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RSS Questions and Answers



Common questions about RSS, web feeds, data feeds, XML, podcasting, itunes, mediaRSS, namespace extensions and videocasting. Feel free to send our webmasters any RSS questions and we will post the answers in the RSS knowledgebase.



Published: Wed, 6 Apr 2011 09:00:00 -0400

Last Build Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2011 14:49:42 -0400

 



How to Open RSS Files?

Wed, 6 Apr 2011 09:00:00 -0400

How to Open RSS Files?

To open an RSS File, you first need a Feed Reader. These days, most web browsers have built-in Feed Readers, so you can usually simply click on a link to read the RSS Feed. Alternatively, you can download and install your own Feed Reader. For more information on how to select an RSS Reader, have a look at this video tutorial: http://www.feedforall.com/videos/select-an-rss-reader.htm



How Do I Mantain an RSS Feed?

Wed, 9 Feb 2011 09:00:00 -0500

How do maintain an RSS feed?

RSS feeds should be periodically pruned, so they do not become excessively slow to load.



What is the Difference Between RSS and XML?

Tue, 15 Jun 2010 09:00:00 -0400

What is the Difference Between RSS and XML?

XML is a standard that defines how to structure a text document using tags, to store information in a organized way in that document.

RSS follows that XML standard, but goes further to define the names of specific tags (some required and some optional), and what kind of information should be stored in them.

So, RSS starts with the XML standard, and then further defines it into something more specific.




How Do RSS Feed Readers Detect Feed Updates?

Mon, 7 Jun 2010 09:00:00 -0400

How do RSS feed readers detect updates to an RSS feed?

The most reliable way to make an existing item seem new or changed is to give it a new value in the GUID field. Some readers will check the date field, but others may not, your best bet is to include a unique GUID to let RSS feed readers know that a new item is available.



What Is Pinging?

Tue, 1 Jun 2010 09:00:00 -0400

What is pinging an RSS Feed?

Pinging search engines after you update your feed helps let them know that there is new content for them to index. The easiest way to do it is to use a program.

Check out our partners page here: http://www.feedforall.com/feedforall-partners.htm

I believe RSSSubmit will do what you want.



Can You Put Pictures in an RSS Feed?

Tue, 25 May 2010 09:00:00 -0400

Can you put images in an RSS feed?

You can either use HTML to insert a picture in the Description field, or you can add the picture to the Enclosure field.

If you then want to display the contents of the RSS feed on a webpage, a utility like our free RSS2HTML script will probably be the best bet. RSS2HTML convert the feed to an HTML wepage.



What is RSS2HTML?

Wed, 12 May 2010 09:00:00 -0400

What is RSS2HTML?

RSS2HTML is a free PHP script that allows you to convert RSS feeds to HTML web pages. Web templates are used to control the displaying so the webmaster has complete control over how the information in the RSS feed is displayed.



How Do You Generate RSS Feeds?

Thu, 6 May 2010 09:00:00 -0400

How Do You Generate RSS Feeds?

There are a number of different ways that you can generate an RSS feed. You can dynamically create RSS feeds using SQL2RSS, you can manually generate RSS feeds using the SQL2RSS, you can manually generate RSS feeds using the details contained in a database or manually using the tutorial at Make RSS Feeds . Additionally you can generate RSS feeds using software like FeedForAll to create rss feeds.



Can I Run FeedForAll on Windows 7?

Thu, 8 Apr 2010 09:00:00 -0400

How do I install FeedForAll on Windows 7?

These tutorials will help walk you through the process of installing FeedForAll on Windows 7.
Step by Step How to Run FeedForAll on Windows 7 - 32 Bit
Step by Step How to Run FeedForAll on Windows 7 - 64 Bit



How Do I Subscribe to an RSS Feed?

Thu, 11 Feb 2010 09:00:00 -0500

How do I subscribe to an RSS feed?

Use the following video tutorial to learn how to subscribe to an RSS feed.



Can We Use RSS Internally?

Mon, 8 Feb 2010 09:00:00 -0500

Can we use RSS feeds for internal company alerts?

Sure. You just need to set up FeedForAll to publish the RSS Feed to your local web server rather than an internet based web server. As long as you have an FTP path to your internal server.



Will FeedForAll Run on Windows 7?

Wed, 3 Feb 2010 09:00:00 -0500

Will FeedForAll Run on Windows version 7?

Yes!

1) Download the latest installation file for FeedForAll from our website: http://www.feedforall.com

2) When asked if you want to run or save it, you want to Save it to the Desktop.

3) After the installation file has downloaded, minimize and/or close everything until you can see the desktop.

4) Right click on the feedforall.exe file you downloaded.

5) Select the "Run as Administrator" option.

6) Click on the Install FeedForAll option.

7) Click on Next on the first step.

8) Click on Next on the second step.

9) Click on Browse on the third step.

10) In the upper left hand corner, change c:\program files\notepage\feedforall\ to c:\feedforall\

11) Click on OK.

12) Click on Next.

13) Click on Next until the installation finishes.

14) Click on Finish.

Now that we have the program installed, before you run the program for the first time, do this:

15) Right click on the Shortcut to FeedForAll.

16) Left click on Properties.

17) Go under the Compatability Tab.

18) Enable the Compatability for Windows XP Service Pack 2.

19) Click on OK.

20) Right click on the shortcut to FeedForAll.

21) Left click on the Run as Administrator option.

That should do it but if you have any problems, let us know.



How Do I Embed RSS In a Web Page?

Mon, 1 Feb 2010 09:00:00 -0500

How do I imbed RSS into a web page?

The best way to display an RSS feed ina  webpage is to use RSS2HTML a free PHP script. This means that you can retain the complete control of the HTML layout (using templates) and make it match your existing design. Additionally using PHP rather than JavaScript will mean that search engine spiders can spider the contents of the RSS feeds.

Additional details and a free rss2html download



Can You Provide Me a Discount Code for FeedForAll?

Mon, 25 Jan 2010 09:00:00 -0500

Can you give me a coupon code for FeedForAll?

