Online Marketing Strategies

Rss Feed Reader

2016-07-19 | 1221 Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF


All you need to know about RSS.

What does RSS mean?

RSS may mean three different things. The original RSS (RDF Site Summary RSS 0.9) was developed by Dan Libby for Netscape. After a couple of months, they produced a simpler and easier-to-use version called Rich Site Summary or RSS 0.91. But they later lost interest, leaving it without an owner. As more and more users were using RSS, Winer made an adapted version of RSS 0.91 for Userland, claiming it as his own. Later in 2005, Microsoft developed Really Simple Syndication in relation to its Simple Sharing Extensions.

rss-feed-reader

What is RSS?

You probably have seen this three-letter acronym in the course of your internet surfing. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary; syndicating means republishing an article that comes from another source such as a website. 

An RSS is a means of publicizing updates about websites. It may or may not include a summary and photos of the latest posting. But those that provide summaries (thus Rich Site Summary) allow users to skim through the article so that they could decide later on if they want to access the website source. The RSS feed usually contains the title of the update originating from the website. It is also usually the link to the website source.
 

RSS is a XML file format for syndicating content and news in the web. It is usually used by websites that constantly need to update their content regularly such as news websites (CNN, BBC and Reuters) and weblogs. Since it essentially gives one’s webpage more traffic, it is now more widely used in marketing, web publications and virus reports. Today, large and small websites alike are usually RSS-enabled.

For example, you’re an avid fan of baseball and you want to share something recent about one of the players. Other than content, you can also attach multimedia files, like videos or pictures. By using RSS feeds, other Internet users subscribed to RSS-enabled sites can read your “headline” for free. They can also track for changes and updates using news aggregators, which will be discussed later on.

How does RSS work?

To be able to use RSS, you first have to download a software (content management system), by which XML format can be read. The title and, excerpt of the article, and a link to the full article are shown. Other than just text, you can also insert multimedia files in RSS feeds like pictures, videos, mp3s and others. Broadcatching, picturecasting, photocasting, and podcasting are some features you can incorporate into your feed, but will not be discussed in this article.

For users to access a RSS feed, they need to use an aggregator or a feed reader. An aggregator searches for updates on RSS-enabled webpages then displays it. It can either be a standalone program or a web browser extension, depending on your operating system. Search engines for web content broadcasted over RSS feed are also available such as Plazoo and Feedster.

How can I make an RSS feed?

It is definitely easier to make an RSS feed if you know HTML. If not, you could sign up for a blog (there are hundreds out there), some of which automatically creates RSS. If you’re using a personal webpage building system, you need to understand more about RSS. Making an RSS feed from scratch is relatively easy. 

A RSS feed should always contain an “item”, whichever version of RSS you might use. If you wrote about a recent event in your city or a book review, the contents of this article can form an item. An item is essentially composed of three things: a title, its description, and link (where they can find your webpage). In choosing a title and description, use something that will describe the web content best. Although it will be easier for you, it doesn’t follow that the title tag of your webpage and the item title are the same. 

An item will look like HTML tags. First, you need to put an opening channel tag that defines it as an XML file. Then, label the tag as an item by putting after the channel tag. After this, you can now insert the three essentials of your item:, , and. Just like HTML, we need to close the tag by writing and at the bottom. 

An RSS feed that contains multiple tags looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?> 
<rss version="2.0">

<channel>

<item>
<title>Anne Rice’s Belinda: A Book Review</title>
<description> If you haven’t read any Anne Rice books yet, you will be greeted with shocking romantic relationships forming between unlikely characters… </description>
<link> http://allaboutbookreviews.com/belinda </link>

<item>
<title>Harry Potter IV: Darker with More Deaths</title>
<description> The recently released Harry Potter installation has proved dark for its younger readers…</description>
<link> http://allaboutbookreviews.com/harrypotterandthehalfbloodprince </link>

</channel>

</rss>

Now, if you’re still having a hard time understanding these tags, look for HTML tags tutorial to further grasp the concept. Have fun!

What are the benefits of RSS?
RSS gives benefits to both readers (users) and web publishers.
1.    It gives you the latest updates.
Whether it is about the weather, new music, software upgrade, local news, or a new posting from a rarely-updates site learn about the latest as soon as it comes out.

2.    It saves on surfing time.
Since an RSS feed provides a summary of the related article, it saves the user’s time by helping s/he decide on which items to prioritize when reading or browsing the net. 

3.    It gives the power of subscription to the user.
Users are given a free-hand on which websites to subscribe in their RSS aggregators which they can change at any time they decide differently.

4.    It lessens the clutter in your inbox.
Although your email address will be required to enjoy the services of online RSS aggregators, RSS does not use your email address to send the updates.

