RSS – or what is now known as “Really Simple Syndication” – is a file format that Internet users integrate into their websites to allow “web syndication” to make their web content accessible in a format that other people can universally understand.
RSS is basically a ‘mini database’ containing headlines and explanations of your web content (a summary or a line or two of the full article), including hyperlinks that allow users to connect back to the full article of their choosing.
RSS websites generally have colorful graphics that convey to users that relevant web content is accessible via RSS feeds, i.e. websites that contain RSS ‘feeds’ (articles or postings).
Usually, these graphics are represented by orange rectangles that are usually called ‘RSS’ or ‘XML’.
With its enhanced visibility, more website owners or publishers are now embracing and using RSS. There are now several tools available to assist Internet surfers (and even beginners) in setting up and using RSS.
It can be an easy process to set up RSS feeds and link them to your website, which does not require a lot of time or money.
Any quick and basic steps that you may want to follow are described below:
- Have your web content and/or news in an RSS feed format, such as XML (other sources are also available for suitable and ‘ready-made’ feeds).
- Click the graphic in orange – this is the RSS feed icon. Take note of the RSS feed’s URL; this will be shown in the address bar (for Internet Explorer).
- Enter the URL of the feed on your software for RSS feed development.
- Click on the “Generate Feed” button. For your web material, this will generate the RSS code.
- On your own website, insert the RSS code in the appropriate location.
Next comes the task of publishing your web content and news and showing them on other pages and headline audiences after building an RSS feed for your website.
The use of RSS readers or aggregators makes this possible.
RSS readers or news aggregators are used to view particular web contents. RSS readers contain the collection of ‘feeds’ or RSS files from content providers, and they are generally classified into 3 types:
· Desktop RSS readers – also known as a standalone desktop application, they generally ‘run’ in the background and are similar to an e-mail client, collecting the feeds and refreshing items automatically as they are updated.
· Web-based aggregators – these are online services that enable users to personalize web pages, refreshing them each time the page is accessed or each time a person logs in to the service.
· Plug-in aggregators/readers – these make use of either web browsers or e-mail clients, which allow users to view RSS feeds while inside an existing program.
Having an RSS-enabled website provides Internet users (especially those who are website owners) with the following benefits:
· Allows users to generate up-to-date news and postings, as information and content in the RSS readers or aggregators are automatically updated each time the RSS feed is ‘refreshed’.
· Allows users to have control over the information that they wish to view or receive, as they can remove a feed of their choosing any time they want to.
Aside from these benefits, RSS websites are also useful for people who conduct their business in the Internet, particularly in Internet or Online Marketing.
RSS can be an effective marketing tool for your website, especially in the following fields:
· E-mail marketing and publishing
· Search engine marketing and optimization
· Business blogging
· Internet advertising
· Digital public relations
· Branding and e-commerce
In addition, RSS can ‘power’ your website, providing you with the following:
· Valuable, updated, and relevant resources for site visitors and potential clients – RSS is ideal for websites that contain (and syndicate) a lot of information that has to be changed or updated regularly.
· Search engine optimization for the website.
· Increased traffic for the website – your website can ‘harvest’ and display information from other sites, driving more traffic to your own website.
· A wide selection of ‘channels’ for content distribution, such as PDA’s, cellular phones, voice mails, and email ticklers.
· A reliable way to have your web content delivered to Internet users and potential clients – RSS ensures that your site is viewed by the people who are interested in them, without having them blocked and ‘cleaned’ by ISPs or Spam filters.
These are just some of the benefits RSS will provide your website with (and your business). The possibilities are infinite, as almost every day, more and more pops up. Do not be left behind – take advantage of the strength of RSS marketing and publishing.