There are currently no discounts available for FeedForAll.



Is RSS Only Available Through a Computer?

Tue, 13 May 2008 09:00:00 -0400

Are RSS feeds only accessible through a computer?

No, many mobile devices all support RSS feeds.



How Do you Track a Feeds Popularity?

Mon, 7 Jan 2008 09:00:00 -0500

How Do you Monitor and Track a Feeds Popularity?

There are a number of ways to track an RSS feeds popularity. Unfortunately because of the nature of syndication the tracking is not always reliable or accurate. Use the followng to track the consumption of RSS feeds.

1. Tracking URLs
2. Transparent Gif
3. Web logs
4. 3rd Party Services (like FeedBurner, Pheedo, FeedCraft, MeasureMap, SiteMeter)
5. Use Unique URLs

The best tracking will result when a combination of tracking methods are employed. More information on tracking RSS feeds



Is There any Free Way to Create RSS Feeds?

Wed, 2 Jan 2008 09:00:00 -0500

Is There any Free Way to Create RSS Feeds?

While it might be difficult to locate rss software free of charge, you can always hand create an RSS feed. There is a step by step tutorial at Make RSS Feeds that will walk you through the process of hand creating RSS feeds.

If you find the process cumbersome you may need to buy software that will handle all the encoding for you. Often the time saved by using the software, the software will quickly pay for itself.



What is a FeedMix

Wed, 26 Dec 2007 09:00:00 -0500

What is a Feed Mix?

A feedmix is simply a fancy way of saying that multiple feeds are merged into one feed. Often similar feeds will contain duplicate feed items, so its helpful that inconjunction with merging the RSS feeds you also filter the feeds to avoid duplicate content. There are a number of scripts in the RSS Scripts Directory that will make the process easier. Take a look at RSSmesh and RSSfilter.



Can You Restrict Feed Syndication?

Tue, 18 Dec 2007 09:00:00 -0500

Can You Restrict RSS Feed Syndication?

That is a tricky question. Legally you can restrict the use of your RSS feed BUT enforcing the restriction can be very difficult if not impossible.

The Copyright Debate and RSS



How Do You Promote RSS Feeds?

Thu, 13 Dec 2007 09:00:00 -0500

How Do You Promote RSS Feeds?

Many companies now struggle with RSS feed promotion. Use these tips to improve the consumption of your RSS feeds.

1. Make it easy to subscribe.
2. Submit feeds to popular RSS search engines using tools like RSS Submit.
3. Optimize the feed using standard SEO techniques.
4. Promote in newsletters, email signatures, and forums.
5. Include a badge on the website.
6. Use autodiscovery.

Read this detailed article for additional tips to promoting an RSS feed -

Steps to Creating and Promoting RSS Feeds  
Publicize Your RSS Feeds



How Many RSS Feeds Should a Website Have?

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 09:00:00 -0500

How Many RSS Feeds Should a Website Have?

Good question, it depends. RSS feeds should be segmented into categories and information sources. For example you might have an RSS feed for a forum, a blog, a newsletter, if you sell various products you might have different feeds for each product or product line. Additionally you might have support feeds or a FAQ feed for each product or product family.

Webmasters might also group feed discounts or coupon deals, offers, press releases, or job postings. Bottom line be createive use RSS feeds for all aspects of communication, but match the theme of each feed so that all the content in a feed is related.



How Do I Make My Feed Be AutoDiscovered?

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 09:00:00 -0400

What do I do so that RSS readers know I have an RSS feed?

You can include auto-discovery code in the header of your HTML web page. Use this online tool to create auto-discovery code for you, then simply paste the code into the header of your HTML web page.



How is RSS Being Used in Specific Industries?

Mon, 16 Jul 2007 09:00:00 -0400

Everyone talks about RSS being a success but how is it being adopted in niche markets?

Vertical markets have taken to RSS and a number are embracing the technology to increase their profitability and productivity. We recently analyzed how lawyers are using RSS, how educators are using RSS and will continue the series with additional articles about how RSS is used in niche markets.



Can I Put Feeds in a Database?

Tue, 10 Jul 2007 09:00:00 -0400

I would like to create a searchable archive of RSS feeds. Can I pull RSS feeds into a database?

Yes! You can use RSS2SQL which will easily create SQL databases from RSS feeds. The script currently supports the conversion of RSS feeds to MySQL databases. When using RSS2SQL script the publisher has complete control over the content in the resulting database. Administrators and publishers control which RSS feed fields are used in the database, giving them the flexibility to determine what data is inserted into the database.




Can I Post Political Feeds?

Thu, 10 May 2007 09:00:00 -0400

Where can I find political feeds? I want to display them on my political website.

You can search the directory for Political Feeds , you should check permissions prior to displaying the contents of the political feeds.



Can You Use Javascript to Display RSS Feeds?

Tue, 8 May 2007 09:00:00 -0400

Can you use javascript to display the contents of an RSS feed on a website?

Yes, BUT if you use javascript to display the RSS feed the contents of the RSS feed will not be visible to the search engines, meaning that the search engines will be unable to spider the contents of the RSS feed, and there will be no search engine benefit to displaying the feed. A better option is to use rss2html a PHP script to display the feed. This article details a number of different of options for displaying RSS feeds. The article discusses the pros and cons to the various options.



Can You Filter Multiple Feeds?

Thu, 3 May 2007 09:00:00 -0400

Is there any way to filter a bunch of feeds and merge them into a single feed, removing duplicate items?

Yes, you can use RSSmesh in conjunction with RSSFilter to dyncamically merge and filter RSS feeds based on rules.



How Can RSS Help Search Engine Ranking?

Tue, 1 May 2007 09:00:00 -0400

How Can RSS Feeds Be Used for Search Engine Optimization?

Just as optimizing an HTML web page will increase exposure, so too will an RSS feed that is properly optimized and promoted. Use these simple tips to improve your web feed exposure.  There are a number of different things that you can do to use RSS feeds to improve your search engine ranking. This article will cut to the facts: RSS Feed Tips to Help Search Engine Optimization



Where Do I Promote Educational Feeds?