5.    It is spam free.
Unlike email subscriptions, RSS does not make use of your email address to send updates thus your privacy is kept safe from spam mails.

6.    Unsubscribing is hassle-free. 
Unlike email subscriptions where the user is asked questions on why s/he is unsubscribing and then the user would be asked to confirm unsubscribing, all you have to do is to delete the RSS feed from your aggregator.

7.    It can be used as an advertising or marketing tool.
Users who subscribe or syndicate product websites receive the latest news on products and services without the website sending spam mail. This is advantageous to both the web user and the website owner since advertising becomes targeted; those who are actually interested in their products are kept posted. 

THE ADVANTAGES OF "RSS WEBSITES"

Setting up RSS feeds and adding them to your website can be a simple process that does not involve a lot of time or any money. Listed below are some simple and basic steps that you might want to follow:

1. Have your web content and/or news in an RSS feed format, such as XML (appropriate and 'ready-made' feeds are also available from other sources).

2. Click the orange graphic - this is the RSS feed icon. Take note of the URL of the RSS feed; this will be displayed in the address bar (for Internet Explorer).

3. Input the feed URL on your RSS feed creation program.

4. Click on the "Generate Feed" button. This will generate the RSS code for your web content.

5. Enter the RSS code in the appropriate place on your own website.

Having created an RSS feed for your website, next comes the task of publishing your web content and news and having them displayed on other sites and headline viewers. This is made possible with the use of RSS readers or aggregators.

RSS readers or news aggregators are used to view particular web contents. RSS readers contain the collection of 'feeds' or RSS files from content providers, and they are generally classified into 3 types: 

·    Desktop RSS readers - also known as standalone desktop application, they generally 'run' in the background and are similar to an e-mail client, collecting the feeds and refreshing items automatically as they are updated.

·    Web-based aggregators - these are online services that enable users to personalize web pages, refreshing them each time the page is accessed or each time a person logs in to the service.

·    Plug-in aggregators/readers - these make use of either web browsers or e-mail clients, which allow users to view RSS feeds while inside an existing program.

Having an RSS-enabled website provides Internet users (especially those who are website owners) with the following benefits:

·    Allows users to generate up-to-date news and postings, as information and content in the RSS readers or aggregators are automatically updated each time the RSS feed is 'refreshed'.

·    Allows users to have control over the information that they wish to view or receive, as they can remove a feed of their choosing any time they want to.

Aside from these benefits, RSS websites are also useful for people who conduct their business in the Internet, particularly in Internet or Online Marketing. RSS can be an effective marketing tool for your website, especially in the following fields:

·    E-mail marketing and publishing
·    Search engine marketing and optimization
·    Business blogging
·    Internet advertising
·    Digital public relations
·    Branding and e-commerce

In addition, RSS can 'power' your website, providing you with the following:

·    Valuable, updated, and relevant resources for site visitors and potential clients - RSS is ideal for websites that contain (and syndicate) a lot of information that has to be changed or updated regularly.

·    Search engine optimization for the website.

·    Increased traffic for the website - your website can 'harvest' and display information from other sites, driving more traffic to your own website.

·    A wide selection of 'channels' for content distribution, such as PDA's, cellular phones, voice mails, and email ticklers.

·    A reliable way to have your web content delivered to Internet users and potential clients - RSS ensures that your site is viewed by the people who are interested in them, without having them blocked and 'cleaned' by ISPs or Spam filters.

These are just some of the advantages that RSS can give your website (and your business). The possibilities are endless, as more and more comes up almost everyday. Do not be left behind - take the advantage of the marketing and publishing power of RSS.
 

What are the drawbacks of RSS?
The disadvantages of RSS use are brought about by its being a new technology and some user-preference concerns. 
1.    Some users prefer receiving email updates over an RSS feed.

2.    Graphics and photos do not appear in all RSS feeds. 
For conciseness and ease of publication, RSS feeds do not display the photos from the original site in announcing the update except for some web-based aggregators 

3.    The identity of the source website can be confusing.
Since RSS feeds do not display the actual URL or name of the website, it can sometimes get confusing on what feed a user is actually reading. 

4.    Publishers cannot determine how many users are subscribed to their feed and the frequency of their visits. Moreover, they would not know the reasons why users unsubscribe which could be important in improving their advertising.

5.    RSS feeds create higher traffic and demands on the server.
Most readers still prefer the whole update over a brief summary of the entry, thus they still access the site. 

6.    Since it is a new technology, many sites still do not support RSS.

How do I start using RSS?
There are two things needed: an RSS feed and an RSS aggregator or reader. The RSS feed comes from an RSS-supported website. There are also websites that provide a list of RSS feeds of different websites. An RSS aggregator is used to read the RSS feed from the source website. It scans and collects data on latest RSS feeds from the worldwide web. 

