Everything you need to know about RSS feeds


RSS Feed in a Folder 

One of the most successful subscription technologies in recent years would have to be RSS feeds.  In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about RSS feeds.  You’ll learn what they are, how they work and why you, as a business owner, need to embrace this technology.




What are RSS feeds?

Really Simple Syndication, or some times called Web Feeds, are web pages formatted in a format called XML.  These allow end users to “subscribe” to your website’s content using RSS reading software.  This software is available both for the desktop computers and on the Web, using solutions like Google’s RSS reader.  They allow you to quickly see if a website has new articles and what they are about and by clicking on the link you will be taken direct to the article.  Using this method you can quickly check several websites for changes without the draw back of visiting each site and waiting for it to load.

 Example of RSS Feed in the Google Toolbar


Above you can see the RSS Reader in my Google Toolbar, I have it showing the latest news headlines from the BBC News Website.


RSS for blogs and static websites

The easiest way to use RSS Feeds is via a content management system based website such as WordPress or Joomla.  Unlike a static website, content management systems generate RSS feeds for your website automatically every time you create a new page or article.

If you do use a static website, then you will need to manually create your own RSS feed via an online Feed Generator Service every time you update your site.  You will also have to manually upload the XML document to your site.  In truth RSS feeds are generally best suited for blogs since they provide dynamic content and feed generation. 


Promoting your website with RSS

Did you know that Google, along with other search engines, can use your RSS feed to learn more about you?  Not only that, but there are even special search engines designed exclusively for RSS feeds!  This means by adopting the usage of RSS feeds on your own website, you’ll be able to promote your efforts simply by publishing new articles on your site and then informing the RSS Servers about them or to give it it’s proper name ‘Pinging’ them.  You can submit your RSS Feeds via the free services at Pingomatic.com and bulkping.com.


RSS feeds are also good for product sites

RSS feeds can be useful in e-commerce, for instance sites like Amazon use RSS feeds to sell their products.  People can subscribe to product category feeds and easily find out about offers and new items.

If you run a product website and offer a variety of offerings, then perhaps using RSS feeds for your products would also be helpful.  The real key is realising whether or not your audience will be interested in such a thing.  RSS feeds for products are also useful for getting your online catalogue listed with shopping databases such as Google Shopping.



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