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 09:00:00 -0400

We are a University and have a number of RSS feeds for our courses can you provide me suggestions about how and where we can promote the feeds?

Yes! You should promote the feeds through normal communication channels with your audience (that might mean email, newsletter, website, autodiscovery code) and you can also promote them through some directories specific for educational feeds and podcasts:

educational feeds and podcasts
educational podcast network

Additional information on feed promotion can be found in Publicize Your RSS Feed. You may also want to use this free tool to create your RSS auto discovery code.



Can I Create a Database from My RSS Feed?

Thu, 1 Mar 2007 09:00:00 -0500

Is there any way to create a database from my RSS feed?

Yes, you can use the rss2sql script to populate a database from an RSS feed. When using RSS2SQL script the publisher has complete control over the content in the resulting database. Administrators and publishers control which RSS feed fields are used in the database, giving them the flexibility to determine what data is inserted into the database.




Where Can I Get Ideas for My Posts?

Tue, 27 Feb 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I have been blogging for about a year but am running out of ideas of what to write about! Any ideas on where I can find ideas for writing?

You are not alone, many bloggers find themselves in search of content for regular postings. The best blogs and feeds are those that contain unique, fresh, compelling, content. Not surprisingly, ideas for blog posts or RSS feed items originate or are influenced by other web content.

Where to Get Ideas for RSS Feeds and Blog Posts



Should a Feed be .rss or xml?

Mon, 12 Feb 2007 09:00:00 -0500

Should I save my file as .rss or .xml? What is the difference?

If you are using software to create your RSS feed, FeedForAll will support both .rss or .xml. However, .xml is more widely used and probably the better choice.



What is the Difference Between Link and Url in the Image?

Fri, 9 Feb 2007 09:00:00 -0500

What is the difference between the link tag and the URL tag under images?

The link tag is the web address of a web page that has the information that relates to the RSS feed contents. In most cases the link should be same as the link in feed channel. The URL is the web address of the actual image. The URL of the image should not be the path to the image on your local drive but the URL of the image on the Internet.



How Can I Get Feeds to Load Faster?

Wed, 7 Feb 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I am using RSS2HTML to display RSS feeds, but as the feeds size grows it appears slower. Is there anything I can do to speed up the feeds display time?

Yes, the rss2html Cache module can be used by users of the rss2html.php script and will increase the display time of RSS feeds. The rss2html Cache module reduces bandwith and speeds up the process of displaying RSS feeds as html web pages.




What is the MIME Type for HTML?

Fri, 2 Feb 2007 09:00:00 -0500

What is the MIME Type for HTML?

The MIME type for HTML is "text/html". The latest version of FeedForAll auto detects the appropriate MIME type, but if you prefer you can refer to the Directory of MIME Types.



Can I Create Headlines and A Separate Web Page for Every Feed Item?

Wed, 31 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I want to create a web page of headlines, and then individual web pages for each item in my RSS feed. Is there any easy way to dynamically do this?  

Yes, you can use the RSS2HTML Pro script. The RSS2HTML Pro add on script expands the functionality of RSS2HTML by allowing publishers and webmasters to dynamically create an index of feed items. The RSS2HTML Pro script dynamically generates a separate web page for each item contained in the RSS feed. The script also creates an index of feed items as a separate web page.

As with the RSS2HTML script the web pages dynamically update as the feed's item changes, meaning that the information displayed is always current. Additionally the contents of the web pages is able to be spidered by search engines.



Can I Prepublish the Contents of My RSS Feed?

Mon, 29 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I am going on vacation, and wish to put items in my RSS feed prior to leaving. What do you suggest?

You can use FutureRSS to automatically delay the publication of Items in an RSS feed. This allows Items in a RSS feed to be created ahead of time, and then slowly released over a period of time. Many people have tried to set the PubDate field on their RSS feed Items to a future date and time, in an attempt to have that particular item become 'visible' to their feed's subscribers on that particular date and time. Unfortunately, they will soon find out that many RSS readers and aggregators don't honor future PubDates, and immediately show all their feed's items. The future-rss.php script 'hides' the future items from RSS feed readers and aggregators, until their PubDate becomes current.



What is the Most Popular Version of RSS?

Fri, 26 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

What is the most popular version of RSS?

The most popular version of RSS is version 2.0. This specification is held at the Berkman Center at Harvard University. As per the website:

RSS 2.0 is offered by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School under the terms of the Attribution/Share Alike Creative Commons license. The author of this document is Dave Winer, founder of UserLand software, and fellow at Berkman Center.



What is the Dublin Core Namespace?

Wed, 24 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

What is the Dublin Core namespace?

The Dublin Core namespace  allows for meta data to be associated with content contained in an RSS feed. Additional details on the Dublin Core or the DC extension.



Can I Create a Single Feed From Multiple Feeds?

Mon, 22 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I want to merge a number of RSS feeds into a single feed and publish it as a web page. Is that possible?

Yes, you can use RSSmesh or a host of other RSS mixers to merge multiple RSS feeds into a single feed. You can then use RSS2HTML or other scripts to display the feed as an html web page.

You will want to check the copyrights on the feed to make sure they allow for syndication and republishing.




What Are the Benefits to RSS?

Fri, 19 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

What benefits are there to publishers using RSS feeds?

RSS is said to have a 100% delivery rate. In other words 100% of the people who subscribe to the feed receive feed updates. Publishers do not have to worry about SPAM filters. There are no costs associated with maintaining an email database and publishers do not have to be concerned with complying with the CAN SPAM act.



Can I Convert Feeds to A Database?

Wed, 17 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I have a bunch of feeds and I would like to create a database from the feeds. Is this possible?

Yes, you can use the RSS2SQL PHP script. The RSS2SQL script allows you to easily create SQL databases from RSS feeds. When using RSS2SQL script the publisher has complete control over the content in the resulting database. Administrators and publishers control which RSS feed fields are used in the database, giving them the flexibility to determine what data is inserted into the database.



Can You Automate Feed Submissions?

