You’ve no doubt seen this big orange button with the rainbow shaped white lines and a white circle. But what exactly is it, and what does it do? When my web savvy assistant Rachel asked me the other day, “What is RSS?”, I knew it was time to write this blog post. I had the topic written in a notebook for awhile now. (Do you have a notebook where you write down future blog post ideas? Wait, you DO have a blog, right?)
Google defines RSS as “a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.” Think of it as a way to subscribe without having to bog down your email. If you click on the RSS feed button at the top of my website, a new window will open and you will have your choice of various locations where you would like my updated blog posts to be sent. I like to read my RSS feeds in Google reader.
If you’re interested in having a website that is ranked well in the search engines, one excellent strategy for link building is to comment daily on other blogs in your niche. Many experts recommend commenting on three blogs daily. If you utilize RSS, all you have to do is login to your Google account, and then look for updated blog posts to leave comments. This is a much more productive use of your time than checking sites one by one to look for updated posts.
Feed readers can make updating social networking sites simple as well. Twitter replies and Facebook updates can also be syndicated to feed readers, which offers the opportunity to save a lot of wasted time checking these types of sites.
Make sure that your marketing efforts utilize RSS. Talk to your webmaster if your current website doesn’t allow for syndication. The more methods there are to reach potential clients and customers, the greater the opportunity to increase profits. Many newsletter management companies will also allow you to offer this subscription method.
Are you new to RSS? Click on my feed button above at the very top green line of this page, and jump into the world of RSS feeds. C’mon in, the water’s fine. Encourage your newsletter readers, podcast listeners, and blog readers to sign up for your updates via RSS. Consider offering special deals to reward your audience for taking your advice.
If you’re already familiar with this technology, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to know how you’ve utilized it to your advantage. What types of information do you send to your feed reader and which feed reader would you recommend? By the way, you can also subscribe to comments on my blog by clicking the orange RSS feed button that says “comments”.