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Feed Me RSS!

Feed Me RSS!

One of the most interesting features added to AOM recently is the ability to display an RSS feed in a custom box or page. For all the talk a year or so ago about how difficult it can be to display a feed in a store, there’s been very little buzz about having it added into the program. It might be that most people who wanted to incorporate a feed have already done so, and haven’t bothered to investigate this new wrinkle (I’ve been in that camp, I must admit). Others may have felt the whole ‘feed’ business was waaaay over their heads, so have steered clear of the whole thing. But of course, AOM makes even this task amazingly easy.

Like I just mentioned above, I’ve put feeds into stores. The process is not inherently difficult, but it’s not one of my favourite programming tasks. The whole business of setting up a feed reader, then having to tweak it, etc. is just a lot of bother I’d like to avoid. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, an RSS feed is an updating list of links, such as news, sports, or almost any subject you’d care to think about. You need a bit of software called a Feed reader, that captures the data and displays it for you to read. Then you need a link, which is is where the feeder gets the data (news, etc.). Most of them end with an .xml suffix. For example, here is the URL to a feed for BBC World News:

http://newsrss.bbc.co.uk/rss/newsonline_uk_edition/front_page/rss.xml

Clicking on the link will give you a list of the stories, sometimes in an HTML-style format.

You would put this link into a custom box, and select RSS Feed for Box Type. Set the other parameters to suit, and you’re all set. There’s also an RSS tab that allows you to select how many links to show in a custom box or page. Usually the defaults settings are fine to use, but you can change them to suit. When it’s all done, it looks like this:


blog1

Note the box in the corner marked “BBC World News”. As the stories change and the page/cache is refreshed, the links in the box will also change, ensuring you always have up-to-date stories. The procedure for a custom page is similar, selecting RSS Feed for Page Type, etc.

Anticipating a question many of you may have, no, this does not help you with having non-duplicate content on your page. Remember that almost every feed you can use will have hundreds, if not thousands of subscribers, all using the same text on their sites. So the notion of using RSS to provide unique content to your site is a dead issue. It will not.

But what it can do is establish your store as an authoritative site. If you sell sporting equipment in your store, having a feed of top sports stories will subconsciously enforce the idea of your store as a place with up-to-date information about subjects your customers are interested in (otherwise, why would they be on a sporting-goods store in the first place?). It may also help bring them back if they know you’ve got an ever-changing list of stories/news/etc. Getting and keeping customers on your site will obviously increase the odds that they’ll make a purchase.

So RSS feeds can be an exciting and interesting addition to your site. It’s now so easy to add one, there’s almost no excuse not to have a box or page available somewhere to “feed” your customers.

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11 thoughts on “Feed Me RSS!

  1. Anonymous

    Is this available in the Lite version? I don’t see the box type “RSS Feed” in my custom box setup.

  2. mcarp555

    No, it’s not available in the Lite version. Sorry for the confusion!

  3. ariel

    i have been looking on sites of your customers who have rss.. how does the content end up in the rss? do i have to post to that category or does it automatically pull stuff from the amazon categories?

  4. mcarp555

    It’s pulled automatically, in the same way the store categories are populated with product, via Amazon’s data feed.

  5. I’d like to add a box displaying RSS feeds from autoblog.com on my Home Page to my site. I set up the custom box, but how do I get the feeds in it? What do I put in the Box Content? The RSS link is:
    http://www.autoblog.com/rss.xm

    Thanks!

  6. mcarp555

    Make sure the custom box is set to ‘RSS Feed’. Then just paste the RSS link into the content box. By the way, your link should end with ‘xml’, not ‘xm’.

  7. Hey, that worked great, thanks!!

  8. Alex

    Is there a way of pulling more than 20 feeds. Can I set the limit somehow?

  9. Alex

    Sorry, should have said…more than 20 items per feed on my last post.

    Thanks

  10. mcarp555

    At this time, no. I don’t know if 20 is a limit of the software or just the current highest setting.

  11. Yes,i think 20 is pushing it.The RSS Feed add to RSSlink just past back..But,as long as it does work.Everyone is got a different opinion.

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