An aggregator comes in two forms: a downloadable program also known as desktop aggregator and an online or web-based aggregator. Downloadable aggregators may require payment before they can be acquired, while internet-based aggregators are usually free of charge. All you need to do is to register an account then you are ready to use their services. Both versions allow you to customize or choose which RSS feeds to enter. Paid aggregators are usually chosen by more experienced users and they usually allow more freedom in customizing feeds. 

1.    Choose an RSS aggregator to use. For beginners, web-based aggregators are recommended since they are usually user-friendly

2.    Scan the homepage of your target website for the RSS or XML button. It contains the RSS code you need to enter in the aggregator. Copy this code. Syndic8 provides a directory of websites that support RSS.


3.    Paste the code (which contains the URL of the website) in your aggregator. There is a space provided for pasting the code.

After you have done these three easy steps, you can start reading the RSS feeds coming from the website. New postings appear as they are published real time at the source website.

RSS and Internet Marketing.

The original idea of RSS came from Netscape, where their intention is to provide a means for users to customize their personal homepage to contain links to websites that interest them, similar to bookmarking websites. 

The application of RSS to internet marketing was an unforeseen development to RSS technology developers. Since users are given the freedom to add RSS feeds to their aggregators, those who are interested in particular products and services available in the internet can now be notified real time. Marketing becomes more specific to interested people and not a hit-and-miss operation. 

Those who intend to use RSS for marketing their products and services should consider linking up with email account providers, (e.g. Yahoo, MSN, Google mail); networking websites (e.g. Twitter, My Space, Facebook); websites of newspapers and television network websites (e.g. New York Times, CNN) for medium to big-scale companies. Small-time industries can also look into networking websites as well as personal blog websites (e.g. Blogspot) and websites of clubs and organizations that would probably make use of their products or services e.g. a fishing supplies store can look for the website of their local fishing club for possible RSS marketing.


Clearly, RSS is an innovation in information management in the worldwide web as well as online marketing. We can expect better RSS technology in the not-so-distant future as its popularity increases among users and website owners alike.
 

Blog RSS.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a tool useful for saving or retaining updated information on websites that you frequently visit or websites that are your favorite. RSS utilizes an XML code which scans continuously the content or subject matter of a certain website in search for new informations then transmits the information updates by way of feeding the information to subscribers.

RSS feeds are generally being utilized in blogs or news sites, though any website wanting to broadcast and publish information can use them. Once new information is sent, it will contain a headline, a little bit of text, and either a rundown or a brief review of the news or story. A link is needed be clicked upon to read further. 

So as to accept RSS feeds, a feed reader is needed, called an aggregator.  Aggregators are widely and freely available online, and all that is needed is a bit of searching, you will be able to locate a certain interface that best interest you. What’s more, RSS feeds can likewise be read and retrieved from cell phones and on PDAs. 

Once you encounter upon a website that you want to add or insert to the aggregator, the process can be done in two ways. Almost all sites offering an RSS feed displays an “RSS” or “XML” button in their homepage and with one click, it promptly add that particular feed to one’s aggregator. Some aggregator however, requires the need to copy and then paste the URL of the feed unto the program. 

Whatever the method used, you can be certain that the feed will be accessible soon as you have inserted it, likewise, in just seconds, the next update can arrive. In the event that you do not anymore would want to accept or take in updates, you may simply delete or erase the feed from the aggregator.

Through e-mail subscriptions, you can receive newsletters. RSS feeds on the other hand, can be more convenient in keeping up with newsletter updates since they are prompt and available in an instant; you no longer have to wait for a scheduled time or day to obtain a news summary, plus, these news will never be  detained through a spam filter. 
RSS feeds are widely used everyday by individuals who understand and appreciate the accessibility of fast reports and news that can be readily read and only read certain updates that appeals to them.

RSS Aggregators.

Aggregators are popular use of feeds, having several kinds. Web aggregators or portals as they are sometimes called, create this view which is then made available in a Web page. Also, Aggregators have been incorporated into e-mail patrons, users of desktops, or dedicated and standalone software.

Offering a collection of special features, such as combining more than a few related feeds in just a single view, hiding certain entries or statements that has been already viewed, and classifying entries and feeds, the aggregator is a versatile component.

A Guide to RSS Aggregators.

One of the most popular features of Internet portals, websites, pages and even emails is a frame that features an organized list of news headlines and periodic updates from other web sources.  Really Simple Syndication, formerly “Rich Site Summary” or simply, RSS makes this possible.  

