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Overview of RSS Feeds

OVERVIEW of RSS FEEDS

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication (sometimes referred to as Rich Site Summary) is a means by which blogs can broadcast their content to a number of services and individuals easily. Some have gone so far as to argue that RSS is one of the chief reasons why blogging holds so much potential. An RSS feed collects the content of your post (depending on your software, you can opt to syndicate the entire post, just a headline, or some other combination) and then sends it in readable, plain text, to any of the targets you might choose.

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Bloggers often submit their RSS feeds to popular blog directories, RSS directories and search engines. Users can then find the feeds in which they are interested and “subscribe to them,” reading them with an RSS feed reader. They may also simply read your feed and then hop on over to your site. RSS feeds are a great way of promoting your blog. There is also some evidence to suggest that RSS feeds can serve to boost the results of your blog in search engine rankings. They are also a wonderful way of getting noticed by at least one of the major search engines.

CREATING AN RSS FEED

Your blogging software will probably handle the process of creating an RSS feed for your blog automatically. For instance, those blogging at Blogger.com are automatically “given” an RSS feed (in Atom format) that they can burn and use. Other blogging services provide RSS feeds, as well.

If your blog service provider or software doesn’t automatically create an RSS feed for your blog, you can build one yourself. Those experienced with HTML may want to hand-code their RSS feed. Those of us who prefer a quicker solution can choose from a variety of software tools (many of which are freeware) to accomplish the goal.

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SUBMITTING YOUR RSS FEED

Having a feed will not do you much good if no one reads it! Thus, you must share your RSS feed with others. This can be done, in large measure, by using one of the multiple site ping services mentioned earlier. Pingoat, for instance, will request your RSS feed and will transmit it to a number of sites that aggregate these feeds.
You can also opt to submit your feed to any number of other RSS aggregators. A relatively long list of options, for instance, is currently available at http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm.

A great place to manage your RSS feed needs is at Feedburner, which can be found at http://www.feedburner.com. This free service provides you with a number of tools that can make sharing your RSS feed easier and more effective. It also offers free circulation traffic (just in case you want to know how many people are tracking your feed) and a lot of handy ways to help other subscribe to your feed.

You can skip manual submissions by using a service to submit your rss feeds to, I use an Automatic RSS Submission service that submits to over 200 rss directories.

RSS FEEDS AS A WAY INTO YAHOO

There is a now well-known technique that may enable your site to be discovered and indexed by the Yahoo search engine in record time. This technique makes use of your RSS feed and is a relatively simple thing to do.

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You must have a free Yahoo account in order to do this. Create an account if you do not already have one. The sign up procedure is fast and simple.
After logging into your Yahoo account, go to the “My Yahoo” page. There you will find an option to add content to your page. You can add content in the form of your blog’s RSS feed. It is a simple and intuitive process that will only require you to have the URL of your RSS feed (which is easily locatable via your blogging software or service).

One you add your RSS feed to your content page, Yahoo will track the RSS feed in order to keep your page updated with developments. As a result, you have instructed Yahoo to find and note changes made to your blog.

This strategy has successfully allowed many blogs to find their way into Yahoo results in record time. It has been referred to as the Yahoo backdoor and is now a practice commonly used when launching a new blog. With greater use by more people, its effectiveness may have diminished somewhat (especially in terms of search engine results), but it still is the fastest way to crack into any of the big three search engines.

BONUS TIPS
1. Don’t forget to update! Make sure you remember to either ping using a mass-ping service or to manually alert RSS aggregators about your feed every time you update. Otherwise, you are losing some of the potential value of the feed.

2. Make your feed a moneymaker! Some bloggers who are particularly interested in making their blog pay may want to consider using their RSS feed as a vehicle for advertising. Google’s Adsense program has operated a program to allow some Adsense publishers place ads in their feeds and other means of feed advertising are growing.

Why Dreamweaver Has Become So Popular

When we run Dreamweaver training courses, we are always amazed at the number of different types of Dreamweaver user who attend our courses. There is simply no longer a typical Dreamweaver user. We get people working from all types of organisation in all types of role. Private individuals, accounts specialists, marketing specialists, academics, workers in the health services…

One thing is for certain, on our courses, we are now getting far more people learning Dreamweaver who are not and do not intend to become specialists in web development. They are, more typically, people who need to develop web content and who perceive Dreamweaver as the best program to use for the task in hand. Coming to this conclusion is almost inevitable since Dreamweaver is widely perceived as the software tool of choice for both the casual and professional web developer.

Dreamweaver has obtained its position as undisputed number due to the fact that first Macromedia and now Adobe have paid careful attention to the needs of web developers of all types and to the technologies used to build web sites. They have managed to create a product which satisfies the needs of both amateur and professional web developers and which embraces emerging standards in the web


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sites are constructed. As web developers and web development has evolved, Dreamweaver has evolved with it. That’s why Dreamweaver is still around while all of its original competitors have disappeared.

In the early days of web development, there were two types of web development tool: those used by coders (the specialists who understood the technologies underlying web pages) and the visual software tools which functioned in a manner similar to word processing and page layout programs and were used by non-specialists and inexperienced web developers. The visual programs (which included Dreamweaver) had a very poor reputation among web professionals who found that the code produced by these programs was clumsy, verbose and inefficient.

About ten years ago (recognising the need to satisfy both types of user), Macromedia, the owners of Dreamweaver started making efforts to attract serious web developers to Dreamweaver. They addressed the code issue by including tools which would clean up inefficiencies in automatically-generated code and purchasing and bundling a coding utility called with Dreamweaver. They also enhanced their code environment with sophisticated features like line-numbering, colour-coding and code-hints and added other code-friendly features to supplement the visual development environment such as the tag selector which displays the HTML tags representing the objects on the page.

In June 2000, Macromedia added another string to their bow by releasing a special edition of Dreamweaver called Dreamweaver UltraDev. This version of Dreamweaver contained all the features of the basic programs but added special utilities for creating dynamic content. Users could create server-side content using ASP, ColdFusion or JavaServer pages. The program automatically generated code for connecting to a database, retrieving and displaying data and linking elements on a web page to a data source. Two years later, they dropped UltraDev and added all of its functionality into the standard version of Dreamweaver, further enhancing its appeal to serious web developers.

Recognising that many web developers are members of a team, Macromedia also added features to Dreamweaver allowing teams of people to collaborate on the same site while avoiding the risk of two people making conflicting changes to the same page. Dreamweaver’s collaborative features were called “File Check in/Check out”. The program also introduced a feature known as “Design Notes”. This allowed one developer to attach a note to a particular web page which could then be browsed by other members of his or her team.

As new technologies have emerged, the makers of Dreamweaver have also responded by taking them on board and modifying the way the program generates code. Thus, in the latest release of the program, Dreamweaver CS3, it is assumed that the user will be building websites using cascading style sheets (rather than HTML tables as was previously the case) and Dreamweaver offers a series of thirty or so different CSS page layouts that can be used to build efficient pages and adapted and personalised at will.

The latest Dreamweaver also includes some groovy new features which embrace the Ajax technology using the Adobe’s Spry Framework for Ajax, a library of automatically generated JavaScript code which allows the creation of interactive web page on which page content can be updated in response to user actions without the page having to be reloaded.

Each new release of Dreamweaver brings exciting as well as practical new features which always seem to slot nicely into the familiar easy-to-use interface. This coupled with the fact that Dreamweaver always allows experienced professionals full access and control over every aspect of the web pages and web applications they are developing should ensure that the program continues to be the automatic choice for any individual or organisation needing a decent software tool for web development of any kind.

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