RSS Basics For Beginners

RSS has become increasingly popular lately. Nearly every blog and news site displays the RSS logo. (It’s that little orange box with the curved lines or the red box that says, “RSS”.) It’s possible that you may have overlooked that little logo at first, but now it seems to be popping up everywhere and you find yourself looking for answers about what exactly that RSS thing does. If so, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s start with some basics of RSS.

What is an RSS feed and an RSS aggregator?

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”, or for “Rich Site Summary” which in essence works like a newspaper subscription. You find a blog or news site that you are interested in reading daily and you subscribe to the site’s RSS feed.

The content is converted to an XML format (that’s why the text looks like a jumbled mess when you click on the RSS logo) and can be read by an aggregator as it checks for additions to the content of an RSS feed subscription at set intervals, delivering up to the minute information right to your computer. Pretty slick!

An RSS aggregator is an application that collects all of your RSS feed subscriptions and displays the results for you to review at your leisure. It saves previous postings and can even download them to your PC for offline viewing.

What are some uses for RSS feeds?

One very popular use for RSS feeds is simply convenience. You can collect all of your favorite blog entries and news stories automatically, saving precious time spent on the Internet. more info

No more waiting for pages to load and scanning through your favorites folder for each website. Just like the morning newspaper, they are waiting on your PC’s doorstep each day.

Another use for RSS feeds extends beyond recreational reading. Businesses can use an RSS feed to keep up with industry news and what the competition is doing in a minimal amount of time by subscribing to a series of important, relevant feeds.

Placing an RSS feed on your website also increases your visitor traffic if for no other reason than the ease of use. An RSS feed also has been shown to increase your organic SERPS results. In the world of Internet marketing, such a tool is a literal goldmine. An RSS feed can give you an edge over the competition and when used as a dynamic viral marketing engine, an RSS feed can significantly increase a company’s revenue.

Similar syndication formats have cropped up from time time in the past, but they never caught on in popularity because they were not user friendly and were designed to work with only one type of aggregator that may or may not be compatible with other syndicated content that you were interested in.

The beauty of the RSS feed is its universality and simplicity. The XML code is easily read by any number of aggregators and placing an RSS feed on your website is easy to do and subscribing to a feed requires only basic computer knowledge.

RSS is here to stay. Embracing the reality of the usefulness of RSS can help your business thrive on the Internet.

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