By S. Housley
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) has rapidly become an alternative communication venue. Given the ever-increasing importance of RSS in online communities, webmasters, web surfers, and publishers may need to better understand this powerful tool. Here are some tools and resources that may be helpful.
RSS feeds bring automatically-updated information straight to your desktop. You can monitor or promote news, job listings, personals, and classifieds using RSS. The following tools assist webmasters in using RSS to maximize their time:
RSS Readers: RSS readers are designed as tools to view RSS feeds, making it easier for users to view and manage the content of a feed. Feed readers make it easy to mark feeds as read or flag items that are important. The following are some of our favorite RSS readers:
- FeedDemon: FeedDemon is a client that can retrieve and organize RSS feeds from the Internet. It comes pre-configured with several news feeds, and you can easily add your own by adding the URL for an RSS feed of your choice. FeedDemon offers an attractive and easy-to-use interface with integrated web browsing.
- Feed Scout: FeedScout is a RSS/ATOM/RDF reader that can be used directly from Internet Explorer. Feed Scout enables you to view RSS/ATOM feeds from different sites in the Internet Explorer environment. You can even set your Home Page to show your favorite feeds.
RSS Creation Tools: As RSS feeds have increased in popularity and breadth, publishers and webmasters have struggled to find an easy way to create RSS feeds. The following tools will assist webmasters in creating RSS feeds:
- FeedForAll: FeedForAll is desktop software used to create, edit, manage and publish RSS feeds. Advanced features enable you to create professional-looking RSS feeds quickly. Existing RSS feeds can be repaired and enhanced with FeedForAll. RSS feeds generated by other means can be automatically repaired so that they conform to the RSS 2.0 specification. Existing feeds can be enhanced to contain advanced feed properties or overhauled with a more professional look.
RSS Articles and Tutorials: Articles and tutorials based on RSS and designed to demystify Really Simple Syndication for users and publishers:
- RSS Specifications: RSS Specifications contains a collection of articles related to RSS and news feeds that assist both publishers and users in deciphering really simple syndication.
- Make RSS Feeds: Make RSS Feeds offers step by step instructional tutorial detailing how to manually create an RSS feed.
Ebay Monitoring Using RSS: Monitor online auctions for specific items of interest. As eBay has grown, it has become difficult to discern and locate specific auction items. By using RSS tools, users can easily receive instant notification when a specific item is being auctioned:
- Free Bidding Tools: Free Bidding Tools allows you to monitor online auctions for specific items of interest.
Web Monitoring: Monitor the Internet for specific news items or blog topics of interest. A number of free online RSS tools make web monitoring very easy:
- PubSub: Every day, PubSub’s matching engine performs billions of matches of new items against user subscriptions. The instant a match is made, PubSub alerts the user via RSS. PubSub monitors more than 6.5 million blogs, as well as 50,000 USENET newsgroups, all SEC/EDGAR filings, press releases from major wire services, and FAA airport delay alerts.
Other RSS Tools: Here are some alternative tools for creative webmasters:
- RSS2Wap: The RSS2Wap site is meant for online conversions of RSS feeds into WML for access on WAP devices (RSS2WML, RSS WAP or RSS-to-WAP). It’s free and you can make a link to it on your Web site.
- RSS Graphic Tool: Web sites cam use colorful graphics as flags to indicate to web surfers that RSS feeds are available for specific content. If you have limited time and lack artistic abilities, use this free online RSS graphic tool to create an RSS button. The button’s color and text can be customized to suit the look and feel of your website.
- FeedRoll: FeedRoll is a free service for syndicating popular RSS and ATOM news feeds on your website or blog. Select a feed, customize the design, then copy and paste the code provided onto your page.
PHP Options: The benefit to using a PHP script to display RSS on a website is that the content dynamically updates but search engines see the content as static. Here are some great PHP tools:
- FeedForAll’s rss2html.php: If you are technically savvy and wish to host the script yourself, check out FeedForAll’s free PHP script that will display RSS feeds on a website.
- RSS2HTML: RSS2HTML is a free tool that allows you to display RSS feeds by selecting layouts and color schemes.
RSS Blogs. Stay informed about the latest RSS industry news by monitoring RSS blogs. Daily posts bring readers current news, industry announcements and general RSS information:
- RSS Specifications brings you everything you need to know about RSS, including daily posts and RSS tidbits.
- KbCafe offers daily posts and editorials related to RSS and new RSS products that have emerged.
Publishing List / RSS Newsgroups: Newsgroups and discussion lists that focus on RSS issues:
- New RSS-Publishing List for publishers. The list is focused on marketing/publishing/operational issues rather than hardcore technical details of RSS, meaning that coding issues and disputes over the merits of RSS vs. Atom are not the focus. If you wish to participate in the list and receive e-mails of posts, simply subscribe by sending and e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- RSS Syndication is a collection of RSS related news feeds displayed in an easy-to-read format.
RSS Related Forums: Forums can be a useful for anyone doing business online. You’ll be interested in both reading the content and actively participating in the discussions. If you want to learn more about RSS, consider participating in the following online RSS communities:
- 2RSS: An RSS forum for feed and related RSS discussions.
- FeedForAll Forum: An RSS forum for RSS and feed creation-related discussions.
- German RSS Forum: A German RSS forum for feed discussions.
Locate RSS Feeds: These feeds cover a wealth of useful information.
- Syndic8 is an RSS and Atom news feed on a wide variety of topics. Designed with a directory structure and search functionality, Syndic8 also tracks statistical information related to RSS feeds.
- Feedster’s FeedFinder: Use Feedfinder to search by keyword or by URL or a combination of the two in order to find feeds on that topic or by that organization.
- RSS Discovery: The websites you already read may have an RSS feed. Use the BlogStreet’s RSS Discovery tool and enter in a website. If there is a feed available, BlogStreet will provide the URL.
- RSS Locator: A directory and search engine for RSS content including weblogs, newsfeeds, forum feeds and related content feeds, RSS Locator displays feed content in an HTML format so users can preview the feed’s content. Locate topic-specific RSS feeds for syndication.
Submit RSS Feeds: As more and more people get involved with the Internet and as Web sites, blogs, news services and other online resources continue to grow in number and variety, it becomes increasingly important to maintain high visibility and exposure for your content. As a rapidly increasing number of content sources, new and old, migrate or add RSS as a key distribution channel, and as more people utilize RSS newsreaders and aggregators to keep themselves informed, it becomes more challenging to maintain high exposure and visibility simply by using major search engines. Web masters and others must also submit to RSS feed directories and search tools:
- RSS Submit: Save time and automate RSS submissions with RSS Submit from K-Soft.
- RSS Specifications: Submit RSS files to the large list of RSS directories and expedite your RSS content syndication.
- RSS Submission Service: A fee-based blog submission service that will submit your blog or RSS feed to more than 70 blog directories. Submissions are done manually, and this service is primarily designed for blog feeds.
- RSS Top 55: Top websites for RSS submissions. Premium service is available for a nominal fee that will prioritize the RSS site submissions in the order of importance.
Using RSS tools, publishers and webmasters can increase productivity and efficiency. RSS monitoring can often automate many of the procedures that are time-consuming and monotonous, freeing up time.