Friday, September 23, 2005

RSS - Creating a Feed from Your Website - "What's new?"

Topic: Creating an RSS feed from your website - how to create and manage
your own feed.

Today: What's New?

RSS Feeds are a "what's new" mechanism. RSS Feeds are a way of sending a
"what's new" message so the recipient knows it is time to revisit the
website.

"What's new" is perfect for a blog, because a blog is a serial set of
entries. The latest post is the "what's new".

But how does that work with a website? Some websites are relatively static.
Some websites are online brochures that do not change much. How does a RSS
Feed work for that kind of website? The answer is simple - it does not. If
you have a static website that does not undergo change, there is no reason
to have a feed.

What if you wanted to add a regular post and then generate a feed? I would
recommend that you consider creating a blog and letting the blog create the
RSS feed.

The RSS Feed does not fit every website.

The "what's new" does not have to be regular or frequent. I subscribe to
RSS Feeds from software sites that inform me when there is a new software
version release. I might get 1 or 2 RSS feed items in a year.

Unlike a blog where some regular updating is recommended, a feed only has to
be sent when there is something new. That could be as little as once or
twice in a year, or for a news feed, it could be every hour.

To create a feed for a website, you must first determine what the feed will
be posting. What is going to be the included in the "What's new?".

What are some examples of feeds from websites?
- The daily menu from a cafeteria website.
- New product announcements.
- Notice of a sale.
- Seasonal announcement
- Invitation to a special event.
- Notification of a new article.
- News story headline
- Sports score
- New software release

The goal is to have the "What's New" of sufficient interest for the
subscriber to follow the link and come back to the website.

Assignment: Is a feed appropriate for your website? What would be the
nature of the feed?

Next topic: Creating the feed.

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