How to Create an RSS Feed for Your Online Business - dummies

How to Create an RSS Feed for Your Online Business

By Greg Holden

These days, blogs and RSS feeds are the preferred options for getting the word out about your online business. The phrase “send an RSS feed of your website or eBay listings” might sound really high-tech and complex. But it’s Really Simple — Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, that is.

RSS converts the contents of a web page to an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) file so that it can be read in a flash by anyone with an RSS reader software program. People subscribe to your RSS feed, and they receive it each time your site’s contents are updated.

RSS is a marketing tool that is widely used in the world of blogs. Just as a blog publisher can, you can capture an RSS feed of your sales and offer it (you might say, feed it) to customers who want to subscribe to it. If you sell through an eBay Store, it’s easy to get started. Follow these steps:

  1. Subscribe to a feeder program, such as FeedBurner.

  2. Go to your MyeBay page and sign in with your User ID and password if needed.

    The MyeBay page appears.

  3. Hover your mouse pointer over the Account tab and then select Marketing Tools from the drop-down list.

  4. In the Store Marketing links on the left side of the page, click the RSS Feeds link.

  5. In the RSS Feeds for eBay Buyers area, select the Activate Your Fixed Price Listings via RSS option.

  6. Click Apply.

    eBay creates the file within 12 hours and posts it to a web address (URL) based on your Store’s URL. Enter the URL in your web browser to see if the content is available.

Once your RSS feed is available, tell your customers they can access it. If you don’t sell through eBay, turning your catalog listings into an RSS feed isn’t quite as simple. You need to come up with a standard description for your listings: a listing title, description, and hyperlink. You then format each item like this:

<title>Model 101 Widget</title>
<description>Check out the 101, the latest and greatest widget offering ever!</description>

You go to a site, such as Feed Validator, to make sure that your formatting is correct. Then subscribe to one of the RSS readers. Copy your feed to the reader and distribute it.