It can be found on just about any internet page today, the little square orange button that says “RSS;” not surprisingly, most viewers do not understand its significance. Whether it appears with the orange button or simply as a link or sign-up field, RSS – affectionately called Really Simple Syndication – is any page’s best repeat visit friend. When signing on to a website’s RSS feed, the ability is gained to easily read anything current from that site with any of a number of free RSS readers, such as Google Reader or FeedBurner. While at first appearance, this seems to be just a great reader convenience, it is actually much more than that and something that should be included in every website design
From a reader’s point of view, an RSS feed is a great way to keep up with current information from a particular person, business, or organization – and signing up is all that is required. News is provided by RSS updates, which are accessible in many ways and on many devices, providing readily accessible information otherwise missed through RSS updates. Additionally, by subscribing to only those pages of most interest, information overload can be decreased which allows for focusing on real items of interest in what is being read.
An RSS feed is a valuable tool to keep users up-to-date and interested, leading to more visits and higher conversions. What news to include can be chosen and whether or not to allow the entire content to be read on the feed; if not, a link is provided and interested readers are directed to that specific article or update on the website. The impact that this can have is great; as not only does this help a business or organization become more familiar to a user due to frequent updates that link to an actual website; it also drives the most interested traffic to that point, which means having visitors who are most likely to take some kind of action. RSS is yet one more example of free advertising on the internet if properly utilized.
Creating RSS Feeds
It is fairly easy for an RSS feed to be included on a website and viewers allowed to follow the latest news. The most difficult part of the whole process is creating the XML code to link to news aggregations once the RSS code is submitted. This can be done either with special software or by entering it in text editor or notepad. There are free codes available online and all that needs to be done is fill in the particular information to create the feed. Code should be saved as an XML file.
Next, put an HTML or a button link somewhere on the website or even on every page, enabling readers to sign onto a website’s automatic updates. The latest content can be viewed in whatever XML reader is preferred once the feed is active.
Once code has been written and saved and a link or button set up, the XML file can be submitted to any feed aggregation out there. There are many from which to choose; most are general and accept any type of websites, though some are more specialized feeds. The best suggestion is use the most recognizable names like FeedBurner, XML and any of the aggregations offered by specific browsers since these are the ones most likely to be used. Submission is done by simply uploading the XML file to the aggregation site so that anyone who has subscribed to the link will receive that feed in their reader.
It may take a little bit of practice to get it right; however, once the feed has been successfully set up, nothing more must be done other than adding fresh, original content regularly to the website. Trying feed code out at feedvalidator.org can allow for getting any kinks worked out before actually submission to any aggregations. Then just keep great content flowing to get the biggest benefit from having an RSS feed!