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How To Syndicate Web Site News Through RSS Feeds Technology
*Introduction to RSS newsfeeds*
One new technology that has been rapidly catching up in the alleys of Internet independent researches, publishers and reporters of all kinds, is the highly interesting and potentially revolutionary RSS newsfeed.
Nowadays, to "RSSify" a Web site, means to create an RSS feed so that other online publishers, Web sites, news aggregators such newsletters editors and custom search engines can tap into your content to syndicate and republish it.
RSS feeds can be also used to deliver custom content to country offices, to geographically dispersed working teams as well as to staff and members of an organization in a private fashion.
That would include the publication of newsfeeds for organizational Intranets or Corporate Portals allowing easy aggregation, end-user filtering and reuse of departmental key headlines and other key internal announcements.
An RSS newsfeed basically provides a public information reference point about your Web site's content being published.
Through the RSS newsfeed other Web sites can effectively link to your news items as they are made available.
RSS feeds allow independent researchers like me to tap into a vast amount of personally selected information resources very efficiently and according to continuously optimizable preferences. I can aggregate all news items in selected categories and from selected independent sources in a few seconds and have an immediate snapshot of key stories and issues to be followed in any key area I am interested in. A job this, that the media moguls can never achieve as they do not have the flexibility, range of viewpoints, granularity of analysis and multitude of reliable dispersed contributors as such independent news sources can provide.
*How To Receive RSS Newsfeeds*
The first step is to download a software-based news aggregator tool to your computer in order for you to start receiving RSS newsfeeds.
There are many news-aggregator tools to choose from, (see the Readers section of RSS Info for a list of them at
Among many that are available I have tested and utilized NewzCrawler http://www.newzcrawler.com/. NewzCrawler provides many useful features and it is very easy to set-up.
Once you have downloaded and installed an RSS feed aggregator, you need to select and input the newsfeeds that you want to "subscribe to".
You may have seen Web sites with a special logo mentioning RSS placed on their pages. Such logo means that the Qeb site has been set up with RSS feed capabilities and can that its nRSS newsfeeds can be placed in an aggregator for viewing.
Once placed in an newsfeed aggregator, these feeds can be easily read and when you are connected to the Internet they are automatically updated.
Once a new item appears in any of the Web sites that you are "subscribing to", the new information will pop up in the news aggregator software, automatically alerting you of new breaking news on your selected feeds.
*Software-based vs Web-based RSS Newsfeed Aggregators*
The limitation in utilizing a software-based tool like Newzcrawler instead of a web-based one like Newsisfree is in the fact that the web-based one can be accessed from any location you are at, independently of the fact that you have your computer with you. Anybody with an Internet connection can access Newsisfree and utilize it as a capable Web-based aggregator. As a news aggregator Newzcrawler offers also a good number of useful functions not available when using Newsfree.
Newsisfree does not provide access to the total number of RSS feeds available out there, offering its own selection of valuable content. In this respect it may be more limiting than Newzcrawler.
*How To Find, Select, Identify RSS Newsfeeds To Subscribe To*
Now that you know how to place feeds into a newsfeed aggregator, you need to understand how to find the newsfeed that serve best your research and information interests.
While some Web sites provide a link to their RSS feeds directly on their home pages there are many others that are not easily "visible" for most of us. To access this greater universe of RSS newsfeeds it is necessary to utilize newsfeed directories that pre-select and aggregate vast number of RSS feeds.
Two major directories of RSS feeds are available for those of you who want to find and subscribe to specific newsfeeds:
The Newsfree directory contains over 2,900 newsfeeds sources.
Users of this site can browse by subject headings, search the extensive database by name or description, or search the latest headlines from these sites. Once a site is found, Newsisfree provides the user with the following info:
a) information about the Web site,
b) most recent newsfeed posts,
c) an RSS link for syndication into the news aggregator,
d) links to this site coming from Daypop (a news and blogs search engine - http://www.daypop.com) and other similar search engines,
e) links to automatically subscribe to the site via web based news aggregators.
A particularly interesting section of the Newsfree directory is called "Latest Channels" . This area is updated daily and provides the newest feeds added to the Newsfree directory, (certainly an interesting place where to scout for interesting new entries).
Syndic8 is a newsfeed directory offering over 4,500 newsfeeds and which specializes more on technology-related content.
Of particular interest is the categorization of the feeds in Syndic8 their directory. Users can browse Syndic8 RSS feeds via:
a) subject headings used by the Open Directory Project,
b) those by the Newsisfree directory,
c) and those used in the directories provided by Headline Viewer.
Syndic8 allows users to submit Web sites which are RSS-ready and that wish to be entered into the Syndic8 database.
Syndic8 also provides access to a "wish list" of Web sites that have yet to be "syndicated" (do not presently have a feed available for subscription).
Several search options make Syndic8 a more advanced alternative to the Newsfree search facilities by offering users the ability to limit RSS newsfeed searches by date of creation or modification and further allows users to see the status of the feed and type of software used to create it.
*How To Create Your RSS Newsfeed File*
The RSS file itself has a very basic and simple to understand structure and syntax. As the RSS file utilizes an XML language format which may score some non-technical users from using it, it indeed is just like a very simple HTML file, differing only in the type of tags being used. Even for a person with no HTML background or experience creating an RSS file is a very simple and easy to execute task.
The RSS file can be created with any word processor such as MS Word, or simple text editor such as Notepad (Win), Simpletext (Mac), TextEdit (MacOS X). The file you will create needs to be saved by adding a .rss extension though it will be basically be a normal text file.