Mon, 15 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I started submitting my RSS feed to the list of directories, but it is very time consuming. Is there any way to automate RSS feed submission?

Yes, you can use RSS Submit from Dummy Software to automate RSS feed submission. RSS Submit, will submit RSS feeds to over 80 directories. They also have ping add-ons and upgrades for additional functionality.




How Do I Know if My Feed is Valid?

Fri, 12 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

How do you suggest I validate my RSS feed?

FeedForAll has a built in feed validator, but if you prefer to use a web based feed validator give FeedValidator a try. Additional validators are available on the RSS Specifications website.



Where Can I Submit My Baseball Feed?

Wed, 10 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I have an RSS feed for our local baseball team. It includes game schedules, recaps of games, and player profiles. Where do you suggest I submit the feed?

Well there is a large list of RSS feed directories and search engines that you can submit to, but I would also encourage you to submit your RSS feed to the Sports Feed Directory. The sports feed directory contains all types of feeds related to sports.



Can You Optimize RSS Feeds for Search Engines?

Mon, 8 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

Is it possible to optimize RSS feeds for search engines?

Yes, there are a number of things that you can to optimize your RSS feed so that it performs better in the search engines. The most important SEO technique for RSS feeds, is just common sense. Use related, relevant keywords in the feed's channel title and description. Each feed item should contain a unique title and description that contains pertinent keywords.

Additional Tips to Optimize Feeds for Search Engines



Can I Convert My Database to RSS Feeds?

Fri, 5 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

I have a large database of products. I would like to create an RSS feed from the database is this possible?

Yes, you can use the SQL2RSS script to convert the database to RSS feeds. The SQL2RSS script is a PHP script that will dynamically update RSS feeds pulling the information from an MySQL database.



Is There Such Thing As Feed Etiquette?

Wed, 3 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

Is there any such things as RSS feed etiquette?

No, there is no hard fast set of rules for publishers of RSS feeds but with common sense and following these basic rules you can make sure your feeds do not offend.

Basic RSS Feed Etiquette



What is Copywritten?

Mon, 1 Jan 2007 09:00:00 -0500

What exactly is Copywritten as it pertains to RSS and blogs?

Any creative works are copywritten. In the US and many other countries, even if the creator does not apply for a copyright, the creative works are protected by the copyright laws the moment the creative work is created. Unless the creator waives those rights, the creative cannot be reproduced or modified without the creators permission. Copywritten work includes images, text, music, or software.



How Much Can You Quote Of a Blog Post?

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

How much can you quote of another persons blog post?

We answered this question in detail in the article entitled RSS Feed and Blog Etiquette. The article reviews proper blogging etiquette and protocols!




How Can I Make RSS2HTML Match My Website?

Wed, 20 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

I am using the RSS2HTML script but I want to make it match the look of my website. How can I customize the RSS2HTML to match my website?

Easy, the RSS2HTML gives you complete control over the RSS feeds look and layout, it uses templates and indicators to tell the web page where to display the content. You can use an existing layout from your website and simply insert the indicators listed in the documentation or you can use one of the pre-configured RSS2HTML templates.  

Subscriptions to the RSS2HTML template directory are available for just $ 29.95. A subscription grants access and use to more than 600+ RSS2HTML templates and layouts. New templates are added on a regular basis.



I Want to Put Our Online Store in an RSS Feed, Any Suggestions?

Mon, 18 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

We have an online store, and I would like to promote the items using RSS feeds, so that we get exposure in the RSS search engines and directories. The store uses an SQL database, how would I get the items in an RSS feed?

Consider using SQL2RSS, it will convert a MySQL database to RSS feeds. When using SQL2RSS the publisher has complete control over the content in the resulting RSS feed. Administrators and publishers control the database query which allows them the flexibility to determine what data is inserted into the RSS feeds from the database.

This should automate the RSS feed creation for you and it will dynamically update each time new inventory is added to your online store database.



Can I Use Symbols and Special Characters in My RSS?

Fri, 15 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

I want to inlcude special characters in my RSS feed, but was told that would be a problem. Can you elaborate on why some characters can not be used?

RSS is a subset of XML, or eXtensible Markup Language. Within XML their are certain characters like <, >, and & that are considered 'special'. Because XML uses these characters as part of its 'coding', the characters must be encoded if you want to use them in your RSS feed. Failing to encode these special characters will cause an RSS feed to be incorrectly displayed, or may result in errors.

Not to worry, if you are using software like FeedForAll to create your feed the software will automatically encode any special characters that require encoding.



Can I Charge People To View My Feed?

Wed, 13 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

I am providing really great content and I want to be paid for the content, can I charge people to view my feed?

While it is possible for RSS feeds to be password protected and subscription based,  it is more common for publishers to use the RSS feeds as teaser copy. If the reader enjoys the teaser copy in the feed, they subscribe (pay) to receive or see the full content, this is often done by clicking through to a website. New York Times started this model, forcing users to login to see the full contents of the articles.

It is likely that subscription feeds will become more popular, especially in with educational or quality news feeds.



How Do I Brand My Feed?

Mon, 11 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

We are all about brand.  I would like to integrate our brand into our RSS feed. Any suggestions?

In order to use your RSS feed to reinforce or build your brand you should consider doing the following:

1. Add your corporate image to your RSS feed. If you are using FeedForAll follow these simple steps to add your logo to your feed.

2. Use images in the description of your RSS feed. Images help reinforce identity and make your RSS feed jump out. Be aware that most RSS readers use smaller windows so the graphics should be tasteful but relatively small. This will ensure that your readers see the graphic but it does not slow your feeds load time.

3. Be sure that you use a favicon on your website. Many of the RSS directories like: RSS Network, Sports Feeds, and  Political Feedsuse the websites favicon beside the feed listing. Having a related favicon will help reinforce your brand. If you need to create a favicon use this free favicon tool.

4. Host your RSS feed on your website do not use a third party as this too will help reinforce your branding.



Will I Lose Traffic If I Use RSS?

