The benefits of RSS feeds to a website

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It can be found on just about any web page today, the little square orange button that says “RSS”; unsurprisingly, most viewers don’t understand its meaning. Whether it shows up with the orange button or just as a link or signup field, RSS – affectionately known as Really Simple Syndication – is any page’s repeat visit best friend. When you connect to a website’s RSS feed, you have the option of easily reading everything that is current on that site with one of the many free RSS readers, such as Google Reader or FeedBurner. While at first glance this may seem like just a great convenience to the reader, it is actually much more than that and something that should be included in every website design.

Visitor flow

From a reader’s perspective, an RSS feed is a great way to keep up to date with current information about a particular person, business, or organization – and just sign up. News is delivered through RSS updates, which are accessible in multiple ways and on many devices, providing easily accessible information otherwise missed by RSS updates. Additionally, by subscribing to only the most interesting pages, information overload can be reduced, allowing you to focus on the real things of interest in what is being read.

Website feed

An RSS feed is a valuable tool in keeping users informed and interested, resulting in more visits and higher conversions. The news to include can be chosen and whether or not to allow reading of all content on the feed; otherwise, a link is provided and interested readers are directed to that specific article or update on the website. The impact this can have is great; because not only does it help a business or organization to get acquainted with a user due to frequent updates that link to an actual website; it also drives the most interested traffic at that point, which means visitors are the most likely to take action. RSS is yet another example of free internet advertising if used correctly.

Creation of RSS feeds

It’s easy enough for an RSS feed to be included on a website and allowed viewers to follow the latest news. The most difficult part of the whole process is creating the XML code to link to the news aggregations after the RSS code is submitted. This can be done either with special software or by entering it into a text editor or notepad. There are free codes available online and all that needs to be done is to fill in the particular information to create the feed. The code must be saved as an XML file.

Then place an HTML link or button somewhere on the website or even on every page, allowing readers to tune in to a website’s automatic updates. The latest content can be viewed in any preferred XML player once the feed is active.

Once the code is written and saved and a link or button configured, the XML file can be submitted to any feed aggregation. There are many to choose from; most are general and accept all types of websites, although some are more specialized feeds. The best suggestion is to use the more recognizable names such as FeedBurner, XML, and one of the aggregations offered by specific browsers, as these are the most likely to be used. Submission is done simply by uploading the XML file to the aggregation site so that anyone who has subscribed to the link will receive this feed in their reader.

It may take a little practice to get it right; However, once the feed is successfully set up, all that remains is to regularly add fresh and original content to the website. Trying the feed code on feedvalidator.org may help resolve issues before submitting them for aggregations. Then just keep delivering great content to get the most out of an RSS feed!

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