Are You Properly Protecting Your RSS Feed?

September 30, 2010

in Business

When you publish content and provide an RSS feed for people to access that content, you lose a little bit of control over it. Scratch that – you lose a lot of control over it. You’re basically giving people a file which can be used to populate other blogs, websites, ezines – even print documents. Yes, you can copyright your blog content and require permission for reuse, but there’s still no way to completely prevent misuse of your RSS feed if you make it public.

Content Aggregation Sites

Sometimes, you may proactively add your feed to a content aggregator site, like Social Media Today. That’s a great thing to do for visibility and blog promotion. However, you won’t enjoy the benefits of the traffic back to your site unless there is a way to get back – a clear, obvious way. (This is another reason you should do lots of internal linking, by the way). Additionally, you lose a little bit of identity when you do that, unless you can find a way to brand your content so people know where it came from.

Should You Keep Your RSS Feed Private?

There are certain cases for keeping an RSS feed private, but in general, you should not make it private. The RSS feed is central to what makes blogs such powerful publishing tools. Advanced users know how to create a private feed and a public one; however, the majority of bloggers should keep their RSS feed public AND properly distribute it and make it openly available to subscribers.

Brand and Protect Your Blog with RSS Footer

So the problem is two-fold: you need to cover yourself by adding some type of copyright and link to your blog (the source), and you also need to properly brand your blog when the full text from the feed is being used outside of your blog. Even though you can’t protect your RSS completely, there are little things you can do. There are actually quite a few different plugins for adding a copyright notice to your feed (Simple Feed Copyright works well), but the one that I’ve found that works the best for both branding and copyright is called RSS Footer by Yoast.com.

RSS Footer

RSS Footer is a free plugin for WordPress that you can use to add text and links to each post in your RSS feed. You can add your copyright notice, along with a simple line of text that says something akin to “This Post was published on This Blog.” You can use the tags provided to add your blog’s description and/or name automatically and link it back to your blog, or, you can completely customize the HTML.

How to Use It

Once you download, install, and activate the plugin on your blog, it is ready for use.

how to use RSS footer

You can set whether or not the text is displayed before or after the post content. If you use a site like Social Media Today, I’d recommend putting this information after the content, because if you include a pitch, they will not publish it if your post starts off with something too salesy. Keep that information at the end, just like in regular article marketing.

how to use RSS footer

Ideas for Making It Stellar

1. Don’t use the example in the images above. That’s for illustrative purposes only.

2. Be sure to include a link back to the post or another deep link, and a link to your home page. Also do not forget your copyright notice!

3. Add a single sentence – your blog’s elevator pitch. Why should someone click back to your blog? Include a call to action in your elevator pitch.

4. If you have a single author blog, also add your name.

Questions?

Let me know if you have any questions, or additional suggestions for branding and protecting your blog’s RSS feed.

Elge Premeau October 15, 2010 at 9:52 am

How is this different than just adding the same info at the end of your blog post? Is it that it only shows up on your feed and not on your blog?

Tia Peterson October 15, 2010 at 10:13 am

Hi Elge – Yes, this information only shows in the RSS feed(s).

Make money online October 13, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Clearly a great post. I was wondering should you have a RSS feed for a website? Or is it mostly used on blogs? I would love to hear back….

TJ McDowell@Photography Education October 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I’ve been noticing a trend recently that you good bloggers are including deep links within your posts. Do you intentionally build up blog posts that you can reference from other blog posts? Are you adding the links in so that your RSS feed will link to your deep content?

Tia Peterson October 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

Hi TJ – Hmm, the only intentional thing is the internal linking. Not only does it increase back links to the posts (and internal back links also count) but it increases click-through rate and retention.

The bonus is that this carries through in the RSS. :)

Alan Mater @ Work From Home October 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I’ve had this plug-in for some time but just never got around to using it. Tia, your post inspired me to actually install and configure it, so thanks! My feed is now protected.

Suresh Khanal@SEO MMO Tips October 4, 2010 at 3:26 am

This is a far better solution than @MichaelPehl commented on blogEngage “I think the only thing you can do… do not use RSS ;)”

If you distribute the credit link after each post, it won’t matter whether they suck your feed and vomit it anywhere.

Julius October 4, 2010 at 2:56 am

Hey Tia,

I didn’t know about this plugin yet I knew about the possibility of inserting something in your RSS feed. And yet I never did. I just downloaded the plugin and will definitely do what you mentioned above.

Home of cats October 4, 2010 at 12:14 am

Thnkas for sharing, I will try it soon… :)

Pankaj Gupta October 3, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Many Contents are usually copied from RSS Feeds so adding copyright information will be really great. Thanks for sharing this tips with us.

