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how to use free rss xml feeds

How to Use Free RSS Feeds.
Subscribe and Read RSS XML Feeds
Set Up an RSS Feed for a Website or Blog and Publish it


What Is a Free RSS Feed? You’ve seen on web pages those little orange chicklet buttons that say "Feed", "RSS XML" or "Subscribe Here." They are links to useful web pages called RSS feeds. RSS feeds keep you informed of what’s new on your favorite sites and help you get more out of the Internet. The Free RSS XML feed is a powerful tool.

The RSS feed is a great timesaver, particularly if you follow a number of sites, or do research on the web. It is no longer necessary to surf through all your favorite sites to find new postings. Instead, subscribe to the free RSS feed at each website, and you will automatically be kept up to date about what's happening.

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and XML is the language used for it. XML stands for extensible markup language. An RSS feed is just a webpage file written in XML language. The feed has a URL address, just like other webpages. For example, the feed of this Surfer Sam website has the URL http://www.surfersam.com/feed.xml. Surfer Sam's Feed.

Many websites update their RSS Feed regularly with info and a link to each new page. A website is said to be syndicated when it has an RSS feed available. When you subscribe to a feed, your browser or newsreader will regularly check that Web site for updates.

How to Subscribe to a Free RSS Feed

Step 1. Go to a favorite website. Click the RSS button and you will see the Feed in your browser.

Step 2. While the RSS Feed is on the screen, click the button in your browser that says Subscribe, Add Content, or Add Content by URL.

Alternate Method to Subscribe to a Free RSS Feed

Step 1. Go to a favorite website. Click the RSS button and you see the Feed in your browser. The address of the feed page is what you need. Just copy the URL of this feed page from your browser address box. To copy the URL, right-click on the address box to highlight it, and choose “Copy” from the pop-up menu.

Step 2. Pull up your computer newsreader or your online newsreader. The page has a box for the URL you just copied. Right click in the box, select “Paste” from the pop-up menu. Then click the “ADD” button. Now you’re good to go. You have subscribed to the feed of the website. Your newsreader will read the XML code of the feed for you. The newsreader will check the feed for new entries, so you can stay up to date with new postings on the site. When you click on any entry in the RSS feed, your browser will zip directly to the new page at the website.

What Is an RSS Feed Newsreader?

A newsreader is a software tool that keeps track of the free RSS feeds from sites you want to follow. Your newsreader can be personalized to track as many feeds as you like. When you add the web address of a site feed to your newsreader, you are subscribing to the feed.

Your RSS newsreader is also called an RSS aggregator, a feed aggregator or an RSS reader.

Newsreaders are easy to use. You can download newsreader software that runs on your own computer. Browsers also let you subscribe to RSS feeds and read them. Or you can use a free online newsreader, like My Yahoo!, Goggle’s home page or the Google Sidebar on the Google desktop. An online newsreader has the advantage that you can access it from any computer.

Don't confuse the RSS newsreader with another tool also called a newsreader that accesses the moderated bulletin board system known as Usenet newsgroups.

How to Set Up an RSS Feed for a Website or Blog

An RSS Feed is a simple text file you can create in Notepad. The easiest way to create an RSS Feed for a site or a blog is to hijack another feed and modify it. Let’s use the Surfer Sam RSS Feed, which is a file named feed.xml located in the main directory of the site. Here is a feed, line by line.

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<rss version="2.0">

<channel>
<title>Surfer Sam and Friends</title>
<description>Funny jokes and pix, blogs, games, travel, news, free ecards, horoscope. Enjoy yourself. Life's a beach!!</description>
<link>http://www.surfersam.com</link>

<item>
<title>The Funny Side of the Street. Only in America will you get these gags.</title>
<description> Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard? Why isn't there mouse flavored cat food? Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but duck if you throw a revolver at him?</description>
<link>http://www.surfersam.com/friends/street.htm</link>
<guid>http://www.surfersam.com/friends/street.htm</guid>
</item>

<item>
<title>Funny Redneck Jokes!</title>
<description>There's a little Redneck in all of us. Sasha's collection of outrageous Redneck jokes and pix brings us closer to our roots. A big hit!</description>
<link>http://www.surfersam.com/sasha.htm</link>
<guid>http://www.surfersam.com/sasha.htm</guid>
</item>

</channel>
</rss>

To see the XML code for any RSS Feed in your browser, right click your mouse and select "View Page Source." Notice how XML code uses tags similar to HTML. Copy this feed into any simple text editor like Notepad to create your RSS feed. Change the channel title, channel description and channel link to refer to your own site.

The content between the tags <item> and </item> refer to one page of your site. You can use your HTML page title as your XML item title if you wish. And the HTML description tag can provide ideas for the XML item description. Notice that the item link is the location of the new page. When you have entered your items, finish the file with the end of channel tag </channel> and the end of RSS tag </rss>. You should save the feed as a file with a name like to feed.xml. Upload your RSS feed file to the root directory of your website.

Verify your RSS Feed

You’ll want to be sure that your feed is coded correctly. Once your feed is online, a convenient website, feedvalidator.org, will test and validate your feed in a jiffy. If there are errors, you’ll get diagnostic help.

Finally, you’ll want to check that the links to your pages are working. To do this, power up your browser or newsreader, and look at your new RSS Feed. From your newsreader, click each link in the feed. That’s it. You have successfully syndicated your website or blog.

Three Free Ways Your RSS Feed Can Build Traffic

  1. Now that you have an RSS feed, you’ll want to publicize it on your website. Use the familiar orange RSS/XML image to link to your feed so visitors can subscribe to it. Your feed will build interest and traffic as site visitors subscribe to your feed.
  2. You can be proactive in building traffic, too. Notify the major feed directories every time that your feed is updated. This notification is called pinging. The free website www.pingoat.com will ping dozens of the major directories for you. All it requires is the URL of your RSS Feed.
  3. You can also email your RSS Feed to subscribers whenever it is updated. Feedburner, the site owned by Google. will do this for you, automatically and free.

    I hope you have many happy hours browsing the web via your RSS newsreader. I wish you a very happy day.

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