How to Create an RSS Feed for Your Site From Scratch

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How to Create an RSS Feed for Your Site From Scratch

While RSS feeds and feed readers aren’t as popular as they once were, they are nevertheless useful for site visitors who want to be alerted when your page is updated. Furthermore, RSS feeds may be utilized in a variety of ways to promote your content through social media.

Let’s start with how to create an RSS feed from scratch for your website.

An RSS feed is just an XML file for your website. To be recognized as an RSS feed, the XML file must follow a certain format.

To build your RSS feed, just provide your information for all of the required tags. You may use whatever text editor you choose. Notepad might suffice, but consider Notepad++.

Let’s look at the tags you’ll need in your XML file to generate your RSS feed:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<rss version="2.0">
<channel>

As you can see, the first two lines indicate the XML and RSS versions. The third line initiates the “channel” tag. This is where you would keep all of the information for your channel or website. Add these three lines in their entirety.

Next, some code about the feed:

<title>MakeUseOf RSS Feed</title>
<link>https://www.makeuseof.com/</link>
<description>Cool Websites, Software and Internet Tips</description>
<lastBuildDate>Wed, July 4 2018</lastBuildDate>

These few lines provide details about your RSS feed and website. The title tag includes whatever title you choose to give your RSS feed, the link tag refers to your website, and the description tag offers a short introduction to the RSS feed or the website. The lastBuildDate tag indicates when any material in the channel was last modified. It should be noted that dlastBuildDate is optional.

Whatever is inside your file now, lets call it the HEADER.

Following that is the RSS feed’s actual content, which will be presented as separate items when viewed using a feed reader. Each entry is included between a pair of item>/item> tags and must contain at least the following content:

<item>
<title>Entry Title</title>
<link>URL Link to the entry</link>
<guid>https://www.mysite.com/?p=584674</guid>
<description>This is the description of the content...</description>
<pubDate>Wed, July 4 2018</pubDate>
</item>

Again, the title tag refers to the header or text, and the link is the whole web URL where the item entry may be found on your website.

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The date has a specified format, as seen above. The time must be in GMT; for additional information on alternative date-time specification formats, see RFC 822 section 5.

Finally, the description tag contains the entry’s actual text or description. Remember that the preceding would be repeated for each entry on your website. If you have a blog with five articles, a full RSS feed should include five item tags to hold the five pieces.

The guid tag is a one-of-a-kind identifier for each object. Many feed readers (as well as your own code that creates that file) use this to assess if the RSS file includes fresh items.

The pubDate tag indicates when the material inside the channel was published. This pertains to the content of the various items in the preceding example, and each thing would have its own publishing date.

Close the open channel and RSS tags (using /channel> and /rss>, respectively) and save the file. Upload it to the right directory on your web server (the site root will do), and you now have an RSS file.

Most contemporary feed readers may show a header picture for your item if you use the HTML img> element before the description.

If you think about it, you’ll notice that the file you just produced is static, which means that the items you typed within the item tags will stay the same and will not update to reflect the most current material on your website. So, before we go, there are a few of concerns that need to be handled.

This would need a significant amount of programming. If you are not confident in your programming abilities, I recommend that you use a CMS such as Joomla, Drupal, or, best of all, WordPress (if that suits you).CMSes feature a variety of RSS feed plug-ins, and most of them have RSS capabilities out of the box. However, because you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re working on your own solution, so let’s get started.

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You may use the same programming language you used to create your website. The principle will be the same regardless of programming language. You’ll save a certain quantity of items that you added to your site’s RSS feed during the previous database update. When you publish a new page or blog article, this database is updated. You’ll read those values from the database and write them to the file every time your “rss update” script runs.

We will just get the items from the database and place them into the proper tags. I can only summarize the procedures quickly since the exact code will differ depending on the programming language you choose. The following code samples are provided by WebReference.com, so be sure to go over their details when developing your own code.

This function will get header information from the database and write it to the RSS file.

This function will retrieve all individual items from the database and save them to the RSS file.

In general, the stages or logic for the code will be the same regardless of the language used:

  1. Connect to the database that has all of the information we need (refer above).
  2. Get all of the ENTRIES you wish to include in the RSS feed. Typically, it is the ten most recent ones.
  3. Create the HEADER, which is the initial component of the file.
  4. Do the following for each item:
  5. Generate an <item> tag.
  6. Fill in the necessary tags and material.
  7. Generate the </item> tag.
  • To close the file, generate the FOOTER.
  • Another consideration is that feed readers should be able to recognize the created feed as an RSS feed. There are several methods to do this:

    Instead of displaying the contents of the script, your browser should identify the RSS feed when the feed’s URL is placed into the address box.

    Most current WordPress blogs have an RSS feed by default. Visit the URL appended with “/feed” at the end to see MakeUseOf’s RSS feed contents.

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    There have been several advancements in RSS technology throughout the years. There are so many sites that can take any website and transform it into a dynamically updated RSS feed that no one really needs to construct a manual RSS feed anymore. Here are a few internet businesses that will help you with this (not all are free).

    FetchRSS: This site allows you to identify components of any web page that you wish to watch for changes and produce an RSS feed from it by clicking on page elements.

    Feed Creator: FiveFilters.org’s Feed Creator service allows you to enter in the page URL and filter by guid, class attribute, or URL fragments.

    Feed43: Allows you to import HTML from any online page and construct snippets for filters that detect any new things on the page. You may establish restricted item feeds that refresh every six hours or more in the free version.

    Feedity: Like FetchRSS, this service allows you to visually highlight areas of a web page to watch for changes.

    There is a common notion that RSS is outdated technology, yet it has remained an important aspect of the web for a reason. That is why most CMS systems include RSS generating as part of their core package. This is because RSS is the simplest way for your followers and readers to subscribe to get alerts anytime your site changes.

    This keeps your visitors returning and loyal. So utilize RSS even if just a tiny percentage of your visitors request it. After all, repeat customers are hard to come by.

    Check out our comprehensive WordPress guide if you want to learn more about effortlessly operating a website.

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