Adding RSS to your website

This is the main page of a series (yet to be written) of How-To guides for adding RSS feeds to your website.

It’ll cover HTML and PHP scripted sites and all the tools will be free to use.

Why HTML? Well, some blogging systems and the Blogger sites don’t allow the user to add serverside scripts. Poop to them, but until they relax or allow some controlled way around it then those sites need to be treated as pure HTML.

Method Type Cache 3rd Party? SEF Score Demo
Magpie RSS PHP Yes No Yes 10 here
DOMIT! RSS PHP Yes No Yes 5 here
CaRP PHP Yes No Yes 4 here
SimplePie PHP Yes No Yes 10 here

The Test

I’m going to use the same feed for all of my tests and only show 5 items from the feed. I’ll also use the feed title and description at the top. And my score will be based on how easy it’s been to implement.

Cache

It is important that the RSS method does cache files as this saves your bandwidth and that of the site providing the feed. Reaching out over the web to get the RSS feed for every page served up also makes your site slower.

The only downside to caching is the slight delay in getting new content showing on your site. Unless you’re promising up to the minute news that won’t be a significant problem and you’d still be better to refresh your cache using a cron job than to rely on frequent updates from a visit. For most of use regular caching methods are more than enough.

3rd Party Feeds

Your RSS feed may be handled through a 3rd Party. This might mean that you can’t use caching, or merely that there is an intemediary. This happens with Blogger’s Atom feeds as most RSS scripts can’t handle Atom. Atom is not a standard, so I can’t see why Blogger refuses to provide RSS too.

Avoid 3rd Party Feeds where possible.

Search Engine Friendly

There are two key benefits of having your feeds on someone else’s site

  1. Traffic, and potential customers
  2. Recognition from search engines that your site is valued

If the method with which you display a feed isn’t recognised by the search engines then you’ve just stripped off a significant part of the value and the feed source may be less enthusiastic about your use. After all they’re using up their bandwidth to provide you with free content. The least you can do is provide some indexable links.

And finally

Do you have an ASP tutorial? If so, I’d like to link to it because I won’t be covering ASP scripts.

Do you have an RSS system you’d like me to review? Just let me know…

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Sarah King Written by:

This is my website.

3 Comments

  1. June 22, 2008

    Hi,
    the scripts are good but i actually have problems when i use an amazon rss.

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