RSS has become an important new wave in the world of the Internet. But you are still a little unclear about the whole concept. Learn more in this two-part series on RSS feeds, blogging and making your mark on the mobile web!
RSS —Learn to Communicate on the Skinny!
If you are interested in RSS as a result of some of the information you have read here about blogs, welcome to the first of my two part series. This month, we will learn a bit about what RSS is and two ways you can use it to improve your best marketing tool – your website!
What is RSS?
This little acronym’s meaning has been described in multiple ways. Although there seem to be occasional heated discussions on the web about what RSS abbreviates, I’m happy using the most popular one these days “Really Simple Syndication.” Whatever you may consider “real” terminology for the acronym, RSS is a way to distribute what you have to say in your own online content to sources far beyond your own website.
Anyone using RSS creates, in essence, a “hotlink” to their own content for use by others. People seeking information on a particular topic can easily, and cheaply, add quality content to their own site by “picking up” a fitting feed from a list of RSS providers. Now all that is fine, but how can you enjoy the benefits of RSS?
Create an RSS of Your Own
If you blog, many of these web-based programs have an RSS tool already built in. That makes it easy. If you are a bit more technically savvy, you can add an RSS feed directly via HTML, without a blogger (more on this next month).
Although I have done a bit of hand coding in my day, those skills are quickly atrophying due to a lack of recent exercise — so, I’ve not yet tackled anything beyond the blog approach on my own site.
Another option to creating your own RSS feed is to hire an HTML whiz to do it for you. You can even hire a writer to do your content and articles if you don’t have the time or desire to write them yourself. With this approach, you can gain all the advantages without any personal investment of time.
Regardless of the path you take, having an RSS feed means whenever you add new RSS enabled content to your own site, it will appear wherever someone has picked up your feed. Presto! Automatic, painless updating of your information web-wide!
Having an RSS feed may not make you famous, but it could create a bit of “buzz” about your information, opinions, expertise, etc. It’s a way to “talk” to people that you would not normally contact. It expands your potential “reach.” It doesn’t guarantee all this exposure, mind you, but it does provide you the opportunity to list your feed in RSS directories and painlessly build a reputation based on the quality of your content.
Use Existing RSS Feeds From Others
Even if you aren’t interested in creating your own RSS feed, you may want to peruse some RSS directories and select a few leads that deal specifically with topics you would like to have on your own website.
The benefits are that your site will have topic-specific information that is dynamic and constantly updated with very little investment by you. You may have some time invested in the search, or in implementing the RSS on your own site (and if you hire someone to do this for you, there will an expense). The great thing, like providing the RSS to others, is that the initial outlay in your time or money to hire out the task, will be rewarded with automatic (read this as FREE) updates. Constantly!
Next month, we will discuss some limitations of this new tool, some technical considerations and I’ll provide some resources and tutorials to make using RSS easier. It’s all part of my quest to keep you communicating in new and exciting ways – and enjoying the “magic” effects words can have on your business success!
© Copyright 2004 by Angela Allen Parker of Wicked Wordcraft
This article first appeared in the “Word Magic” column at www.epowernews.com in November 2004.