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Welcome. This is a community web site for the market town of Hatherleigh in Devon, England, along with the nearby villages of Meeth, Highampton, Exbourne and Jacobstowe. Anything related to these places can find a home here free of charge, thanks to our sponsors. Please take time to read their pages (left, or see home)
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Page updated: July 23, 2008

News Feeds

News Feeds are a way of alerting you to changes on a web site, like new stories on our front page. All you have to do is wait for the alert to be sent to you.

It's based on RSS, but don't worry about the technology because it's been made easy for you by Microsoft amongst others, who have re-christened it 'web feeds or 'news feeds'', because that's what they are.

Anything new on a web site is fed out to you as a headline if you 'subscribe' to a news feed. You then read the story ... or not ... as you want.

It saves you time because you don't have to continuously visit your favourite sites to find out what's going on.

There's a geeky explanation here. Google the term 'newsreaders' if you're interested, or visit Wikipedia amongst others.

How you read the 'news' - Internet Explorer 7

In the early days, you used news gatherers (or aggregators) designed to display the feed. Next, browsers like Firefox allowed you to use the browser itself. Finally, Microsite got involved!

Microsoft realised that RSS had to be taken seriously and, as often happens, began developing its own ideas. Microsoft concluded that RSS basically dealt with 'lists' and that lists could actually cover a lot of other items besides news. So, they proposed a few extensions to RSS. These, understandably, caused some consternation at first but Microsoft collaborated with the others and agreement was reached, particularly about the symbol to be used ... which is shown above left.

You will see this little 'broadcast' logo on many web sites now, including hatherleigh.net. The latest IE7, and other browsers, have a special button with this logo. Click on that and the available feeds on that page will be shown to you. Then all you have to do is say 'yes please' to subscribe.

Internet Explorer 7 can include as many news feeds as you want. If you're not using IE7 yet our advice is 'get it'. It's free, it's got 'tabbed browsing' (great for opening many sites at once), better security features and, of course, those all-important news feeds.


Blogs - short for weblogs - started out as a kind of personal publishing thing - you could sit in your bedroom and publish your wildest thoughts to anyone who cared to read them. They got a bad reputation, but things have moved on and now there are millions of highly professional blogs out there, especially in business.

Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all have official blogs where you can listen to what is going on and even respond if you wish. These companies and many, many others have realised that setting up good communications between themselves and their customers pays real dividends.

Blogs work beautifully in conjunction with RSS. So, you can sit at your PC and simply watch the headlines coming in from around the world. We believe that blogs + RSS may become a great marketing tool for business. We can help if you want, just ask!

Finally, a word about web sites in general

There are three rules governing web sites:

  1. Web sites are easy to set up. In fact, most web sites are not much more than business cards or brochures. If you don't tell people where they are and what they do, only a few people find them - despite what the search engines promise.
  2. Good web sites are hard to set up and even harder to maintain.
  3. Great web sites take up lots of effort and resources. They need continuous committment.

If you are considering a web site, define your objectives first and then do what is necessary to meet them. The domain name could be the most important item of all. Never just sit back and hope Google will help. Unless you are unique like the Eden Project, it won't. There are a million web sites just like yours - why should people visit yours first. You have to do some things yourself.

How do you make a web site successful? Well, it depends on those objectives, but three things are vital - content, content and content. Today, Google ranks web sites primarily on trust, which depends on you, your content and your contacts. Comprehensive Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), creative anchor text and backlinks are some of the other essential ingredients.

Ask us for help or guidance if you want. Do you want to re-invent the wheel? The web is designed to be collaborative - so why not collaborate with us? We have the technology, we want Hatherleigh to succeed and we will do what we can to assist you

By working together we can help everyone


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