Fri, 8 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

I want to use RSS on my website but I am concerned that I will lose traffic because people will not click through. Any suggestions?

Yes, while losing traffic is a legitimate concern there are a number of things that you can do to keep your website "sticky". When you post information in your feed, post only a summary, force interested readers to click through to your website to read the full content.

Additionally, be sure to include a link to your site in the description of the RSS feed, so that anyone syndicating your feed will link to you as well.



How Do I Search Google for RSS Feeds?

Wed, 6 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

Is there anyway to search Google for RSS feeds?

While .rss or .xml is not yet an option for filetype in Google's advanced search feature, you can solicit similar results by entering: 'your search phrase filetype:rss'  or 'your search term filetype:xml' in the Google search bar. Hopefully Google will add RSS to the advanced search filetype options in the near future.



What is RSS Pinging?

Mon, 4 Dec 2006 09:00:00 -0500

What is pinging and why should I ping my feed?

Pinging signals to RSS feed aggregators and directories that your RSS feed has been updated, otherwise they may not realize that new content is available. There are a number of automated ping services available and some of the RSS submission programs like RSS Submit include a pinging function.



Why Do I Get an Error When I Use an Amperstand?

Thu, 23 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Everytime I use the amperstand  (&) in my RSS feed it does not display properly why?

An amperstand must be escaped and encoded in order to display properly in an RSS feed.



Is It Legal to Reproduce Blog Posts?

Wed, 22 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Is it legal to reproduce another persons blog post or feed item in your RSS feed?

Some blogs or RSS feeds, allow for syndication, or contain a creative commons license that allow for them to be reproduced in part or in whole.

If the work is protected by copyright, in the U.S. there is something called fair use, and it governs the use of copyrighted materials, any creative works including blog posts or feed items are considered "copywritten" (in the US). The are four principles of fair use that are factored when determining if something is a copyright violation.

1. is the use commercial in nature (Are you trying to profit from the works?)
2. the nature of the work (How extensive and complicated is the work?)
3. the amount of the work copied (Are you copying an entire website or a web excerpt?)
4. how does the use affect the market value of the copywritten work (Does your use devalue the original works?)

Fair use comes into play when for example a news agency takes an excerpt of a speech or other creative from a competing news agency in order to report on it. They typically only reproduce a portion of the creative work, and then expand on it. This is generally the best practice for bloggers to follow.

As with anything, it is important that credit be given original content creator, it is i just good manners to provide the appropriate attribution.

Addition information on copyright and fair use. The following Creative Commons explanation might also be helfpul and relevant.



Am I Legally Responsible for Comments Posted to My Blog?

Mon, 20 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Can I be sued for comments posted on my blog? Are there any legal ramifications if something not true is posted?

Great question. You should always vet all of your information to make sure that what you post is accurate and truthful. It only takes one incorrect blog post or rss feed item to damage your reputation as a credible source.

Technically you are not liable for blog comments/forum posts on your site posted by others. You are responsible and liable for comments that you make, but it is very difficult to prosecute or pursue, primarily because of jurisdiction. The Internet is global and there is not one single governing force. Not only is the location of the blogger/poster a factor but the  location of the web host and the laws that govern their locations are a factor.

This article does a good job of explaning defamation, libel, and slander.



When I Submit My Blog to Directories Should I Submit the Web Page or Feed?

Fri, 17 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I want to submit my blog to the blog directories and blog search engines, should I submit the blog feed or the web page for my blog?

It depends! Some blog search engines want the URL of the html web page, while others will ask for the RSS feed. If you are manually submitting the blog/blog feed, you will just need to pay particular attention to what they are asking for. If you are given the option of providing html or rss, you will want to provide the RSS feed so that it dynamically updates as your RSS feed updates.



Should I Place All of My Content In My RSS Feed?

Wed, 15 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

What are the arguments for full vs. partial content feeds?

The debate on full vs. partial content feeds has raged on for the past few years. Proponents of full content feeds, insist that they will unsubscribe to feeds that only provide teaser or introduction copy. While supporters of partial content feeds, point to increasing a websites stickiness by luring users to the site to read the full text of an article or feed contents.

While my opinion is subjective, I think that it really depends on the content that you are providing. In some cases it is better to provide partial content feeds, while other content is better suited to full content feeds.

In order to properly illustrate both sides of the issue I have assembled a collection of links (arguments) for both full and partial content feeds.

Scoble on Full Content Feeds
Nick Bradbury on Full vs Partial Content
Monday by Noon - Partial vs Full Content Feeds
RSS Strategy Full vs Partial
Blog Herald Comments on Full vs Partial Feeds
Feedster on Full Text Feeds
TechDirt on Partial Feeds
Are Partial Feeds Worth It?
Another Round of Debate



Why Use a Branded RSS Reader?

Mon, 13 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

What is the benefit to using a branded RSS reader? Is there a downside to using a branded reader?

There are pros and cons to using a branded reader, the obvious benefits to a branded RSS reader is that you can include  your RSS feeds within the reader. The downside is that as RSS becomes more popular users are going to be unlikely or at the very least unwilling to maintain two different readers. If you are pushing the branded reader without also giving the option of subscribing to your RSS feeds with an existing reader, users might not subscribe to the feeds. So if you provide a branded reader be sure to also allow users to subscribe to your feeds, in more traditional ways.  



Is There An ASP Version of RSS2HTML?

Fri, 10 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

In my old job I used rss2html.php but now I am on a Microsoft Server and I need an ASP version of the rss2html script. Do you have any suggestions?

Yes, ByteScout has an asp script that works very similar to rss2html. The rss2html.asp script allows you to convert RSS feeds to HTML and will run on a Microsoft server that supports ASP.



Is Duplicate Content an Issue With RSS?

Wed, 8 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

If I allow someone to syndicate my RSS feed, will I be at risk for a duplicate content penalty from the search engines?

Generally no, you will not be at risk. First off think of Reuters, or the Associated Press, they publish the stories and a number of media outlets pick the stories up, without incurring any duplicate content penalties from the search engines.

