RSS Basics

RSS is one of the best ways to publish updates with some feeds not only publishing titles, but also summaries and even photos. Feeds that provide a short summary are often the most popular as readers can read the summary and decide if they want to read more. If so, the feed offers a link to the original post. This helps those that only want to read headlines as well as those that may be interested in a wide array of topics but do not wish to read the entire post on each subject.

Advantages of RSS

RSS provides advantages for webmasters and readers alike.

Current updates regarding local news, weather, new music, upgrades to software, or just a new post on a popular blog or any other subject matter the reader enjoys. RSS is the way for all webmasters to get the word out about sales on their website, companies offering new products or services, and of course news on many subjects.

Saves readers time. Instead of searching through all their favorite websites, news websites, and more to find the current news they can just read the headlines to determine which stories are worth reading more. This will help your readers prioritize the news and stories in the manner in which they wish to read.

Puts the power in the hand of the reader. Readers have the option of subscribing to the websites that offer subject they are interested in and will then receive updates in real time from those websites.

Helps with too much email. By subscribing to RSS feeds your email address is not provided to the website, therefore you will not be receiving extra emails. This means no spam email from the website, which is often the case when you sign up for a newsletter. Too many times, you receive more than just the newsletter, which makes many readers unsubscribe from the newsletter. This will not occur with RSS feeds, as the feed is not sent to email addresses.

If a reader decides they no longer what to subscribe to a feed, all they have to do is delete the feed and that is it. No questions asked at all. When you delete the feed from your aggregator there is nothing more to do.

For webmasters, RSS feeds can be used for advertising. The reason this can be done is that your subscribers want the latest news so you can add sales, new products, or even posts regarding your various products and your readers will be glad to receive this information via the feed.

XML To RSS – Submitting RSS Feeds To Directories

For SEO purposes, and RSS feed can do wonders for you. First off, you can create an RSS feed from your article, your profile links, etc, and place them into RSS directories in order to get them indexed into the search engines. Programs link RSS Bot will actually do all of the work for you. The problem is, you can’t send a an XML file to an RSS directory. So how would you do this.

There are a few ways around this. First off, you can create your own feed. Head on over to ice rocket, and create a new login. After you are set up, you just add a new channel and create links inside of that channel. Once you are done that that, hit the publish button, and you will have your own RSS feed.

If you have a huge list, this may take a long time. So the next way to use an XML and create an RSS feed is by updating it into your hosting account. This will create an RSS feed in your internet browser. Thus, you can submit that link into various RSS directories.

Either way works, but it just depends on how many URLs you have, and what the purpose is for the feed. If you would like to have your own domain in your feed, then you should just update your XML into your hosting. If you don’t care, creating your own feed in RSS Rocket would just be as good. Good luck!

Promote Your Website to the World With RSS Feeds

One of the things people like the most about RSS feeds, is that they have a choice of having it displayed on their computer or on the RSS reader. This means they only subscribe to feeds which they have an interest in, taking away the risk of spam that is rampant on the internet in this information age.

A RSS Feed Reader,say, Google Reader, is a tool which the user would use to collect their favorite RSS feeds from various websites they have visited. The user can choose to display all the feeds as blog post titles, or to include as well a short description. Once a user enters all the feeds to their reader, they will be able to see the latest updates from all the sites without having to make visits to each of them. This, from the point of the user or reader, aids in can saving time and cut down on the effort it takes to filter through information.

Giving visitors to your website a choice to subscribe to your updates actually works differently and on varied levels. However, the main reason for most website owners for doing this, is that you would be able to get your information to your visitors without having them to visit your site. Without a RSS feed, you have to manually alert everyone about changes, and then keep your fingers crossed that they would make a visit to your site. With a RSS reader, once you post or make changes, information is sent right to your visitors.

Visitors who take time to subscribe to your RSS feeds would be very often your best customers. They are the ones who are really interested in your content and would like to stay current to what is happening in your site. More often than not, these are the ones who would buy something you offer.

There is no other option for getting the latest information to your visitors instantly except via RSS feeds. Therefore, for any website owner, a RSS feed is a must if you could write good information, provide quality content and add value for your readers. It is well worth taking the time to get it set up and installed on your site. As soon as you do it, you would begin to get subscribers.

Marketers Still Don’t Get RSS Metrics – How We Really Can Measure RSS

Even after all that’s been written and explained, even reputable online marketing publications such as ClickZ still don’t get RSS metrics.

In an otherwise good RSS marketing article, Add RSS to Your Marketing Mix, Heidi Cohen has this to say about RSS metrics:

“From a marketing perspective, RSS’s measurability is still evolving and therefore limited. You can’t tell who has received your feeds as you can with e-mail.”

Yes, RSS’s measurability is still evolving and probably will evolve beyond e-mail metrics. In some ways it already has …

And it’s also true that you can’t tell who has received your feeds … if you’re using the most established RSS approaches and just the basic technologies.

However, once you connect your feeds with your existing user databases, you can in fact go beyond what e-mail metrics offer.

Here are some possibilities …

a] Use the “unique feed URL” approach, where each subscriber receives a feed with a unique identifier, based on which you can track precisely what feeds are being requested … namely what annonymous user is requesting what feed.

b] If you’d like to integrate annonymous feed subscriber data with named (registered) user data, you can easily provide feeds only upon registration or only to logged-in users, and actually connect each unique feed URL with a named user. Especially if you provide feed customization this won’t be a problem at all. Once you’ve integrated this data you can measure every and any iteraction your user has with your feed.

c] If you don’t want to force your visitors to register in order to subscribe to your feed, you can still use the unique feed URL approach, which you connect with a user session, cookie or other identifiable information. Once your RSS feed subscriber registers you can integrate the data you already collected based on existing feed interaction and website interaction with his new user account.

d] The other approach you can use is user authentication, where you limit access to your feeds with a username/password combination. If each unique users receives a unique combination, you can track everything based on this information.

There are other possibilities as well, and the actual implementation of those above is somewhat more complicated than it seems at first sight. It does for example also require a more complex internet marketing strategy. It does require using more complex tools than the simplest RSS publishing solutions available on the market. It does require integration with your user database and internet platform.

But the point is that it’s not only theoretically possible, but also in praxis. And in fact simple for companies with their own advanced internet platforms.

Just a quick disclaimer …

a] If your feed gets widely syndicated you can in fact lose view of who’s receiving your feed, even if you’re using unique feed URLs (you can of course measure this as well, by analyzing user agent data). Using the user authentication model solves this problem as well.

b] Even if your feed does get widely syndicated, that’s still comparable to your e-mail messages being passed around by users. And if we take in to account that measuring open-rates is getting increasingly difficult due to users blocking images, e-mail metrics don’t look that shiny anymore.

If you’d like to find out more about RSS metrics, simply start by reading our collection of RSS metrics articles, reports, interviews and news at

I’m also hoping that there’ll soon come a time when responses like this will no longer be needed, because marketers will finally understand the power of RSS metrics.

Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik