Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Creating a Feed from Your Website - Using Programs

We have been discussing how to create an RSS feed from your website
manually. There are all sorts of programs that are available to create
Feeds from your website.

Some read the website and create an RSS Feed for each webpage, and create
the RSS Feed as follows

- RSS Item title = webpage Title
- RSS Item description = webpage Description Meta Tag
- RSS Item link = webpage URL

Some using the technique known as "scraping" or "screen scraping", which is
reading a website or webpage screen or HTML and trying to make intelligent
decisions about what should be in an RSS Feed.

For each program in this category, they read the website or webpage and
create the RSS Feed.

But lets review. The two characteristics of a website RSS Feed.
- It is just the headline or an announcement that brings people to the
- It is a "what's new" feature for the website

Each of those characteristics means that it is probably going to take manual
intervention to make the programs work.
- If you are using the RSS Feed to announce a new article, you want to
decide how much of the article is enough to entice someone to click and read
the entire article.
- If you are using the RSS Feed to introduce a new product, you want to
decide what should be in the RSS Feed to entice people to come to the
website, review the product, and potentially buy the product.
- If you are using the RSS Feed to announce a meeting or event, you want to
include enough to bring people to the website and have them review the
details of the event or meeting.

All-in-all, I do not recommend any program, product, or system that reads
the website or webpage to try to figure out what should be on the RSS Feed.

Next topic: What I do recommend.

Les Bain
Wizard Creek Consulting

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