1skyliner October 3, 2010 at 9:20 am

I never thought about this, but you’re right we need to protect our work, and this plugin seems like it will help. Thanks for the article. I liked reading it

Nath @ Ipod Touch 4G October 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm

i usually interlink posts , so that appears in my feeds aswell . Using wp insights plugin is very useful .

Paul October 1, 2010 at 5:24 am

I currently use RSS footer as well, and like to include both a link back to my blog’s home page, and a link back to the original post on my blog.

While you can code it yourself instead of using a plugin, the main advantage of using the plugin is that you don’t have to worry about moving the code to a new theme should you choose a theme.

Nath @ Ipod Touch 4G October 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

using more plugin overloads the entire system , sytem lags increases page load times and sometimes server crash , so i always ask people to minimize plugin use with all in one plugins or those plugins which dont use the cron jobs feature [ie the plugins that work in background ]

Computer IT Support Miami October 1, 2010 at 4:37 am

Nice post, Tia. Thanks for sharing this plugin with us here! Awesome recommendations!

Gloson September 30, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Hi Tia! Great post. Thank you very much for sharing this plugin! I’ve never thought of doing something like this. I’ve now installed the plugin on my blog! :)

Cheers!
Gloson

Jay Philips September 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Great point. We all remember to protect our sites but not our feeds. I’ll have to make sure I put this on my blog. Thank you.

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Hey Jay! You’re welcome. This will help. :)

Michael September 30, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Hi Tia

Rockin’ post! I never thought about this, but you’re right we need to protect our work, and this plugin seems like it will help.

You are certainly providing kick ass content here. I am subscribing “because I don’t want to miss a thing…even when I close my eyes” *ahem* Sorry about that; the song was playing on the radio.

Thanks for sharing.

Michael

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 9:21 pm

You make me laugh!! :) Love it. Glad you’re subscribing!

esoftload September 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm

nice plugin.. will try it soon in my blog….

Jimi Jones September 30, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Very informative post, Tia.
The branding capability alone makes this worth having. Being able to add a copyright statement keeps things looking professional and provides that additional protection.

Thanks for sharing.

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Jimi – Agreed 100%! Branding our work is crucial. We work hard to publish good content; in a content aggregation “era” so to speak, there needs to be a way to carry the brand through while keeping the content itself pure and usable. This allows us to publish useful, link-bait worthy content without a lot of self-promotion.

Matthew DC September 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Tia – Another great post. I’ve been learning quite a lot about the blogging scene from you. I had never even considered adding attribution to the footer like that as I never really considered my content getting aggregated and kidnapped. This is a pretty awesome tip and I am going to go check out the plugin right now! Thanks!

Alex Dumitru September 30, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Very useful plugin, Tia, though I try to do as much internal linking as I can.

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm

That’s good, Alex. What’s really interesting is when your affiliate links get clicked on when your content is aggregated. It makes the case for using Ninja Affiliate which I absolutely love!

Ryan Biddulph September 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Hi Tia,

RSS Footer looks like a strong product, a definite must use tool for bloggers desiring to secure their posts. As you note it’s not practical to make your RSS private yet there has to be a way to ensure you get credit for your work.

Thanks for sharing your insight.

Ryan

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Hey Ryan,

You’re welcome. It’s a keeper.

A. Tatum September 30, 2010 at 11:03 am

Thanks for the tip. This is something I hadn’t thought about.

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 4:08 pm

You’re welcome!

Justin Germino September 30, 2010 at 10:11 am

RSS Footer is the plugin I use on all of my blogs to add copyright information and you did a fine review and writeup of the plugin.

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 10:14 am

Thanks, Justin! I love it and use it on 2 blogs; soon to be adding to the others!

Dave@Do It With WordPress September 30, 2010 at 10:01 am

I’m not entirely convinced of the need for this. Clearly it’s a benefit to include this in your feed, but is it worth adding another plugin to your installation? Have you personally had problems with your RSS feed?

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

You could do it without a plugin, but most people are not going to try to work with code that way.

Because my feeds get picked up and republished on certain sites, I do find the branding part of it essential. The copyright is 100% essential to me. As bloggers look for more ways to distribute content, attribution links need to be in place.

There are probably 100 good ways to do it though!

Sarah@Writing Consultation September 30, 2010 at 9:39 am

This is so useful. Thanks for sharing. It is nice to be able to have some kind of protection although not 100%.

Tia Peterson September 30, 2010 at 10:15 am

Thanks for your comment, Sarah! Glad you found this post useful. Thanks also for visiting the blog. :)

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