RSS Feeds – How & Why to Use
Before we start our discussion, let’s first answer the first question when I ask clients if they want an RSS feed on their website:
What is an RSS Feed?
RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, distributes frequently updated information such as blog posts, news headlines, audio, or video. An RSS feed includes full and/or summarized text, date of publishing, and author’s name. RSS feeds enable publishers to syndicate data automatically to its audience. If users subscribe to a website or blog’s RSS feed, it removes the need to manually check the website for new content.
RSS is an easy way to check your favorite websites for updates without having to visit them all. Instead of having to bookmark a website you enjoy reading regularly, you can use an RSS reader, or aggregator, to save time and get the information you want quickly after its published.
Think of it as a magazine subscription, that instead of the magazine being mailed to you, it’s delivered to your RSS Reader every time the website is updated.
They are usually used to promote your blog, but can also be used for other types of articles, news and announcements, product launches, etc.
How do you setup and use RSS Feeds?
First you need to choose a RSS Reader or Aggregator, which can be specific to web-based, desktop-based or mobile-device-based to present RSS feed data to users.
Users subscribe to feeds either by entering a feed’s URL into the reader or by clicking on the browser’s feed icon. The RSS reader checks the user’s feeds regularly for new information and can automatically download it, if that function is enabled. The RSS Reader also provides a user interface so you can specify how you and what order you want the information to be viewed.
Here are some recommended readers:
- FEEDLY: Feedly has become the leader since the death of Google Reader in July 2013 because of hits useful Reader’s features, keyboard shortcuts, mobile app, Feedly Cloud, provides a front end and back end that’s accessible and its free. You can organize your feeds into folders, select preferred views, and has a great easy to use, easy to read design.
- NEWSBLUR: Newsblur has a great looking interface, fast refresh, offers folders inside folders to organize your feeds, has iOS and Android apps, but it costs $2 a month to subscribe to more than 64 feeds.
- DIGG READER: Digg Reader is web-based, but also available for Android and iOS mobile devices. If you don’t want to use the app, Digg works well in a browser on mobile devices as it is optimized for such. You can organize feeds, its free, and has social integration with Facebook and Twitter. Digg requests that you to sign in using Google+, Facebook or your Twitter account and allows you to post content to your social media of choice.
- FLIPBOARD: Flipboard on transform blog posts, social networking feeds, images, video, and articles into an impressive layout that replicates the print reading experience—and puts traditional desktop RSS readers to shame. Web-based Flipboard is similar to the app experience minus some of the features. It also features social media integration so you use to read updates and posts from multiple platforms in one place.
Why use RSS Feeds on your Website?
It`s a way to get your written work out to as many people as possible in the shortest space of time. Make sure you include an appealing teaser it will encourage feed subscribers to visit the site where the full content is housed, thereby increasing your traffic.
Your viewers don`t have to have go through a complicated process in order to see your feed. All they need is a feed reader, which can be integrated into a web browser or installed on the desktop or browser and is usually free.
Can RSS Feeds help your SEO efforts?
Not directly but that doesn’t mean than can add your page ranking in other ways. First, if your content is high quality, useful and engaging, other channels will pick it up your RSS feed if enough poeple are interested in it, and second, that can provide additional back-links that are so valuable in your internet marketing strategy.
RSS feeds also can attract more people to your site, especially when you tailor the information to your target audience, use long-tail keywords and use engaging titles, headings and subheadings.
RSS is just another doorway to your site. It just make it easier for subscribers to know new information exists. It also helps you build social relationships and trust over time, which is important if your goal is to attract more customers.
Are RSS Feeds a dying technology?
“Google’s decision to eliminate Google Reader from its roster seems to be a clear and blaring sign of the RSS feed market edging into obsolescence.” – Digital Trends
With Google decision last year of turning off their very popular Google Reader, an RSS Feed Aggregator, many are asking the question if RSS feeds are on their way out. Digital Trends ezine also said that over 1.9 million sites have ceased to offer RSS feed subscription to their users in the second quarter of last year.
Why? More and more users are turning to Twitter for breaking news on any topic or logging into Facebook to follow bloggers, consultants and marketing gurus to read an excerpt of their latest article or click a link to it. Or they are reading what their friends are reading and following.
But while RSS might be down, it’s not out – and the new or improved readers, as mentioned above, are eager to take Google Reader’s place and readership. Read full article at Digital Trends.
So, whether an avid internet browser, a business owner, or a blogger, we are inundated with data and content. So take time to discover brand-new ways to experience and organize content on all sorts of devices, in manageable amounts via RSS Feeds.