Here is an example of what a typical RSS file should look like:
<xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1">
<title>Exchange and Collaboration</title>
<description>Information access news web log, tracking daily freedom of access, usability, quality publishing criteria, accessibility </description>
<webMaster> firstname.lastname@example.org </webMaster>
<title>Collaboration and Exchange</title>
<description>Collaboration and Exchange Discoveries Blog</description>
<description>Review of possible alternative tools and services to the
free YahooGroups service</description>
<title>Computer Supported Collaborative Learning</title>
<description>Highlights and conclusions reached in a recent academic
paper about Computer Supported Collaborative Learning</description>
*Structure and Components Of An RSS file*
An RSS newsfeed is essentially made up of "channels" and "news items".
A single channel will be sufficient for the majority of sites. Each channel, in turn, contains information about one or more news articles.
Find here a simple description of what "channels" and "news items" are made of in an RSS feed:
A channel consists of the following required information:
1) Title: the name of the channel (in the above example, the channel title is "Exchange and Collaboration")
2) Link: the URL for the channel's main web page (the page on your web site where news stories are displayed)
a description of the channel's purpose and content
The first two lines in my RSS feed example define this as an RSS feed.
The <channel> tag comes next and contains the required information about this news channel (as listed above). Optional information follows these items and includes language, copyright info, contact email addresses, and an image (logo) that can be displayed with the channel's headlines.
The above example contains all these options, but you can leave these out of your own feed if you prefer.
In addition to the above required information, the channel must contain at least one news item.
*RSS News Items*
An RSS news item consists of the following:
1) Title: this is the headline that will be displayed for the news item
2) Link: the URL where the full news item can be found (for best results, each item should be on its own unique web page)
3) Description: a description of the news item or "teaser."
The first two elements are the minimum expected by nearly all sites that carry headlines. The description field is optional, as some syndicators will ignore this field altogether, posting only the item headline.
Below that, you'll see two news items listed, "YahooGroups Alternatives" and "Computer Supported Collaborative Learning".
Additional news items would follow the same format and be listed directly below within <item> </item> tags.
Finally, the last two lines of the feed are closing tags - XML, like HTML, requires opening and closing tags.
*How to publish your RSS newsfeed on your Web site*
Once you've created the text file, do the following:
1) Save the file with .rss as the extension
and upload it to the main folder of your Web site.
2) Validate your RSS feed by running it through the RSS Validator
to make sure it's set up correctly.
3) Display the "valid RSS" logo on your site and provide a visible link to your feed from your Web site pages.
4) Promote and ethically incentivate others to link and use your RSS feed by placing an appropriate message on your most visited Web pages.
6) Submit your feed to content aggregators. Find here a few content aggregators where you can register your newsfeed:
c) News Knowledge
d) News is Free
e) Aggregator Userland
7) Update your feed regularly by adding new items to the .rss file and ensuring each item has it's own link on your web site.
To keep your feed fresh, try to keep your channel items to a maximum of five, deleting older items from your feed as you update it. The dates next to your news items will adjust depending on when content aggregators pick them up.
You only need to do this once and then syndicators tracking your feed automatically pick up your new feed items as you update them.
8) Download one of these RSS readers to examine your own newsfeed:
Authors of web sites that get updated on a daily basis can "RSSify" their site very easily by utilizing one of the several free web-based services available.
Using Voidstar (http://www.voidstar.com/rssify.php), one can have their feed ready in about 2 minutes by plugging the URL into the "RSSifying Machine" and a certain piece of code before and after each post.
For Blogger users RSS feeds creation is now a viable option integrated in thier free web service. (http://www.blogger.com)
Researchers, publishers and all of us who strive to keep current with the latest news and trends in our field can't discard this unique opportunity for scouting and rapidly identifying what is important and needs our attention without being fed and forcefully brainwashed by the mainstream media.
Hours can be literally saved by gathering and checking news items in this way rather than by going systematically back to a selected group of news sites.
Finally, the opportunity provided by RSS feed technology to effectively distribute and disseminate key content through multiple channels and in real-time across the global Internet world opens up opportunity for independent voices to becomes more capable to access and redistribute key information items and news.
*RSS Reference Resources*
Complete description of the RSS 0.91 format is available at:
RSS: Lo-Fi Content Syndication
Set Up Your Own Newsfeed
Blogify Your Page
Content Syndication With RSS
In book format from O'Reilly at:
For a good introduction to how RSS feeds technically work see:
Webreference on RSS
What is RSS. Shows good examples of RSS code and clearly explains differences between the different RSS formats available
News 4 Sites
This is a really useful comment. If you use a package like wordpress to create your site you can syndicate the content very easily and then register it on blog search engine. I've done this on my blog and web design site.
gotta check out Atomrul.com
you can even do
above takes you to yahoo finance quote page for IBM
above takes you to google search to search for "iraq war"
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You can use FeedForAll to create RSS feeds so that you don't have to do it manually.
I have come across another (fairly well organized) RSS directory at http://www.shas3.com. Would be nice to see a reference to this dir in your article.
What should I do in order to change the font size on my blog site? Thanks.
That is one of the more thourough articles I have seen in a great while...Its no wonder you wrote a guide about collecting data...
If I learn a bit more about psychology, search engines, marketing, and the distribution of information I could help make a really fun world...
Glancing at this and through the rest of your site has done a good job of selling me...
Think I about to buy your eBook - paypal from awall19, thats me :)
Here is a terrific FREE ebook explaining everything that you need to create your own RSS Newsfeed for Blogger/Blogspot.
Bloglines is another, excellent free Web-based RSS reader.