Friday
Nov302012

Don't change your RSS feed

Stuff changes on the internet. I get that. Your site has been redesigned with a totally new and completely elegant URL structure. Great! However, unless you're me, you probably actually have readers that subscribe to your site via RSS. Make sure that whatever changes you make, you don't break that feed.

For years I've been reading a web comic called theWAREHOUSE. It's a great comic, especially if you like puns (they have some real elaborate ones on occasion). However, back in July it went through some site change that ended up breaking the RSS feed that I was using. Shocking thing is, I didn't notice it broke until now. That's right, it took me four months to realize that I wasn't seeing posts from them anymore, and they were one of my favorite web comics.

Going back into the archives in Google Reader, one of the last entries on the old feed mentioned that they would be moving the site. There was no mention in that article that the move would break anything, though. From this post it sounds as though he switched from manually editing PHP & XML files to Wordpress, but I suspect he completely neglected to think about how the transition would affect the people that were subscribing to those XML files.

Anyway, moral of the story is that if you, as a site owner, break your RSS feed, don't expect that people will notice and resubscribe. It's far, far more likely that the vast majority of them won't notice and will completely forget about you.

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