Most users visit a lot of websites whose content continually change, such as news sites, community organization or professional association information pages, medical websites, product support pages, and blogs.  As Internet surfing became an intrinsic part of business and leisure, it became important to get rid of the very tedious task of repeatedly returning to each website to see updated content. 

RSS easily distributes information from different websites to a wider number of Internet users.  RSS aggregators are programs that use RSS to source these updates, and then organize those lists of headlines, content and notices for easy reading.  It allows computers to automatically retrieve and read the content that users want, then track changes and personalize lists of headlines that interests them.

The specially made computer programs called “RSS aggregators” were created to automatically find and retrieve the RSS feeds of pre-selected internet sites on behalf of the user and organize the results accordingly. (RSS feeds and aggregators are also sometimes referred to as "RSS Channels" and "RSS Readers".)

The RSS aggregator is like a web browser for RSS content.  HTML presents information directly to users, and RSS automatically lets computers communicate with one another.  While users use browsers to surf the web then load and view each page of interest, RSS aggregators keeps track of changes to many websites.  The titles or descriptions are links themselves and can be used to load the web page the user wants.

RSS starts with an original Web site that has content made available by the administrator.  The website creates an RSS document and registers this content with an RSS publisher that will allow other websites to syndicate the documents.  The Web site also produces an RSS feed, or channel, which is available together with all other resources or documents on the particular Web server.  The website will register the feed as an RSS document, with a listed directory of appropriate RSS publishers. 

An RSS feed is composed of website content listed from newest to oldest.  Each item usually consists of a simple title describing the item along with a more complete description and a link to a web page with the actual content being described.  In some instances, the short description or title line is the all the updated information that a user wants to read (for example, final games scores in sports, weblogs post, or stock updates).   Therefore, it is not even necessary to have a web page associated with the content or update items listed -- sometimes all the needed information that users need would be in the titles and short summaries themselves.

The RSS content is located in a single file on a webpage in a manner not very different from typical web pages.  The difference is that the information is written in the XML computer code for use by an RSS aggregator and not by a web user like a normal HTML page. 

There are 2 main parts that are involved in RSS syndication, namely:  the source end and the client end. 

The client end of RSS publishing makes up part of the system that gathers and uses the RSS feed.  For example, Mozilla FireFox browser is typically at the client end of the RSS transaction.  A user’s desktop RSS aggregator program also belongs to the client end.

Once the URL of an RSS feed is known, a user can give that address to an RSS aggregator program and have the aggregator monitor the RSS feed for changes.  Numerous RSS aggregators are already preconfigured with a ready list of RSS feed URLs for popular news or information websites that a user can simply choose from. 

There are many RSS aggregators that can be used by all Internet users.  Some can be accessed through the Internet, some are already incorporated into email applications, and others run as a standalone program inside the personal computer. 

RSS feeds have evolved into many uses.  Some uses gaining popularity are: 

·For online store or retail establishments:  Notification of new product arrivals 
·For organization or association newsletters:  title listings and notification of new issues, including email newsletters 
·Weather Updates and other alerts of changing geographic conditions 
·Database management:  Notification of new items added, or new registered members to a club or interest group. 

The uses of feeds will continue to grow, because RSS aggregators make access to any information that individual users like more convenient and fun. 
 

Why make a feed available?

You will have more viewers, since now, your viewers can conveniently see your site without even going out and looking for that certain site. While at first, it may seem corrupt, it will in fact enhance the visibility of your site; this is so because users can easily keep up or keep tract with your site, to allow them to view in a way that they want to; it’s more probable that guests are aware should something that is in their interest is available or accessible on your site.

For instance, every month your website broadcasts a new feature. Having no feed, your viewers will always have to keep in mind to go to your site in a certain time to see if they discover something new; that is, if they can remember, and if they still have the time. However, if you supply a feed for your viewers, they can just point to their aggregator and it will instantly provide them a link along with a description of happenings or events at your site immediately.

What format to choose?

Syndication is very confusing as it uses a lot of formats that can usually be come across in the web.  However, this can easily be solved as in general, syndicated libraries are used by aggregators which conceptualize a particular format that a feed is in, in order that they can utilize a certain syndication feed.

With this, whatever format to pick is just a matter of personal preference. RSS 1.0 is far reaching, and practical should it be integrated into Semantic Web systems. RSS 2.0 is very easy and simple create by hand. And atom is an IETF Standard, does it brings constancy, stability and a natural and accepted community to support its usage.


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Author


Olatunji Adetunji

I am a seo web analyst and have a love for anything online marketing. Have been able to perform researches using the built up internet marketing tool; seo web analyst as a case study and will be using the web marketing tool (platform).

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