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Promote Your Hubs Using Tags :: How To Create Custom RSS Feeds

Updated on May 1, 2012
Custom RSS Feeds
Custom RSS Feeds

Promote Your Older Hubs Using Tags With Custom RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds are a powerful tool that every online writer needs to include in their "writer's toolbox". Not only do RSS Feeds simplify delivery of your content to your readers can - they can also be a valuable promotional tool.

What is RSS?

If you aren't already familiar with using RSS Feeds, read about What RSS Is and Why You Should Be Using It.

Like many other hubbers, I always include an RSS capsule in each of my hubs in order to create quick and easy links to my other hubs - it's one of those simple web site tricks we all use! It's a lot quicker than manually creating links, and it provides an easy way to keep the contents of a hub fresh - every time the page loads, the links created by the RSS capsule can change. This gives the illusion that the page has fresh content, and fresh content is something that Google likes to see when indexing web pages. I also add a News capsule for the same reason, but the links in a new capsule don't point to my hubs!

Interlinking your hubs is a great and easy way to promote your own content within HubPages, and it also has the added benefit of providing yourself with internal backlinks to your own pages.

While the RSS module is great for highlighting some of my hubs, it has limitations. HubPages provides us each with three RSS feeds by default - Hot, Best and Latest. Their names are pretty self-explanatory, and here's what the feeds for my hubs looks like:

  • http://hubpages.com/author/Edweirdo/latest/?rss
  • http://hubpages.com/author/Edweirdo/best/?rss
  • http://hubpages.com/author/Edweirdo/hot/?rss


I usually pick one of these and set the RSS capsule to display three or four links from one of these categories...


More links means more traffic!
More links means more traffic!
A-ha!
A-ha!

That got me to thinking...

I was thinking earlier today that it would be great if I could create an RSS feed that, instead of highlighting my "hottest" hubs, could link to my "coldest" hubs - the ones that receive the least amount of traffic; instead of my "best", why not the ones with the lowest hub scores.

I wrote a lot of hubs early in my hubbing career that I think are quite good, but they don't get any attention in the RSS capsules. Sure, I could back go and manually add links to those under-performing hubs inside my own "hot" or "best" hubs, but that's a lot of work!

Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to create an RSS feed to highlight the under-performing and under-visited hubs I've created?

Yes it would be great, and yes it can be done!

Use those tags...
Use those tags...

Using Tags To Create Custom RSS Feeds

A few weeks ago I read a forum thread that taught me something I hadn't known before (that happens a lot here at HubPages - always something new to learn!)

I already knew that the tags we add to our hubs are used as keywords to describe the content of our hubs when Google's robots come along to perform their scans. What I didn't know is what happens when you click on one of those tags (when you're not in "Edit" mode) - HubPages uses that tag to create a new page, with links to all the hubs on HubPages that use that tag!

Go ahead and try it - if you have a hub with the tag "recipes", clicking that tag will open a new page that contains all the hubs that use the tag "recipes".

The other nugget of information that I gleaned from that forum thread was that these "tag-pages" can be converted into RSS feeds!

So, to use the "recipes" example, if you click the tag "recipes" you are taken to a web page with this URL:

  • http://hubpages.com/tag/recipes/hot
    
    

And if you add "?rss" to the end, you get this RSS feed:

  • http://hubpages.com/tag/recipes/hot?rss 

Take The Poll !

Did you know you could use tags to create an RSS feed?

See results
Eek! A Google Spider!
Eek! A Google Spider!

Google Likes Relevant Links!

Did you know that the quality of your links is important to Google's indexing spiders?

Well, they are, and you can tweak this technique to create relevant interlinks between your hubs!

This issue first came up for me when I wrote a hub about The Friends Of The World Food Program as part of a HubMob. It was a serious hub about helping to feed the hungry around the world, and as usual I added an RSS feed at the end.

At the time I was also writing a lot of cooking hubs, and so my "latest" RSS feed displayed a bunch of recipes at the end of a hub about starving children! My solution then was to just move the RSS capsule to the end of the hub...

But I could have created a new custom RSS feed that would ensure that more appropriate hubs appeared. So if I had more hubs about charities, I could have added a tag like "EdweirdoCharity" to all of them and had a charity-related feed.

I'm in the process of rolling out this technique on my cooking, travel and animal related hubs so I can add relevant links with a Custom RSS Feed to my own hubs within a certain topic...

Step-by-Step
Step-by-Step

Add This To Your Bag of Web Site Tricks! A Step-By-Step Guide

Updated: May 05, 2010


As requested by Shadebreath, here is a step-by-step guide to creating your Custom RSS Feed!

1. Open the older hubs you want to promote and add the new tag you want to use to create a feed to each one. Make sure it's a tag that's unique to you! Adding your username in the tag should do the trick.

2. Wait a few hours for HubPages to recognize the tags

...

3. Open one of the older hubs from step 1 and click the new tag you added earlier

4. This will open a new page with all the hubs that contain the custom tag - you should see all of the hubs that contain your new tag

5. Copy the URL in the address bar of your browser

6. Create an RSS capsule in the hub where you want to add links to your older hubs

7. In the RSS Feed box, paste the URL from Step 5, and add ?rss at the end, eg:

http: //hubpages.com/tag/your_new_tag/hot?rss

8. That's it!

FYI, you can change "hot" in the new RSS feed to "latest" or "best" if you like...

It's a virtue!
It's a virtue!

Be Patient!

It can take a while for the tags to be updated, so at first your new RSS feed will be empty, and even after it gets populated, any changes will take some time to take effect. That shouldn't be more than a few hours, though.

Now Personalize That Custom RSS Feed!

The HubPages Team recently added a new post to the Learning Center that shows you how to make these customized RSS feeds specific to only your hubs!

You can combine custom tags with your user ID - so if you have a lot of "food" hubs, you can create a feed like this:

http://hubpages.com/author/Edweirdo/food/hot?rss

Just your hubs about food will be included in this feed...

Check it out!
Check it out!

But Wait, There's More!

You can also use your new custom RSS feeds in Twitter by using TwitterFeed.com, or set them up as Feedburner feeds to get even more exposure!

All the web site tricks you currently use to promote your RSS feed can be used with these custom RSS feeds! Everything you might normally do with you normal RSS feeds can also be done with these new custom RSS feeds...

If you're looking for places to submit your custom RSS feeds, there is a great list of RSS Submission sites by Sunforged!

Take The Poll !

Will you use this technique for your hubs?

See results

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