Every blog needs a post explaining RSS feeds.
RSS, as a technology still feels very “nerdy”, but as more people begin to understand and use it, as a medium for content distribution it will become ever important. The major browser manufacturers have at least started to integrate RSS reading into their browsers. So for those of you who haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon, here’s a quick overview. As this is one thing that every blog needs to explain, I think we need a standardised version of this document that everyone can use..but that’ll probably never happen – at least not while Google’s duplicate content filter is still in place.
What is it?
RSS – stands for really simple syndication. It provides a standardised way for websites to provide their content to their readers without them actually visiting the website. In essence RSS is a web page which can be more easily read by a computer. RSS feeds can be consumed by a third party website or by an RSS Reader.
How can I use it?
The first step to using RSS is to get yourself an RSS Reader. There are a number of different websites which can be used as RSS readers. My favourite one is Google Reader. Alternatively you can get desktop applications which are RSS readers. Any time you see an RSS feed published from your favourite website you can add the feed either directly by clicking on the “subscribe” buttons – if they have one, or adding the Feed URL to your chosen reader.
The reasons websites use RSS is because it is a pull technology rather than push. i.e. If a visitor is interested in your content they dont have to go to your website to get it, it comes to them through their RSS reader. This is extremely powerful, because it bears a resemblance to permission based marketing. Anyone who subscribes to your content is interested in what your company is doing.
Oh and if you haven’t done so already, here’s mine.
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- Behold the power of the question mark. Does your blog ask enough questions? | February 16, 2008
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- Series – Feedburner tips and tricks | January 1, 2011