Writing an RSS feed is possibly the only XML that many Web designers will ever have any contact with. But whether you use a tool to write your RSS feed, have it automatically created from a blog, or write it from scratch in a text editor, you want people to view that feed. The simplest way to do this is to simply link to the feed RSS file. Like this:

Subscribe to my What's New feed

Depending upon their browser, your customers will either be prompted to add the feed to their RSS reader (or browser) or shown an XML page with the feed in it. They can then use that URL to subscribe to the feed in their favorite feed reader. But some people don't know how to do this. While you could include instructions in your link (something like: "right click this link to get the URL of my feed and paste that into your feed reader software"), but that is long, and not everyone knows that they probably already have a feed reader. So it's often better to use an icon from some of the more common fead readers and homepage sites to get people to add your feed directly to their reader.

Add a Feed Icons

Lots of the more popular feed readers and home page tools have a script and button that anyone with a feed can use to promote their feed on their service. In order to use them, you need your RSS feed URL encoded for use in a URL, the image, and the link to their service. Here's how you do it for My Yahoo, Google, and Bloglines:

  1. Validate your feed. Many feed readers will not accept invalid feeds, so validate your feed first.
  2. Encode your URL. You can encode all the characters by hand or you can use an online form like this one (the second form box).
  3. Build the link for your button: My Yahoo: Google: Bloglines:
  4. Place the image for your button and close the link: My Yahoo:
    Add to My Yahoo