Are these sites using anything on the back end like a CMS, or are they hand coded, manually updated sites?
They are hand coded, manually updated Bill. I have used two online tools, but they just pick up the link anchor text as the Title for the item and the URL.
Unlike with some of the wordpress blogs I have that have both title and actual description in each item of the RSS feed.
Its becoming a real Challenge. I saw something on Labnol on how to create one, but it looks time consuming and not to mention the submission part later.
So isnt there a sofware that will scrape the actual page title, description and create an item in proper XML format?
This of course with the link in the title.
We don't like to recommend specific tools a lot because the tool makers then spam us with links to their sites. There are a bunch of software packages that claim to do what you're asking, but I have no experience with them. Look for how to create RSS from HTML [bing.com] or HTML to RSS [bing.com] scripts.
I have some sites that I manually update RSS for, but I don't trust those scraper packages. I just add the info I want in a text editor directly. Then I know the feed has what I want in it. However, those feeds don't update all that often.
The simple option would be for you to incorporate a blog software, like MovableType, to be part of the publishing of your articles. The software publishes the HTML into your page template, and then you use the software's back end to create the RSS and ping the directories. I've done this with one site and it's simple and works just fine. MT generates static HTML pages by default, and you can specify the path/filename to match your site. It looks just like your own site.
I used to do similar to Bill on a site that I used to run.
The feed had its own composed "teaser" to bring the user into the site. Updates were about one a week so it was no big deal.
I read your response to Newborn with great interest. I have an online magazine (I'm using Dreamweaver 8 on a Macintosh) and wish to offer an RSS feed for my readers who are interested.
I, too, want to manually update the feed. I've seen the format for coding RSS and feel comfortable with that aspect of it, but don't know quite where to go from there as far as offering the feed to visitors to my site.
Any information as to how to proceed would be appreciated.
[edited by: bill at 8:49 am (utc) on Mar 5, 2010]
[edit reason] No signatures or links please [/edit]
Welcome to WebmasterWorld BillPitts.
If you didn't want to use the blog/CMS idea mentioned above then there are some feed editors out there like FeedEdit (free) that will let you update a valid RSS file manually. Or you could be a real geek and use NotePad and add the code by hand. ;)
I use a Macintosh so I'll assume that TextEdit (the basic text-editing program that comes with the operating system) is the Mac-equivalent to NotePad.
I've no problem with hand-coding my information. What I need to learn, however, is what to do with that information after I've formatted it. How do I get this info into the hands of interested readers of my ezine?
P.S. Thanks for clearing up my log-in problem.
First you'd want to put a link to your feed in your source code. Here are 3 examples of links to different types of feeds. You only need one.
<link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Atom" href="http://example.com/atom.xml" />
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 1.0" href="http://example.com/index.rdf" />
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 2.0" href="http://example.com/index.xml" />
Then if you wanted to advertise the feed more on your site you could place links to the feed somewhere on the page along with the RSS logo image.
Getting people to use the feeds is another matter entirely. I managed to convert a grand total of 2 users from email newsletters to RSS.
The best use that I got from the feed was to display the latest message on the home page.
The following message was cut out to new thread by bill. New thread at: rss_atom/4096744.htm [webmasterworld.com]
10:04 am on Mar 13, 2010 (jst +9)
I was told by the tech guys at the company that hosts my online magazine of a great article on RSS feeds. It answered all of my questions about building a RSS feed. Now our site has an easy-to-update, very workable feed. I'm updating it manually as this is the way I prefer, plus we aren't making additions or changes that often.
This article is at Search Engine Watch [searchenginewatch.com].
However,this article doesn't cover how to place the RSS indicator at the right hand end of the address bar (as this page has above in its address bar). Bill, the administrator for this thread, covered that earlier here. I used the third version like so:
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 2.0" href="http://www.TypeYourWebsiteNameHere.com/TypeYourFeedNameHere.xml" \title="TypeYourRSSfeedTitleHere"/>
and placed it in the header of my home page, following the internal style sheet.
One important note: when you type out your XML file for your feed descriptions, make sure it reads as you want it the first time. If you go back and alter one of the descriptions (to correct a spelling error, say), you will generate TWO notices about the same page in your feed. Not a big deal but it doesn't look clean or serve any real purpose, as there is no actual change to the page in question.