom=”https://www.w3.org/2005/Atom”>
<channel>
<atom:link href=”https://www.eventeducation.com/event-education.xml” rel=”self” type=”application/rss+xml” />

<title>Free Event Management, Event Planning Courses on Event Education</title>
<description>This website explains everything one needs, to become an event planner or event management professional. It is an online resource for event management professional</description>
<link>https://www.eventeducation.com/</link>
<lastBuildDate>Sun, 31 May 2009 09:50:23 +0530</lastBuildDate>
<pubDate>Sun, 31 May 2009 09:50:23 +0530</pubDate>

<category>event management, event planning, event planning tips, free event planning courses, free event management courses</category>
<language>en-us</language>

<item>
<title>How to form Event Management Company</title>
<description>Following are good ideas to start an event management company: Step 1: Decide the services you wish to sell. A service is something which is intangible like: wedding planning, party planning, organizing music concerts, fashion shows, conducting MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) etc. Choose those services in which you have a strong hold, in which you have majority of your experience and expertise and which can generate maximum revenue for you. Don’t try to be jack of all trades and sell all event planning services one can think of. If majority of your experience is in wedding planning, then wedding planning is best for you.</description>
<link>https://www.eventeducation.com/forming-event-company.html</link>
<category>forming event management company, event management company</category>
<pubDate>Mon, 01 Jun 2009 10:45:15 +0530</pubDate>
<guid>https://www.eventeducation.com/forming-event-company.html</guid>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>

 

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence.

The Digital Analytics Association is a world renowned not-for-profit association which helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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