Syndicate Your Headlines Using RSS
Shelley Lowery Copyright © 2004
RSS is quickly becoming the standard choice for delivering syndicated web
content. Have you ever wondered how some of the large content sites deliver
their headlines? Or, have you ever wanted to display news headlines, but
didn't want to display the standard "Content Provided By..." info? Or, have
you ever wanted to syndicate your own content? RSS may be the answer you've
been looking for.
RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. It is an XML
format specifically designed to share content. Netscape originally developed
RSS to drive channels for their Netscape Netcenter. Formerly known as RDF,
RSS was developed in 1999 and has quickly evolved into the dominant format
for syndicating content. Well-known sites such as, CNET, ZDNet, CNN, Wired
and many more utilize this powerful means of dynamic content delivery.
Distributing your content using RSS will involve creating one file that contains
your content. This file will reside on your server to enable other web sites
to display your channel. You can update your channel simply by updating your
Once you've created your file you can submit it to web sites to enable others
Creating an RSS File
Your first step will be to identify your file. To do this, place the following
code at the top of your text file.
<!DOCTYPE rss PUBLIC "-//Netscape Communications//DTD RSS 0.91//EN"
Your next step will be to create
your channel header. The "channel" tag indicates that you are beginning a
<description>Web Development article syndication
The "title" tag indicates the name
of your channel. The "link" tag will contain a link to your web site. The
"description" tag describes your channel and the "language" tag indicates
that you're writing in US English.
In addition to displaying text, you can also display a small logo. The image
should be 88 pixels wide and 31 pixels high. Displaying an image is optional.
If you're not going to include an image, skip this step.
<description>Web Design and Development</description>
Now, you're ready to create your
headlines. Each new "item" tag represents a new topic. The rule of thumb
is to include between five and fifteen items. You can include a description,
but it isn't required.
<title>Moving Up From Classified Ads to Display
<description>Display ads are the standard advertising tool of print
media. You can impress your carefully targeted audience with a colorful display
ad that spreads across the page of your favorite magazine, trade bulletin,
<title>Creating A Customized Marquee</title>
<description>Learn how to create a customized marquee for your web
Your final step will be to close
your channel by adding the following tags:
Save your new file with a .rss file
extension and upload it to your server.
Your final step will be to validate your RSS. Visit either of the following
sites to validate your file:
If you'd rather not create your own RSS file, RSS Channel Editor is a free
Web based tool that makes it easy to create and maintain RSS files. You can
find the script here:
Now, you're ready to share your content. Visit the following web sites to
submit your new channel and enable other web sites to display your content:
If you'd like to display RSS content on your web site, you'll need a script
to fetch the content. RSS Fetcher
is a free script that will fetch content, format it as HTML and store it
in a file on your server. The content can then be displayed on your web
You can locate RSS files to display on your web site at the following web
For further information about RSS, read Jonathan Eisenzopf's tutorial entitled,
"Using RSS News Feeds."
If you have content that you regularly update, give RSS a try. Providing
free content is an extremely powerful method of increasing your web site
Copyright © Shelley Lowery
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