Scribblemakes' RSS Guide

Scribblemakes' RSS URL

What is RSS?

A RSS feed is a website's update log. Users and software can connect to it to get notifications when a website updates, or use it to make a newspaper-like page in the browser where they can easily read a lot of website updates at once.

Users can access these update logs through RSS readers, which are usually free or open source software that organise RSS into customisable feeds. It's an incredibly useful tool that removes the need to check websites constantly for updates and allows a creator to choose what users get notified for.

For a more detailed explanation: Wikipedia: RSS, RSS Board.

Why use RSS?

Here are just a few reasons to use RSS and a RSS reader:

  1. Get notifications for websites that normally wouldn't have them
    • Found a cool Neocities or Wordpress site that you want to keep up to date on without checking them every day? RSS feeds let you do that without needing to log in.
  2. Customise your website notifications
    • Don't like how a website gives you notifications? A RSS feed's notifications are customisable and change between RSS readers.
    • If you're a website creator yourself, you can choose what gets sent to your viewers.
  3. Read and follow websites with privacy
    • RSS doesn't share data or have a subscriber count or anything like that. When you follow a website with RSS, other viewers, and the owner, will never know.
  4. Use your own UI to read a site
    • Don't like a website's background, layout, aesthetic, or anything else about it? You can read a website's updates through a RSS reader without having to view the website at all.
  5. Send website updates to your followers without needing a third party
    • If you're a website creator you might want to send updates to your viewers when you make new posts and updates. You could use third party sites to make email lists, or rely on social media to send notifications, but using RSS only takes a minute and it doesn't require viewers to sign up for anything! No more forgotten emails or deteriorating social media websites.

Setting up a RSS reader

To set up a RSS reader you first need to choose one. I personally use Feedbro on Firefox for my RSS feed and recommend it highly (especially since it doesn't require an account to use).

Once you've downloaded your RSS reader, open it and find where you can add a new feed to it. In Feedbro this is the orange RSS button on the top left that shows 'Add a new feed' when hovered over. You'll need to give it a URL that goes to a website's RSS.xml file, for example: if you were adding to your RSS reader you'd use

Load and save your new feed so the reader adds it to your reading list, and you're done! You'll now be able to read that site in your RSS reader and get notifications when it updates. You can add more sites and customise your reader as you use it.

Which sites use RSS?

Some social media and blog sites already have a RSS feed built in, like Wordpress or Tumblr, even if it's not advertised. An easy way to check is to go to a website or social media profile and add "/rss.xml" to the end of the URL. If it opens a XML file or a page full of plain text, then you can use that URL and add it to your RSS reader.

Not all websites have a clear and easy RSS feed like this however. For example: Tumblr requires you to use an account's absolute URL, rather than its dashboard URL. For example:

Some RSS readers can set up these RSS feeds automatically for you, or find them for you, if there's a specific website you're trying to add. However if you're trying to get an RSS feed for a personal website, they'll need to set up a RSS file before you can add it.

Setting up a RSS feed for your website

It's very easy to set up a RSS feed for your website! You can use the tutorial available from W3: XML RSS, or the one I've included below. If you're using a Neocities site there is an automated RSS feed, but it updates whenever you change anything about your site, rather than when you make a specific post. If you'd like to use that RSS feed, go to your site's profile page (for example: and click the 'share' button. You can access your RSS URL there.

The following is a tutorial on setting up your own custom RSS feed:

  1. Open your website's file directory, specifically at the root (i.e. open where your index.html file is). If you're using Neocities, that will be your dashboard.
  2. Create a new file named "rss.xml" and add it to your files, then open it for editing.
  3. Copy the following code into your rss.xml file, it allows RSS readers to access and understand your RSS:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
    <rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="">
     <atom:link href="https://YOURWEBSITEURL/rss.xml" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />

  4. Replace 'YOURWEBSITEURL' with the URL for your website. For example: would become
  5. Now you'll add your website's details to make sure the RSS reader can properly label it. Copy the code below so your RSS file looks similar, but replace 'WEBSITE TITLE' with the title you want to display, 'WEBSITE URL' with your website's main URL, and 'DESCRIPTION' with how you want to describe your site. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
    <rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="">
     <atom:link href="https://YOURWEBSITEURL/rss.xml" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />

     <title>WEBSITE TITLE</title>
     <link>WEBSITE URL</link>

    • For my website, my title is 'Scribblemakes', my description is 'Art, projects, and commissions from Scribblemakes. Follow this feed for updates whenever something new is added.' and my link is ''.
  6. Your feed's basic details are now complete. You can add more information like what your website's language is, what image you want to show for it, and more if you to decide to in the future. For now, it's recommended to follow your own feed on your RSS reader of choice so you can make sure it works correctly. You can follow these instructions to set up a RSS reader.
  7. Now you'll add an item to it, which will then send a notification to anyone who's subscribed to your RSS feed. Every time you want to send out a notification you'll need to add it to this file so RSS readers can find it.
    First you'll need to have a page to use for your new RSS item. This is easiest if you've got a website that uses a blog and has unique URLs for each blog post (if you'd like to add a blog to your site but don't know where to start, you can use my asset: Scribblemakes' Blog Pages Widget or Marina Kittaka's asset: Zonelets).
    • If you don't have blog pages, or don't want them, you can also use the same URL for each new item. However, you will need to delete or replace any old items that have the same URL. This means you will only ever have 1 item at a time. Also keep in mind that RSS readers may display EVERYTHING that's on your page so if you're using a singular URL, try to make it an update page that only contains your updates.
  8. Once you have your post URL, copy the <item> code below into your RSS feed: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
    <rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="">
     <atom:link href="https://YOURWEBSITEURL/rss.xml" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />

     <title>WEBSITE TITLE</title>
     <link>WEBSITE URL</link>

      <title>TITLE OF POST</title>
      <description>DESCRIBE YOUR POST HERE</description>
      <link>THE URL OF YOUR POST</link>

    • Every time you make a new update, add a new <item> element to your RSS file. Give it a unique URL each time, or delete any items that have the same URL.
  9. You're now done! In a few minutes your RSS reader should give you a notification, telling you your website was updated. You can also check your RSS feed and get recommendations for it by going to the W3 RSS feed validator.

With your RSS feed now fully set up, don't forget to add links to your rss.xml file on your website so people can easily add your website to their RSS reader, similar to the 'Scribblemakes' RSS URL' links I've put on this page.