Additionally when an RSS feed's content is published it is usually wrapped in the publisher's original content. The feed is usually a small segment of the websites or web pages actual content. By allowing your feed to be syndicated you are increasing your audience, remember you control the actual feed's contents, so the distribution of your "message" is expanded when your RSS feed is syndicated.



What Can RSS Be Used For?

Mon, 6 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I know that people say that RSS can be used for more than just blogging, but what actual content is put in RSS feeds beside blogs?

RSS can be used for ANY type of content. It can be used for much, much more than just blogs. RSS can be used for rich media (videocasts), power point presentations, and really anything! Different industries are finding very specific uses, from realtors promoting homes in a for sale, to law enforcement agencies notifying the public of amber alerts, or sex offenders in the area.

The following resources will help give you a glimse into how RSS is being used every day.

RSS Industry Uses
Specific Company Usage



Are All RSS Feeds The Same Format?

Fri, 3 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Are all RSS feeds in the same format?

No, all RSS feeds are not all in the same format. There are a number of versions of the RSS specification. There is also a competing specification, called Atom. Atom is thought of as a superior specification but is far less popular than RSS. To the end user there is no discernible difference to content created using the various specifications. Currently RSS 2.0 is the most popular and widely used format for content syndication, this is in part because of the popularity of podcasting and  as RSS 2.0's support for the enclosure field.

Most RSS readers support all of the RSS formats, and will display a feed as long as it conforms to  the specifications of one of the valid formats.



How and Where Should I Submit My RSS Feed?

Wed, 1 Nov 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I know there are search engines for RSS feeds and directories, but what are they and how do I submit my RSS feed to them?

There are a growing number of rss search engines, rss directories, in addition there are separate blog directories and blog search engines that you might want to submit blogs or blog feeds to. You can either manually submit your RSS feed but this can be quite time consuming or you can use software to automate the submission of your RSS feed.

Probably the most popular automated submission tool is RSS Submit, there are also others RSS submitters. A complete list of places to submit your RSS feed can be found RSS submission sites.



What is the Difference Between Image URL and Link?

Mon, 30 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

There are two tags that are similar, under image there is image URL and image link? What is the difference?

The image URL links to the actual image (graphic) on a website. The image link tag links to the webpage.



What is the Maximum Size of a Feed Image?

Fri, 27 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I want to add an image to my RSS feed what is the maximum size of the image?

The width of the image is in pixels. The default width for the RSS image is 88. The maximum allowed width is 144. The default height for a RSS image is 31. The maximum allowed height is 400.



How Come My Feed Is Not Updating?

Wed, 25 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I had a typo in my RSS feed, and I corrected it, but it is not updating. Why is my feed not updating?

Good question. In order to save bandwidth many rss readers look at the items GUID, if the GUID does not change it does not update the item. Many readers do not recognize description or PubDate changes. If you really want the feed to update I would suggest changing the  is the PubDate.



What Are Feed Extensions?

Mon, 23 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

What are RSS feed extensions? I have also heard the term namespaces, are they the same thing? If so, please explain.

RSS feed extensions and namespaces are the same thing. RSS was designed in such a way that allows for it to be extended. This means that publishers can create and define their own tags for RSS. It is important to do your research prior to creating a namespace, a number of namespaces already exist and you will want to avoid any redundancy. You will also want to make sure that your RSS feed is properly formed.

Learn more about namespaces and view the namespace directory that contains many of the popular RSS extensions.



Can You Control The Number of Feed Items Displayed?

Fri, 20 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Can you restrict the number of feed items displayed on a website? Lets say you only wish to display the 2 most recent items is that possible?

Yes, if you are using a script like rss2html to display the contents of an rss feed on your website, then you can control the number of items that are displayed. The web pages are dynamically updated as new items are added to the RSS feed that it draws from so the most recent items are always displayed.  



Can You Block Feed Access?

Wed, 18 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Is it possible to block users from accessing an RSS feed, if they are coming from a specific IP address or geographical region?

Yes! Just like any other webpage, image, download, most webservers have ways to block certain IP addresses from downloading RSS feed files.There are many different ways to do this, depending on your webserver and how much control you have, you should talk to your ISP about your options.



When Displaying A Feed on a Website Can You Customize the Look?

Mon, 16 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

When displaying a feed on a website can you customize the look of the RSS feed so that it matches your existing website?

Yes, if you use something like rss2html, a free php script to display your RSS feed, you can customize the way and information from the feed that is displayed and the appearance of the information from the feed that is displayed. If you are graphically challenged there is also an rss2html template directory, that allows you to download templates that match the look and feel of your existing website. These templates can be modified or used as is.



Can A RSS Feed Be Private?

Sat, 14 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Can RSS feeds be made private?

The best way to make an RSS feed "private" is to password protect the RSS feed. This can be done by placing it in a folder, on the website that requires a password.



I Want To Display Other RSS Feeds on My Website, How Do I Do It?

Fri, 13 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Can I display RSS feeds from other websites on my website?

Possibly. Technically it is certainly possible but you will want to check to make sure that the RSS feeds terms of service or copyrights allow for you to republish its contents. Some publishers restrict the publication of their RSS feeds. For example CNN's terms of service say:

"RSS is a free service offered by CNN for non-commercial use. Any other uses, including without limitation the incorporation of advertising into or the placement of advertising associated with or targeted towards the RSS Content, are strictly prohibited."

So if the website is commercial you would be unable to display their RSS feed on your website.

If the publisher allows the feed to be syndicated and displayed, there are a number of different ways you can display the feeds contents. You can use PHP, ASP or javascript, depending on your needs. This article discusses the pros and cons of each solution for displaying RSS feeds. A list of tools and services for displaying RSS feeds and converting RSS feeds to HTML.



Can I Merge Multiple Feeds Into A Single Feed?

Wed, 11 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Can I combine multiple feeds into a single feed? Essentially I want to mix feeds from a bunch of already existing rss feeds into a new rss feed that constantly update itself, by drawing up new entries from the source rss feeds?

