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just getting started - newb question

please hold my hand

5:53 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member httpwebwitch is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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So, I can create my RSS file by hand, using one of the nice Perl tools, or via PHP, that's not the question.

What do I do with it?
Do I just place it out on the server, thus giving it a URI, like any other file?

I have a lot of daily-updated content dealing with specific medical and wellness questions. Naturally, I'm thinking that making an RSS available might bring more traffic our way.

I've looked at a few online tutorials, but they are aggravatingly vague, general, they discuss the abstract merits of RSS, and the syntax of the XML itself. I need specific advice, i.e. tell me Exactly What To Do.

And what was it I read in a previous post about it becoming "illegal"? Was that a joke?

11:36 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yup, just put it on your site as if it were an HTML file. Save it as

http: //www.example.com/rss.xml

(for example). Then put a link to it somewhere on your home page, using either anchor text or one of those little orange graphics. People won't actually follow the link in their browser, they'll use the link to copy the URL using the "copy link address" function of their browser so they can paste it into their RSS reader. Also, the little orange graphic notifies people that your site had a feed.

Finally, put this meta tag in the headers of on your front page:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="rss.xml">

Of course, change the href as applicable.

Finally, you can go to feed aggregation sites and submit the URL of your feed. In a couple days, they'll start requesting it (in some cases hourly).

Honestly, I wouldn't expect a huge boost in traffic immediately unless people are already clamoring for you to add a feed--but it's fairly simple to set up, and I think it's got a lot of future potential. It's a good bet that it will turn out to be worth the small amount of time and effort.

3:32 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have a quick question to add to httpwebwitch's:

When you upload the RSS feed to the server is it more common to give it the extension .xml or .rss? (or .rdf?!)

I gather for all functional purposes, there's no difference, but I'd like to hear if there's a theoretical difference or if there might be in the future or if one is simply incorrect or if it's the same sort of issue as using .htm or .html...

10:27 pm on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It doesn't seem to matter, but I'd go with an xml extenstion, since the file format is xml. I did a quick check of the RSS feeds I'm most familiar with, and it looks like the xml extension is more popular by about 2:1 over the rss extension. The first few lines of the file itself contain the exact version information anyway.

It might have some impact on the mime-type, (remember that thread!), but the only one that seems to care about the mime-type is the validator itself: an incorrect mime-type doesn't seem to prevent a feed from being processed properly.

I wonder if the different extensions aren't just a reflection of the bizarre politics surrounding the development of the different feed formats.


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