Showing posts with label RSS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RSS. Show all posts

Friday, October 5, 2012

Using RSS Feeds to Drive More Website Traffic

English: This icon, known as the "feed ic...
English: This icon, known as the "feed icon" or the "RSS icon", was introduced in Mozilla Firefox in order to indicate a web feed was present on a particular web page that could be used in conjunction with the Live bookmarks function. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera and some other browsers have adopted the icon in order to promote a de facto standard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RSS feeds are basically like keeping a constant eye on an aspect of a remote web page. You may want to know when your favorite website is updated. Perhaps you need the latest weather updates. Regardless of the desired information, you simply need to set up an RSS feed to the desired site. You then need to gather all of your RSS feeds so they will output their information in one place such as your home page. This allows you to continuously monitor a wide variety of pages without having to manually check them.

The other aspect of RSS feeds involves advertising. If you would like to increase traffic to one of your current blogs or websites, you can publish an RSS feed on another website. Consequently, all visitors to the site you publish will see the ad for your web page; they will know exactly what is happening on your site at any given moment. The goal is to have your RSS feed published on as many different pages as possible. If you convince enough people to add your feed, then you can create a large network that customers will come across often.

Regarding the technical aspect of RSS feeds; they are based on XML code. If you wanted a live feed from another page in the old days, you had to manually paste a large piece of XML code into the code of your existing site. This was very cumbersome and beyond the abilities of most bloggers at the time. RSS makes XML simple and easy to use. Nowadays, you no longer need to paste XML code. You can simply follow a series of links to have an RSS feed on your "feed aggregator" page or software, or have your feed published elsewhere.

The meaning of the term RSS tends to change occasionally. However, the term currently refers to "Really Simple Syndication", according to Wikipedia. To view a feed, you will require an aggregator. This can be a site such as FeedBurner, Technorati or (pronounced delicious). These sites are very helpful to personal Bloggers, individuals who read many different blogs or feeds, and people who use their website or blog as a business. These sites refer to themselves as "communities", and they often function as both aggregators and feed publishers.

FeedBurner claims to be the "biggest and baddest" feed publishing network. Having your feed "burned" can result in a massive increase in traffic, almost instantly. Simply by choosing FeedBurner to publish your feed, you automatically gain access to many new marketing channels. Most likely, you will discover many channels that you didn't even know existed. Technorati is more of a blog-hosting site. However, its potential as a feed publisher and source of major traffic shouldn't be underestimated. markets itself as an "online bookmarking" utility specifically designed to attract end users, rather than publishers. This means that publishing your feed on this site will encourage more people to visit your site.

All in all, publishing RSS feeds from your site can greatly increase your web traffic and your online business. They are one of the most effective ways to let as many people as possible know what is happening on your website or your online store.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

What is RSS and How to Read RSS Feeds

English: A simplified version of the RSS feed ...
English: A simplified version of the RSS feed icon. Can be used as is, or as a basis for further development. This is a rendered version of File:Generic Feed-icon.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone loves luxury. Tools that make life simpler are always welcome. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is one such tool that has caught on rapidly, simply because it is "really simple" to use like the name suggests.

What is RSS? RSS brings updated information straight to your desktop. All you have to do is subscribe to them and you will be intimated as and when there are updates. You can now keep yourself abreast of news, blogs, job listings, personals and classifieds with the least of efforts from your end.

Websites now are updated continually; sometimes, several times a day. RSS saves you the trouble of going over to websites regularly. Instead, whenever there is an update you are intimated almost instantly. Thus, this certainly is a "really simple", hassle free process of conveying information.

Increasing traffic, gathering and distributing news are some of the common problems that webmasters face. RSS is a simple solution for all. It is a lightweight XML format for sharing headlines and other web content. Each RSS text file contains both static information about your site and dynamic information in the form of new content from time to time.

RSS is another language by itself. But it is the end product that one is looking for. You can conveniently ignore the code just like the source code behind a webpage.

Types of RSS readers

Standalone readers

Standalone applications simply process RSS feeds. It is a new application that you can populate as much as you want. However, you are going to have to keep this additional application open on your desktop.

In a standalone reader, you will notice a toolbar with 3 window panes much like the preview mode in Microsoft Outlook. The subscribed RSS feeds are displayed towards the left side which can be organized into folders and categories. The upper-right panel shows the list of articles under the category selected while the lower-right panel shows the content of the article. Some standalone applications can be configured to send you an email or dialog popup window as and when there is an update.

Plug-in readers

Plug-in applications work within an existing program like Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer or Firefox. The reader merely becomes a new component of the application already opened. However, in case you have already clogged your system with many bookmarks and favorites, feeds might be an overload into your application.

For plug-in readers, a column for channels and a display area for a headline, a brief description and a URL are included in the desired application. In case of Microsoft Outlook, display only the headlines and summaries within the e-mail application and open an internet explorer to display the full content. In case of Internet Explorer application, the chosen article is automatically displayed within the browser. However, this tends to replace your Favorites bookmark collection.

How do you subscribe to an RSS feed?

Here are simple steps that you have to follow in order to subscribe to an RSS feed:

  • Click the feed button of the desired webpage.
  • Now go to your newsreader, choose the category where you want this particular feed to be placed. Example: Sports, Entertainment, Academics etc.
  • From the File menu, select New or New Channel. In most cases, the URL will get automatically pasted in the wizard, else, manually paste (right click and select paste) the link yourself.
  • Then, follow the instructions provided. This will differ based on the newsreader chosen by you.

The reader will take care of the rest, once you have pasted the URL link. It will provide you with updates once the link has been fed in.

Customize options

When too many articles are accumulated through various feed subscriptions, the process of searching becomes difficult. For this, there is a Filter/Search bar. Type in keywords and the reader will throw up articles that contain your keywords. To go back to the full article list, click the drop down control for the filter bar and set the keyword to None.

You can also save an article by selecting "Copy to News Bin" option from the Edit menu. This can be accessed from the left hand panel.

There are several RSS reader software products in the market. They have interfaces that look resemble e-mail programs. Some of them are free while others are available at a reasonable cost.

Aggie, Ampheta Desk, Awasu, Feed Demon, Feed Reader, Headline Viewer, News Gator, Newzcrawler, Radio UserLand, Syndirella, Wildgrape NewsDesk, Web-Based Aggregators, Bloglines, Google Reader, Gregarius, My Yahoo, News Is Free, Rocket RSS Reader (RocketNews) are some of the most common RSS readers. You can use these readers to subscribe to feeds.

Some of the readers have the ability to set a watch, that is, an automatic search through all your incoming feeds for a specific keyword. Whenever a feed has the keyword specified by you, it is put in the watch list so that you can read up on your most sought after articles.

Over a period of time, you will have more RSS feeds in your reader than you can possible keep track of. Simply delete the title to do away with a feed you're no longer interested in. If you delete a feed permanently like this, you will not receive any updates or information from the particular publisher unless you re-subscribe to the feed.

There are several web directories of RSS software available online. So if you are looking at feeds related to specific topics, you can run a search to find dozens of links pertaining to what you are looking at.

All in all, RSS is a technology combined with convenience. This amazing combination ensures that you get all the information you want on a silver platter by the blink of the eye! It helps you keep up with information in today's fast paced world. Get started with RSS now!

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