Yes, you can use RSSmesh to merge multiple feeds into a single RSS feed that dynamically updates as new items are added to the RSS feeds that it draws from. Other tools that can be used to merge RSS feeds can be found at on RSS Tools.



What is the Difference Between Podcast and RSS?

Mon, 9 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

What is the difference between a podcast feed and an RSS feed?

A podcast feed contains the link to a file in the RSS feed's enclosure field. Typically a podcast refers to an RSS feed that contains audio content. The meaning of the word podcast has recently been expanded to include "other" types of content  as well, and many publishers refer to an RSS feed that contains a video enclosure as a podcast as well.  



What are Ego Searches?

Fri, 6 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

What are ego search feeds? And why should I use them?

An ego feed, is usually an RSS feed that monitors the blogosphere, news or search engines for a person's name, a company name or a product name. Each time the specified phrase appears the RSS feed is updated so you can see what the buzz is.

Many people use RSS feeds to not only track their company or product name, but also to monitor mentions of their competitors.

This article details Ego Feeds and this site lists a bunch of sites that allow you to setup free ego search feeds.



What is the Benefit to Prepublishing Items in a Feed?

Wed, 4 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I have seen the FutureRSS script that allows you to prepublish items in your RSS feed but I do not understand why that is beneficial. Why would you want to prepublish feed items?

There are a number of reasons you might want to pre-publish feed items. Many RSS feeds contain information that is not time sensitive, for example if you are software developer and you might have an RSS feed about software tips, the information does not become dated, as a news story would. Prepublishing items allow you to load the feed up with a number of tips, rather than having to add one tip each day.

The FutureRSS script makes it so that you readers only see the items that dates have passed. Another advantage to RSS is that you can take a vacation, you can preload a blog with a weeks worth of items and have one item released each day.



What is a Splog?

Mon, 2 Oct 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I see the term splog, but don't know what it is. What is a splog?

Spam + Blog = splog

The term generally means a blog that contains useless content. More often than not the content is scraped from various websites or just clippings of phrases from a variety of blogs and pieced together. In most cases splogs do not make sense to an average reader, the sentences are often incomplete.

While it is easy for a human to discern unintelligible content it is difficult for search engines to discern the difference. Hence splogs are appearing in search engine listings and blog directories that are not manually approved.



What is OPML?

Fri, 29 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I have heard the Acronym OPML, but I do not know what it means or how I should use it. What is OPML?

OPML has been getting a lot of attention lately but what is OPML? OPML or Outline Processor Markup Language is a file format standard that can be used to exchange subscription lists between programs.

OPML was initially designed by Radio UserLand as a file format for outlines. The purpose of this format is to provide a way to exchange information between outliners and Internet services. OPML has since been adopted for other uses, the most common being to exchange lists of RSS feeds between RSS aggregators.

OPML is an open format allowing other services to extend the format. While OPML was not initially designed as a vehicle to share RSS feeds, it has become the defacto standard. OPML, like RSS is based on RSS and because of the similarities those familiar with RSS have embraced OPML as a way to share RSS feed collections.



What are The Most Important RSS Directories

Wed, 27 Sep 2006 21:00:00 -0400

What RSS feed directories are the most important to submit to?

In order to help publishers determine what RSS search engines are most important refer to the RSS feeds directory comparison. The list shows the most popular RSS directories that have both categorized lists of rss feeds and keyword searching capabilities.



Should I Provide Full or Partial Content Feeds?

Mon, 25 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I have read about different opinions that relate to full or partial content feeds. What is your opinion should publishers provide full content or partial content in their RSS feeds?

There is no right or wrong answer here. Many readers prefer full content feeds, but providing full content feeds, makes it much easier for someone to replicate (and benefit) from the feeds contents through syndication. My personal approach is that I consider the content that is being provided, would their be a benefit to having the feeds full contents displayed on another companies website or would it be a disadvantage. If the feed contains press releases or newsletters, I'm thrilled by the idea that it could be syndicated and I am sure to include the full text. Other types of content I'm leary or less eager to syndicate, so I create partial content feeds.

Please do not take this post to mean that regardless of copyrights others have the right to syndicate feeds, right or wrong webmasters/publishers need to realize that there feeds may be republished/syndicated with or without their expressed permission.



Is it Helpful To SEO If You Host Your Own Feed?

Fri, 22 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

How important is it from a search engine optimization (SEO) viewpoint that you host your own RSS feed?

Great question! There are some definite advantages to hosting your own RSS feed, that said most of the RSS feed hosts (like FeedBurner) have worked hard to minimize the disadvantages related to 3rd party feed hosting.

When you host your own feed you maintain total control, you are not relying on a 3rd party service who may or may not be in business. Changing feed URLs can be a bit of a headache but if you have control over the server you can maintain redirects. Best of all if you host your own feed you will benefit from all the links back from the RSS search engines and directories.

Note: Some of the 3rd party services do allow for you to host your own feed through redirects.



Does RSS Reduce a Websites Stickiness?

Wed, 20 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Other webmasters have told me that RSS feeds decrease a websites stickiness. Do you think RSS reduces the stickiness of a website?

Well, you could probably argue that RSS could both increase and decrease a websites stickiness. The fact is that RSS increases communication with website visitors, if the RSS feed contains legitimate interesting information the reader is more likely to return to the website to learn additional details.

To some extent this question goes to the heart of the argument about full or partial content feeds. Regardless of whether you choose to use full or partial content feeds it is generally a good practice to include occasional links back to your website from the item description field of the RSS feed. If you are providing quality content I think RSS increases a website stickiness.



Can Multiple RSS Feeds Be Auto Discovered?

Fri, 15 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Our website contains multiple RSS feeds? What should I put in my auto-discovery field?

Multiple RSS feeds on a website can be auto-discovered. Make sure that the RSS feed that directly relates to the web pages content appears first in the list, this will make it more convenient for subscribers.

Some web site visitors might be annoyed if too many feeds are listed so while it is acceptable to autodiscover multiple RSS feeds thought should be given to how they relate to a webpages specific content.



What are the Best RSS Websites?

