In today’s Web 2.0 online environment, it’s almost impossible to land on a blog, newsletter or current website without seeing an invitation to get the webmaster’s information via RSS.
If you are one of the thousands of new Internet Marketers just dipping their toes in the fast-paced waters of the Internet, you might not understand the valuable uses for RSS (Really Simple Syndicaton) and how syndication can improve your sales and drive traffic to your offers. Believe me, you are not alone.
Every new process, or revamped old process, develops it own set of terminology and buzz words, so let’s take a look at some of the RSS terminology first.
Syndication, according to Wikipedia, means that you allow your website, or a portion of it, to be available for other sites to use. This usually means “…making web feeds available from your site, or blog, in order to provide other people with a summary of your website’s recently added content (for example, the latest news or forum posts).”
Different types of syndicated content can be found all over the Web, including newspapers, commercial websites, blogs or product offers from Internet Marketers. It has become a free and easy form of advertisement that increases targeted traffic and expands your site’s exposure across normally unreachable online platforms.
Web syndication by online marketers is removing the hesitancy web surfers have with providing personal information to invisible marketers, like name and email address for signing up to receive a newsletter. Those surfers expecting to subscribe to an RSS feed instead are growing in numbers and will soon be in the majority. Don’t ignore them!
RSS and Atom are the two main syndication formats.
- RSS Feed:
To start with, an RSS feed notifies you when a web site or blog you are interested in has been updated. There are two kinds of RSS feeds, static and dynamic.
When you see the latest scores for your favorite team or are continually checking for bargain airline tickets for your vacation to Disney World, that information would be a static feed from a sports news media or an airline/ticket site.
Info from a dynamic feed would depend on your search terms to provide specific information to add to your data stream. A dynamic feed would be one from a website you are watching for new content or notices abou new products. It would give you notice of the change on the website.
- Feed Reader or News Aggregator:
Those two terms are merely names for the software that allows you to get the RSS feeds from websites or blogs that interest you and have it displayed so you can read it and use the information the way you want to use it.
At the moment I use Googe Feedreader and you can find an article about how to use it on my blog but you can find 12 or 15 feed reader options at: blogspace.com/rss/readers
- The Big Question…What is RSS?
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a format for delivering regularly changing web content and is making it easier for you to stay informed by receiving the lastest content from your sites of interest. You don’t have to visit each site individually and do not have to join each site’s newsletter by providing your private information.
More than several big name sites, like Yahoo News, the BBC News in the UK, the US government and more newspapers and other news media than you can shake a stick at, are providing free RSS news feeds for delivery to anyone. They are not doing that for no reason, but because they recognize the extended reach their message will have and the benefits that reach will return to them. Copy success!
Internet Marketers are starting to add an RSS feed to their websites and blogs. Look for a button or link that says “XML,” “RSS” or an invitation to “Syndicate This Site” if you want to start receiving their information via an RSS news feed.
Almost any information can be used to publicize updates to your website or blog… photos, summaries of your latest update or simply the title of your update with a link back to the original source.
RSS benefits both the readers and the publishers of the feed. When you update your blog post, add new content to your website or want to announce a new sales price or special bonus for your readers, they all wil know immediately about the change or special offer and can decide if they want to visit your site or not.
Internet Marketers can reach a much wider audience for their products or services because web browsers are becoming much more likely to subscribe to an RSS feed and avoid the email clutter that clogs their inbox after subscribing to a few newsletters.
All the benefits of RSS feeds are not restricted to your subscribers, but have some powerful results when used as a marketing tool. When you use an RSS feed to market your products, you are attracting visitors and customers who are interested in your products and want to receive your information. This Win-Win process protects you from a spamming accusation.
The new techniques and requirements of using RSS to get your message circulating may still intimidate or confuse some of your customers. It is a good idea, for customer service, to offer both the RSS feed and emai notification of your website, blog or product updates. You do not want to immediately exclude a set of customers who prefer one method over the other, regardless of the reason.
As a tool to increase targeted and focused traffic to your site, RSS feeds work great for this top-of-the-list marketing need. If the content update interests your reader, many will want to read the complete story on your website and will click the link to do just that. When that happens, they arrive at your website already interested in your product… marketing gold!
Getting comfortable with this vibrant and ever-changing Web 2.0 tool will expand your reach and increase your conversions. More and more people are switching to RSS feeds everyday to make their lives less cluttered and to put the information they receive in their own hands and not those of random marketers. Don’t ignore this grass roots movement… join it!
Why not try it out by subscribing to my feed? 😉
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