This week I’m going to answer a bunch of different questions that have come up over the last week or so.
Q: My RSS feed looks funny. I want it to look good like a web page.
A: An RSS feed is supposed to look funny! 🙂 It was never supposed to be looked at by humans. Feedburner (back in the day) tried to make it human viewable and they did a good job. But as I always say: You don’t need feedburner to podcast and don’t worry how you RSS feed looks. Worry about how it works.
RSS feeds are the lifeblood of a podcast. The format of the feed tells directories such as iTunes and others how to present the information. The important things are the tags in the feed. There are iTunes tags and other tags that give feed readers and directories the info they need to populate certain areas such as title, RSS2 image and so on.
The best way to look at your feed and to verify that it will work is first to look at it in firefox. Firefox also does a sort of feedburner type thing when it comes to displaying a feed in a more human friendly way.
The second thing is to use FeedValidator.org. Even though this site hasn’t really been maintained, it is a good way to make sure things check out correctly. If your feed checks out, you will get a Congratulations!
This is a valid RSS feed.
You will also get some recommendations. You can ignore *most* of this as this is where feedvalidator shows it’s lack of updates. If you are using powerpress (as you should) it will complain about the Ravoice Namespace… Ignore this.
Other things that can cause feedvalidator to fail your feed is the iTunes order tag. This is where you can have iTunes put your into episode at the top of the listing so people will hear this one first no matter how many other podcasts you have. Feed validator doesn't know about this tag and will say your feed is invalid. Ignore this as long as it doesn't have any other problems showing.
Q: I’m just setting up my WordPress / Powerpress website for podcasting and when I try to validate my feed, it comes up 404.
A: This is quite normal. A 404 error means “page not found” or more accurately, file not found. The way powerpress and wordpress work is that they generate the feed on the fly. Instead of a static feed (like I use here) the feed doesn’t get “written” until someone asks for it. If you try to go to a feed with no items in it, there will not be a file there or will there be a file generated. You have to have at least ONE podcast episode published to your site before the powerpress podcast-only feed will be there. If you have posted your first episode and the feed still comes back 404, then double check that you have the right feed address. If you do, make sure you have your podcast media file in the post correctly.
Other things that can mess up your feed are other plugins or your theme.. To troubleshoot, deactivate ALL plugins other than powerpress and change to the stock WordPress theme. IF the feed comes back, go to your normal theme.. If the feed is still there, turn on your plugins one by one until the feed goes away again. That will be the one you need to delete or find an alternative for. Also, it’s a good idea to email me (mike [at] Rawvoice.com) so we can troubleshoot and see if there is a workaround for that plugin working with powerpress. We have been lucky so far, there has only been a few that have caused problems like that.
Q: I’m moving my podcast to another site. How do I move the RSS feed that everyone is subscribed to from the old site to the new site?
A: As with most things, there is more than one answer to this one.
If you are moving from one website you own to another one you own, a 301 redirect of the old feed to the new feed. (listen to episode 14 for details on a 301 redirect). One thing is you need to move all the posts from the old site to the new site before the 301 is in place and relink the episodes to your media on each post.