Wed, 13 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I want to learn more about RSS, what are the best RSS websites?

Well different people learn different ways, and there are a number of websites that are RSS resources. The RSS website resources vary in complexity and level of technical details.

Beginner RSS Resources
Educational RSS Articles
RSS Syndication
Make RSS Feeds

General RSS Resources
RSS Tools
RSS Specifications
AllRSS
FaganFinder RSS

Very Technical RSS Resources
RSS 2.0 Specification
Namespace Details



What is Auto-Discovery?

Mon, 11 Sep 2006 10:12:00 -0400

Ok, apparently some readers were not correctly interpreting the auto discovery tags so I've revised this post to make it easier for all readers to view the contents:

I have heard the term auto-discovery, but I don't quite understand what auto-discovery is and why I should use it?

Auto-discovery allows people with certain RSS readers to automatically detect that an RSS feed exists for the content contained on the webpage.

How do I implement auto-discovery on my web page?

It is really very simple, all you need to do is include one line of code in your web page header. This will make it easy for people to subscribe to your RSS feed.

[link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Feed Title" href="http://www.domain.com/feed.xml" /]

Use greater than and less than instead of brackets <>.

The value of title should be the title of your RSS feed, this really should relate to the feeds contents and not just be an ambiguous "My Feed".

The link should link directly to your RSS feed on your website.

If you are not using RSS but Atom you will need to change the 'type' to "application/atom+xml" (note: FeedForAll software produces RSS)

By adding the above to your website many browsers and aggregators will automatically detect an RSS feed. FireFox, Safari and IE 7 all support feed autodiscovery.



Are All RSS Feeds the Same Format?

Fri, 8 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Are all RSS feeds in the same format?

That is a difficult questions, but in short the answer is no. There are a number of different formats for RSS feeds, which fall into different compatibility groups. The history of RSS is a sordid tale. Basically the most popular branch that is currently widely supported is RSS 2.0.

Another competing format which is similar to RSS is Atom, supporters of Atom feel the format is better suited to syndication, but the format has not been widely adopted. A number of bloggers have recently published statistics related to the feed version supported in feeds, but the numbers only represent a sampling of data.



How Do I Get An RSS Feed for My Forum?

Wed, 6 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I have seen web forums that have an RSS feed? How can I get an RSS feed for my forum?

Many of the new popular web forums now have plug-ins that will dynamically create RSS feeds for all the posted content. Check with your forum provider and see what options are available. Many forum providers offer feeds for all forum posts or you can have separate feeds for each forum category.

We have listed some of the more popular forums and RSS feed addons or forum hacks.

PHPbb Forum RSS
vBulletin RSS Hack



Changes to the RSS Feed Knowledgebase

Mon, 4 Sep 2006 14:06:00 -0400

We have made some small changes to the RSS feed knowledgebase . Apologies if this causes any inconvenience. The  changes were made so that we can optionally display all knowledgebase the questions as a list and on a separate webpage we can provide the question and answer. We felt that this new format would make it easier for people to find answers to specific questions.



What Are The Most Popular RSS Feeds?

Mon, 4 Sep 2006 09:00:00 -0400

What are popular RSS feeds?

Many of the RSS readers and news aggregators rank blog popularity, but there is not really an authority on popular RSS feeds. What is popular to one individual, may or may not be popular to another. While you might find some of the feeds listed interesting you might find that niche feeds suit your personal interests better.

BlogLines Most Popular Feeds
RadioLand 100 Most Subscribed Feeds
Technorati Top 100



What Security Issues Does RSS Raise?

Thu, 31 Aug 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I have recently read about security problems that relate to RSS. Can you please explain what these issues are? RSS can deliver any type of content. That means that publishers can include executables or documents in the enclosure field of their feed. It is possible for these types of files to contain viruses or other types of unwanted programs. Many developers of RSS readers take precautions to ensure that if a feed contains a suspicious file type the program "warns" the person viewing the feed before downloading the enclosure. Additional details of how this is managed can be viewed in the RSS Security Article. The other security concern that recently raised concerns, related to potential exploits in online RSS aggregators. Because RSS feeds can contain HTML which includes scripting languages like javascript, exploits could potentially occur if an 'infected' RSS feed is viewed. Many aggregator developers are taking precautions to protect their infrastructure from exploits in any RSS feeds. For example: the recent release of rss2html.php can optionally allow webmasters to remove javascript from within any feeds before they are displayed. Something else to keep in mind regarding security is that, users 'opt' in to RSS feeds. Users are generally going to only select feeds that are trustworthy. [...]



Should I Create Various Feeds for Different Extensions?

Tue, 29 Aug 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Should I have multiple feeds, one for each namespace?

No. The way RSS feed formats and namespaces work mean that you only need to create a single feed. The RSS specification supports that multiple namespaces can all be used in the same feed. If the RSS reader supports a specific namespace it will read the information contained within that namespace if it does not support that namespace it will ignore any information that relates to the unsupported namespace.

To make it even clearer when you submit an RSS feed that contains the iTunes namespace to the ITMS directory, if the feed also contains the MediaRSS namespace, the iTunes directory will ignore any content contained in the MediaRSS tags and only pay attention to the information in the iTunes tags.



Can Bloggers See Who Visits Their Websites or Reads Their Feeds?

Mon, 28 Aug 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Can bloggers see who visits their websites or reads their feeds?

It depends on who is hosting your website. If you are hosting your blog you should have access to your web logs. While it won't tell you specifically who it will provide general demographics about your visitors. If you are using something like FeedBurner they can provide statistical information as well.



What RSS Tags are Optional?

Fri, 25 Aug 2006 09:00:00 -0400

I have read that some RSS tags are optional, what are they?

There is a large list of RSS tags and their meanings along with whether the tag is required or optional.



Can I Block Search Engines From Accessing Our Feed?

Thu, 24 Aug 2006 09:00:00 -0400

Is their an ability on an RSS feed to tell engines not to index certain stories similar to how you tell spiders not to look at  certain website pages?

You can use a robots.txt to tell engines not to index the RSS feeds.