RSS is the acronym for Real Simple Syndication, one of the Internets less creative titles for an ingenious method of tying yourself to your customer. It is a fast way to deliver the latest developments on your website to your customer.
Many Internet users have a number of websites that they like to keep in touch with to stay on top of what is going on. Oftentimes these sites are news and entertainment providers. These sites originated the notion of the RSS feed. They offered their viewers the opportunity to sign up for a direct feed of new information from their site to the viewers site. The viewer signs up and gets a notice whenever there is new information from the site. The Internet user can essentially create a dashboard of all the sites and material they want to see on a regular basis.
Online retailers have taken this concept and run with it, signing up customers with feeds that announce sales, promote new content and generally keep themselves in front of their cutomers on a regular basis.
Here are some ideas for using RSS feeds:
– Send product information to other web stores for their inclusion in their product catalogues.
– Distribute website content to news engines and content aggregation sites
– Communicate with affiliates
– Announce new products, special discounts or new article content to buyers.
– Supply training content to customers or affiliates
Creating a Feed
You can create a feed by using RSS creation software. This software transforms your material into XML-based format, which is then uploaded to a Web-server. To find the right feed creator, search for CNET’s RSS Creators review. You will find over thirty software products to choose from.
Once you have used your software to create your feed, be sure to test it to verify that it is error-free. You can visit the FeedValidator org site to validate it.
You will want to create one feed for each section of your site (for example, one for Product Updates, one for News, another for Service Updates, etc).
When you are satisfied that your RSS links work the way you want them to, create a page that contains links to all your feeds (also known as a Feeds sitemap). Most websites link to the feeds sitemap from their home page, using icons like XML, RSS and RML.
Your more experienced website users will already be familiar with the feature but it is better to add some langauge explaining the feature for people who are less Internet-savvy.
Although many Internet users know what it is, a large majority still needs to be educated. You can do this by adding a few words about the usefulness of this technology, how to subscribe to it, read it, and its benefits to the user.
Use a Directory
As with most marketing tools on the Internet, RSS directories have emerged. It makes sense to submit your feeds sitemap webpage to the directories because directory listing may be more likely to be picked up by search engines than your web page.
Once you are up and running, keep your feeds fresh and full of new and interesting information in order to attract and maintain a large following of subscribers.
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