All about RSS

Understanding syndication feeds and how CP5 generates them

Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 11:08

RSS feeds in CP5

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds are channel of distribution for Web sites. The technology, rooted in XML, allows site owners to push a list of recent updates or stories through an accessible address or feed. This feed can then be read by many popular clients and browsers, including Microsoft Outlook, Firefox and feed/news readers and aggregators such as Google Reader.

In CP5, RSS feeds exist in every section/page. A newly created article flows into that sections' RSS feed. In the administration area, these RSS feeds are under the homepage or section page in the article tab under local content. Each of these feeds is customizable using the administration area. Your CP5 site also has a homepage or overall site feed that is completely customizable and manually updated, based upon what's in your local content for the main/overall site page.

Every time you publish, you'll want to update your homepage RSS feed with a selection of the latest stories. In your administration area you can do this by clicking the Search tab in the left column and then searching in the advanced area for "Recently Changed." Here you will be able to see the new articles you've uploaded. You can then copy and paste them into the Local Content for the home page.

This allows you to customize this RSS feed and you don't have to remove articles from the RSS feeds from past issues if they are still relevant. The RSS feed will pull in 20 articles and you can re-order them when in edit mode by dragging and dropping them in order.

Best Practices with RSS

    • Always update your feed when publishing new content.
    • Manually create articles for special teasers for your RSS readers.
    • Publicize your RSS feeds! Modern browsers display a small RSS icon in the address bar, signifying a known RSS feed. This isn't enough, though. Tease your RSS feed throughout your site with large icons and explainer text. Use an HTML element or a combination of image/link elements to achieve the desired look in your site.
    • Mention your RSS feed in your print edition but explain to your readership what it is and how it works. A technology story is always a great way to promote what your paper is doing in that realm.
    • Take similar RSS explainer text and publish it as an article or page on your site. Give your readers a reason to use your site as a reference. Remember, many of your peers are likely unfamiliar with some of the emerging technologies that you've already adopted. Take time to break it down and make sense of it. Your readers will thank you through loyalty.
    • You can use a site like FeedBurner to republish your RSS feed in a way that allows the tracking of viewers and click-throughs.

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